Martin Sesse Singular Dry Gin Review
An exceptional gin from Spain. Bring me another bottle please!!
Review: Martin Sesse Singular Dry Gin
Made in: Madrid, Spain, by Destileria Urbana S.L
Method: Carl 600L Copper Still, using both vapor infusions and macerations.
42% alcohol/84 proof
Botanicals 14 : Juniper, orris root, lemon zest, orange zest, angelica, coriander, sweet potato, squash seed, violet, verbena, rosemary, thyme. ginger, cardamom
Style: London Dry
Note: this review is for Batch 14, bottle 624
This past summer I was lucky enough to go looking for some Spanish gins in person. In a little spirits shop on the Calle de Leon in Madrid, I found a shopkeeper who knew his gin. He showed me a half dozen bottles from Spain that he thought were special things - including an old favorite Wint and Lila which we can no longer get in the US. But when it came to the creme de la creme (sorry not sure how you’d say that in Spanish), He pulled out a bottle of Martin Sesse and said that this was the one for anyone who loves classic tastes.
Martin Sesse (y Lacasta) was a 16th century physician,naturalist, botanist, and explorer who voyaged the New World between 17897-1804. He made a number of trips under the auspices of Carlos II and the Madrid Botanical Gardens, covering more than 4 million square kilometers and discovering more than 3500 new species of plants, most of them unknown to Europeans.
Gin being a botanical based spirit it seems quite logical to name a gin after him, especially a Spanish gin, as he was perhaps the greatest botanist in terms of horticultural discoveries in the history of Spain and even today he has herbariums named after him, and based on his collections in Mexico City, Madrid, Geneva, Washington DC, Paris, London, and Florence.
The gin is unfiltered and made with 14 botanicals including some that he discovered in the new world. It is a small batch gin with each distillation producing 960 numbered 500ml bottles.
So what’s in the bottle? Let’s find out.
This is a lovely sipping gin that blooms on the rocks with a good tangy pine needle flavor followed by a wicked spicy note of thyme at the front but a delicate unctious backend with long lingering flavors that delight the senses.
Nose is strong on the citrus with notes of perfume, juniper, sage, and notes of pepper.
While very classic in overall flavor profile, this gin has nuances that set it apart. This is a gin that hits with power when you first taste it, strong juniper, and spicy thyme dominate the front part of the gin with zesty citrus and perfumed notes - those of violet and verbena trailing from the midbody towards the tail. The finish shows hints of rosemary, ginger, coriander, and cinnamon along with unctuous vegetal notes of the squash seed and sweet potato ending with a subtle sweetness.
Mouthfeel is pleasantly silky but slightly sharp, with slow lingering flavors lingering on the palate. If you chill the bottle it becomes a much more lush.
This is a gorgeous mixing gin.
This is a superlative martini gin. In fact, along with Nouaison gin, it might be one of my very favorite martini gins. Mixed with Astobiza dry tonic in a 6:1 ratio and some pimento stuffed olives this makes for one of the best classic martinis you are likely to find. It has just a unexpected tinge of sweetness, a delightful pininess and a wisp that reminds you of the secret ingredient of this gin - sweet potato. It’s an absolute knockout.
It also makes for an excellent gin and tonic, (although in my opinion it’s not quite as good as it is in a martini). It has excellent flavor, both with Q and Fever Tree classic tonics. It shines as the depth of the gin adds additional layers of flavor to that cocktail. The distiller suggests a pour with a high end tonic, a bit of rosemary and the amount of citrus that makes you happy.
Now as a Spanish gin I had to try it in a gin tonica with plenty of fruit, spices, and a good quality tonic and of course it rocks there.
This gin is so good I hated to waste my only bottle with more complex cocktails that might drown out the flavors of the gin itself. It’s got so many subtle layers that I was afraid I would lose - much like I feel with Monkey 47 as a mixer. But while Monkey offers a tremendous palette of flavors, and seems a little different every time, Martin Sesse has a definite stable flavor profile that is just so, so elegant, yet so classic that finding a star cocktail for it seemed a bit of a challenge.
So I threw this out to the hive mind of the Gin Crowd on fb and asked for opinions on just what the cocktails should be ,and while I got plenty of great suggestions I fell back on one that I tend to love - the Alaska. And it was so good, that I decided I had to try it in another couple of cocktails as well. The Martinez and lastly a Bernardo - and in none of them did Martin Sasse let me down. I’d definitely call this an excellent mixing gin.
It’s not that often I rate a gin as exceptional but this one deserves the hype. It’s a good solid gin you can use in any application and it makes for spectacular martinis (which Is how I plan to use it) very good G &Ts and mixes well. That said I think I liked it a touch more in mixed drinks than I did on the rocks.
This is not a gin you can find in the US. In fact the only place I’m sure you’ll find it is in Madrid. It’s something special and you SHOULD absolutely bring a bottle home if you really like classical gin flavors. And if you happen to be coming to NYC and want to bring me another bottle (or two) you’d be among my favorite gin buddies in the world.
Rating (Sipping): 92 - A fairly unique flavor, though distinctly classic flavor profile. Definitely more for gin connoisseurs than the casual gin drinker..
Rating (Mixing) 94 - A top notch martini gin, and a gin that handles pretty much any cocktail you throw it into. I’d save this for more elegant cocktails and savor each and every drop.
Overall rating: 93 - A top shelf gin that would be a staple of mine if I could find it affordably in New York. So if you are coming from Madrid, feel free to bring me a bottle or two!
What you need to know about my reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.