Nordes Gin Review
A fruity gin with floral notes from Galicia.
Review Nordes Gin
Made in: La Coruna, Galicia, Spain by Atlantic Galician Spirits
Method: Not determined in time for review.
40% alcohol/80 proof
Botanicals 11: juniper, sage, verbena, peppermint, cardamom, hibiscus, black tea, bay leaf (Laurel), ginger, eucalyptus, glasswort
Style: Modern Gin
(I was first introduced to Nordes on a recent trip to Spain, where a local bartender insisted it was one of Spain’s best gns, and that it was unique enough that I’d take serious notice. I have to admit I enjoyed it enough that I brought a bottle home with me. And just three weeks after I carried a bottle home, Nordes came to the States, not in a suitcase, but via distributors. Since then a handful of my readers have mentioned finding it in their home states.)
Nordes is a very contemporary gin that pushes the boundaries of traditional gin but in a very good way - unique, and interesting. Perhaps that has a bit to do with its origin, as Nordes is the brainchild of three different spirit professionals, a sommelier, a master distiller, and a wine merchant. The story says they were eating lunch in Galicia, enjoying local specialties and came to the topic of creating a uniquely Galacian spirit. And from that meeting the idea for Nordes was born.
To create that Galacian spirit they needed Galician flavors to do that they started with something they most understood. A white wine grape, the Albarino (aka the Cainho Branco), which grows plentifully in Galicia, and is traditionally used to make brandy. That, rather than grain makes the base alcohol of the gin. To that they added 6 local botanicals, lemon verbena, bay leaf, mint, sage, eucalyptus, and Glasswort (a plant that grows along the seashore and in marshes and is also known as “pickle weed”). Those would be the base of the gin. Throw in some more traditional botanicals - juniper, cardamom, ginger, and two exotic ones hibiscus and black tea, and you have the recipe of Nordes.
The name comes from the north wind that signals the coming of good weather to the people of Galicia. And the blue and white bottle which is rather striking, is designed to mimic the traditional porcelain products made in Galicia. It features a world map, compass rose and all, with a red arrow coming in from the north Atlantic and pointing into Galicia, designed to mimic the route of the Nordes wind.
But as I always say, it’s what is in the bottle that counts.
This is very nice sipping gin, especially on the rocks. There isn’t too much heat, and the flavors are cool, crisp, interesting and curiously evolving on the palate. There is a lot to taste here.
On the nose the gin is heavily perfumed, sweet and quite fruity, almost floral in nature. It’s more of a forest fruit scent, almost berry-like in nature with a touch of menthol deep in the background.
If there is a gin this vaguely reminds of it’s Monkey 47, not because they taste so much alike, but because they are both remarkably hard to pin down. That’s because with each sip you seem to find more flavors with this gin, perfume, dried flowers, raspberry, blackberry, mint, menthol, ginger, sweet, bitter, medicinal, and of course deep in the background, the pine resiny taste of juniper - and yet somehow just like Monkey 47, this seems to work. It’s one of a few gins I can’t quite feel confident about telling you just what you’ll taste.
The finish is slightly hot, and while it coats the tongue nicely, it’s a short and dry finish.
With it’s very variable taste profile I wasn’t actually sure how well this drink would mix aside from in a gin tonica, where I knew it would be good.
I was introduced to this gin in Spain as part of a gin tonica, which is a very Spanish take on the gin and tonic - with fruit, both dried and fresh, herbs, and more added. It was an excellent gin when served that way, and it’s still an excellent gin in a regular gin and tonic. This one went well with just about every tonic I threw at it. It’s fruity, complex and has a depth that certainly made it both easy drinking and interesting
Sadly it didn’t fare as well in a martini. If you are looking for a classic martini this one is a definite miss. There is too much dark purple fruit flavor in the gin, and a bit too little crispness and juniper to easily make a classic martini. It would however go very well in a fruity variation on the martini, or in fact any fruity type of drink.
Which of course leads me to other cocktails. Where did I think this gin would pop? The answer of course was the Aviation. That drink which already has the flavor of the dark fruit of the maraschino cherry, seemed the perfect vehicle for Nordes. And in fact it was - so much so that for those looking for a less sweet version of this drink, could easily dial back on the Luxardo and rely on the Nordes to even up some of that flavor. I do think this could fit nicely into cocktails like a collins, southside, Finnish long drink, or even a cucumber lemonade.
This is definitely an interesting gin. At first I thought maybe this was floral enough to be considered a floral gin, but the more I drank it the more I became convinced that this isn’t a floral gin, despite the handful of floral notes that were there. This is more of a fruity gin. It makes some rocking gin and tonics, or better yet gin tonicas, and some classic cocktails, but it’s not a gin that will be a workhorse in terms of what you can successfully pair it with.
While I really like this gin and i do think it’s nice on the rocks and in gin and tonics (and variations thereof) I think this gin fell flat in a traditional martini. For that I probably am dinging it a bit more than it deserves. It’s a good gin.
Herbal: 3/5 - with the purple forest fruits being the biggest of the tastes.
Rating (Sipping): 88 - a lovely sipping gin.
Rating (Mixing) 83 - it is a bit strong for clean crisp cocktails, but definitely has a place in more fruited drinks, and it’s a star for making gin and tonics.
Overall rating: 86 - Very solid, very interesting and worthy of a little experimentation for those who like sophisticated cocktails.
What you need to know about 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.