Romeo's Dry Gin Review
A gin with a very artistic flare from Montreal.
Review Romeo’s Dry Gin
Made in: Montreal, Canada by Michel Jodoin Enterprises.
Method: Not determined in time for review.
46% alcohol/92 proof
Botanicals 6: juniper, lavender, cucumber, almond, dill, lemon
Style: Modern Gin
It’s been a while since I reviewed a Canadian gin, which is sort of a shame since Canada is putting out a share of quite good gins with lovely flavor profiles. However since many of them are simply not available in the US I tend not to review them as often as I do with gins available here in the US. That said, if you visit Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, or Japan you might find this one waiting - and hopefully the USA is in their plans soon.
The motto of Romeo’s is “The Art of Gin” but the art is not just in the bottle, but on the back panel of Romeo’s bottles (more on that in a moment). Each and every bottle features a work by a contemporary Canadian artist local to the city the gin is rolled out in (thus you get Montreal artists on the Montreal editions, Torontonian artists on the Toronto editions, etc.. ). These are artists who’ve decorated not just their own cities with painting and murals but have made a splash on the contemporary art scene in Canada.
Each edition is curated by a different artist - and you can visualize their art through the medium of the gin on the interior of the bottle. My bottle was edition #5 and featured art by Montreal artist Sandra Chevrier called LA CAGE :TOI, MOI ET LE RÊVE, which is pretty cool and very pop art. But while all that is cool, it’s what in the bottle that counts when I do reviews - I’ll lead by saying there is art in that bottle too. That said and the gin has a bit of a museum too which is well worth checking out on their website.
The gin is a blended gin with each ingredient being distilled separately and then being combined and cut with water to produce the final gin. I strongly suspect the cucumber is added without being distilled as it lacks the cooked taste that it would get if the cucumber was “cooked” in the distilling process.
If you like cucumber flavored gins, this is among the best of the sipping gins of that ilk - and arguably I think this might be the best of the lot. It’s cool, interesting, and quite flavorful. The cucumber, with notes of dill, and some bitter sweet flavors fill the mouth contrasting beautifully with the slight but notable heat of the base spirit.
Olfactorally this gin’s aroma is kumquat, melon, and yuzu with sharp notes of juniper behind it and very faint notes of lavender at the backend.
The big bang in this gin is cucumber, much in the way of Hendricks or Reykjavik, but the cucumber isn’t quite as neat as in either of those - this is cucumber well seasoned with dill - followed by an almost mentholated bitter permeating riff of juniper that rises and swells on the palate. It creates a huge fresh feeling that is only accentuated by softer notes of floral lavender and almond. The end notes have just enough of a citrus character that you don’t miss it elsewhere in the flavor profile.
The finish is mellow and pleasant, almost desertlike in its finish, which lingers briefly with hints of lemon, whipped confectioner sugar, almond, and some floral notes.
I’m not sure how well this gin will hold up to most classic cocktails BUT it certainly seemed tailor made for both martinis and gin and tonics. I suspect for most mixed drinks it will be a bit more of a niche player.
In a gin and tonic Romeo’s stands up well. With a classic style tonic (in this case Fever Trees light) this makes for a good cucumber forward gin and tonic that is refreshing and light. There is enough classic flavor here that no one will mistake this for anything other than a G & T, although some might mistake it for one made with Hendricks, although I think it comes off as being a touch sweeter.
The gin pops in a martini, especially a dry one, but even with a lot of vermouth the cool cucumber and juniper are clear notes. The tinge of dill is there too if you are looking for it. It’s one of the better cucumber forward martinis I’ve tasted. Give this one very high marks if you are looking for a riff on the classic martini, it’s remarkably nice.
Now, I’m always puzzled a bit by picking the right cocktail for a cucumber forward gin, so looking for a bit of inspiration I reached out to my friends who love gins like this for a suggestion or two. After much debate the suggestions were to make a Ricky, a Gin Basil Smash, or a riff on Alton Brown’s Cucumber Lemonade Punch. I decided (based on a lovely full basil plant) and a number of beautiful lemons in my kitchen to follow Meatloaf’s advice, and not try them all, but to remember that 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!
Both of these were home runs in terms of being light, refreshing and pleasant summer-y type of cocktails that would be stars at a garden party or summer picnic. That said, I can’t quite picture this gin with things like a Corpse Reviver, Negroni, or Aviation. That said it certainly would be interesting to try a few of those this way.
The bottle of this gin says it was “made for non-conformists, and those who live life without boundaries and create something for the rest of us to think about”. This gin certainly is non- conforming and leaves us plenty to think about. That said it straddles the line between classic gin and modern gin in a very nice way. This will have some appeal I think to all but the diehard traditionalists.
This is certainly not a gin for every cocktail, but it has huge potential in the hands of any creative barkeep, not to mention those who love cucumber in the flavor profile. I think this is very good gin that most will enjoy. Personally this will from now on, until I meet one better, be my house cucumber gin, even if I have to drive to Canada to get it.
Floral 4/5 - I’d call it 2 of 5, normally but the cucumber notes are rather floral here so I’ll add the points for that to this category.
Rating (Sipping): 93 - As good a cucumber gin as you’ll find..
Rating (Mixing) 85 - It’s very good for certain cocktails but this is not a jack of all trades kind of gin - there are drinks that this just won’t go with.
Overall rating: 89 - a definite contender for the best cucumber forward gin available.
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.