- Jonathan Winters
St. George Terroir Review
This St. George won’t slay dragons, but it makes a heck of a drink.
Review St. George Terroir
Made in: Alameda, CA, USA, by St. George Spirits
Method: Vapor infused (bay and juniper), copper pot still distilled (fir and sage), Everything else is in the still.
45% alcohol/90 proof
Botanicals 12: Juniper, douglas fir, sage, coriander seeds, California bay laurel, fennel, angelica root, lemon, orange, cardamom, orris root, cinnamon.
Style: Modern gin.
*Note this review of a bottle from Lot GT2019
St. George is definitely a dragon slayer when it comes to gin - with four knockout entries in this category, each and every one worth tasting, and drinking. They are at the forefront of the modern gin movement in the USA.
Unfortunately as I write this, wildfires are raging though Alameda county, California, and it’s already destroyed wineries and distilleries as well as claiming many lives. At the moment the distillery is far from the fire, although they have closed St. George’s several times due to bad air quality.
Terroir, the gin I’m drinking today is the distillery’s tribute to the state of California. It’s key botanicals, other than juniper, are endemic to the state, the douglas fir (a type of evergreen tree related to the pine) and California bay laurel (a type of myrtle tree also known as pepperwood). They impart a very unique taste to this gin that I’ve found in no other gin so far.
Tasted neat this gin, like most, is a bit astringent and hot, but served over ice, and given a few minutes to open up it becomes lovely, rich, and very sippable without a mixer.
This one is a bit like drinking a forest. Strong pine, sage, and bay are the predominant flavors, gently melded with the juniper which plays a strong second fiddle in this flavor profile. You’ll also taste coriander, licorice, with just a hint of acidity, along with the sweetness that I associate with orris root.
On the tongue, there is a coolness and lingering sweetness with a dry finish.
This gin while wonderfully drinkable with just ice is meant for mixing. I tried it in four or five things, besides my traditional martini and gin and tonic. Almost uniformly it performed beautifully.
In a martini, a traditional one, it was outstanding. It was cool, crisp, and delightfully piney. Moreover it was excellent.
In terms of a gin and tonic, it paired beautifully with a mediterranean style tonic to produce a very good G&T, although I found the combined sweetness required just a slight extra touch of tonic and a bit of lemon to balance it out.
In terms of other cocktails, it stood out in a martinez, a collins, and a basil smash. I did not like as much in an aviation, as the pine/bay character detracted from the creme de violet. Lastly I tried it in one of their suggested cocktails, Twin peaks, which I thought was wonderful. In fact I liked it so much I might add it to the regular rotation of cocktails.
This is an elite gin, but one which will be a love or hate among gin drinkers. Some will find the pine/juniper character, or the sage too strong, others will really gravitate towards just those aspects of the gin. Some will think it tastes like Christmas (and with a dash of cinnamon I could see that).
It won’t be for everyone, but it's a bold, strong gin that breaks a few molds, and ranks among some of the more interesting gins you can find.
Overall rating: 93 this is an elite level gin - that will be a staple on shelves for anyone seeking non-classic flavor.
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.