Trade Winds Gin Review
Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Review Trade Winds Gin
Made in: Turks and Caicos, British West Indies, by Provo Beverages
40% alcohol/80 proof
Botanicals known : Juniper, coriander, angelica, licorice, cucumber, cassia. I suspect there are more.
Style: Modern Gin
I was wandering around the islands not so long ago and well, it was time to write a gin review. So I popped by the local purveyor of spirits to see what was on the shelf on the islands of Turks and Caicos. And there I found this gin. Locally made in Providenciales, Trades Wind was one of two locally made gins. As the rest were all easily findable in the US, I decided to go a bit local.
The bottle didn’t tell me much about the gin, or the distiller, so I tried to reach out to them. Better late than never, they got back to me after I had already published the review. I still have some big questions, and the botanical list definitely does not explain some of the flavors in this gin, so let’s get right inside that bottle and see what we have.
I had low expectations for this gin coming in, so it was more than a pleasant surprise when I tried it first as a sipping gin. While admittedly the first note I got of the gin was sugar, this was not the rough, standard straightforward type gin I expected to be made locally or at this price point (about $15).
As a sipper I don’t think this gin will wow a lot of people but it is surprisingly drinkable. The heat level isn’t high, the flavors are harmonious, and while it’s not overly complex, it’s pleasant and very mellow on the palate.
The nose is full of ripe melon, honeysuckle, mint, and juniper with some peppery spice hiding at the close.
The gin has a nice backbone of juniper with a lot of cucumber and honeydew melon, menthol and a touch of sweetness in the forefront of the gin. Behind that ís a good dollop of orange zest, some good notes of black pepper, with hints of ginger in the finish. There is a bit of herbal/fruit nature to this gin which comes through heavily in the aftertaste - it is by no means anything unpleasant BUT if this gin has any real floral nature it comes through most in the aftertaste. This is definitely more of a cucumber or melon dominated gin than anything else.
Mouthfeel here is very transformable from arid and astringent when sipped neat, to cool and slightly viscous when chilled - although a certain amount of astringency is still present but very downplayed compared to drinking it neat.
Clearly there were some drinks this gin would work well with, but I was a bit dubious about how well it could stand up in a gin and tonic or martini.
It almost seemed a bit criminal to mix Trade Winds with a good quality tonic, as I’m pretty sure the tonic cost more than the gin it was being mixed with (on an ounce to ounce basis), but when mixed with Fever Trees Indian Tonic it sure mixed very well. This was by no means an elite pairing, but it made for a better than workmanlike gin and tonic. The sort that if you got in a good restaurant, you would not send back. I rather liked the melon and cucumber notes here. .
Now the martini was a tough test, not because it was bad in a martini, but as I just couldn’t find a bottle of anything I’d consider drinkable as a vermouth in Turks and Caicos (and to be fair as I was on holiday I didn’t look too hard). So I was in need of finding a bartender who used this locally made gin in their bar and that was hard to find. Apparently the locals don’t drink a lot of gin, the tourists stick to imported gins, and the British navy of old is nowhere to be seen.
That said I didn’t give up, and eventually at a bar/restaurant operating out of a converted Airstream trailer I found my dry martini. Again the cucumber and melon shone through in the martini. It isn’t quite classic but it definitely is a martini. Really it was quite good from the standpoint of an inexpensive local gin.
Now since I wasn’t anywhere near my home bar, and was a bit lacking in ingredients to mix something complex with Trade Winds, I ended up using one of my favorite grapefruit drinks from the Caribbean, Ting, to make a Finnish Long drink with the gin. It was enough of an outstanding combination that it quite quickly vanished, from every glass I mixed it in (and just FYI I was not drinking alone). I can’t say I think it will click in every drink, as the juniper backbone just isn’t that strong, but I think it would find a place in Gimlets, Rickeys, and Southsides..
To be fair I was expecting a rotgut type gin, or at best one which was rough and fit only to be a low end house gin - so this gin blindside me a bit. I’d still say this more of house gin than a premium one, but it checked all the boxes. It was sippable, mixable, and overall quite enjoyable. Perhaps more importantly is that this in my opinion is a great inexpensive gateway gin (as a mixing gin) for people who don’t like the more classic London dry flavor profile.
Perhaps just as importantly as what this gin is, is what it is not. It’s not classic at all - melon and cucumber are the driving flavors here. It’s not an overly dry gin, and it’s not super complex or sophisticated. I’d keep it as a mixing gin, and enjoy it for what it is. If you are a gin drinker to makes it to TCI I’d definitely grab a bottle and give it a try.
Rating (Sipping): 75 - easy enough to drink and unique, but it almost didn’t feel like gin, and not one you’ll really remember.
Rating (Mixing) 84- Far better than I expected, although I sampled it in just a handful of cocktails. Lots of bang for the buck here
Overall rating: 79- I’d call it more of a high end well gin than an elite gin. That said I’d definitely prefer it over quite a few well known “premium” brands.
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.