- Jonathan Winters
Uncle Val's Botanical Gin Review
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Gin with a non traditional botanical mix that evokes the cooking flavors of the Italian Mediterranean.
Review Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin
Note this review is for Batch 46.
Made in: Bend, OR.
45% alcohol/90 proof
Botanicals: Juniper berry, lemon, cucumber, lavender, sage - probably more.
Style: Modern gin.
It’s hard to say a lot about this gin, because there just isn’t much information out there. So I’ve reached out to the company in hopes of getting a little bit more information. If it comes I’ll update this information.
But basically what you see on the bottle is the information out there. The story is that the gins are inspired by Uncle Valerio’s love of cooking and Tuscan cuisine. The botanicals in the gin were supposedly Uncle Val’s favorites to cook with. I can’t tell if Uncle Val is a fictional character or someone real but its a nice botanical mix. I think that love of cooking that they refer to is what inspired the bottle itself as it looks like a bottle of quality olive oil.
Aside from that fact, and the bottle says the gin is distilled 5 times, and is adorned with the wisdom of Uncle Val I can’t tell you much.
The one thing I can say is that I’m pretty sure at least one of these botanicals were added once the rest of the gin was done. It’s mainly because the cucumber flavor is crisp and clean, and has avoided the cooked taste that cucumber tends to take in when it’s heated in a still. Uncle Val’s is hardly the first gin to do this. You can get the same taste in Reykjavik, Hendrick’s and almost every other gin with a fresh cucumber note.
Neat this gin was a bit harsh and bitter, but like a good whiskey it opened up well with a little water. On the rocks it transformed into something wonderful.
The nose is lemon blossom, orange, and just a hint of lavender.
The palate opens with a hint of bitterness with a touch of sweetness, Meyer lemon, tangerine, and lemon blossoms mixed with a dilute cucumber water, mixed with the floral notes of the lavender, and the spiciness of the sage. It’s got an intrinsic hint of sweetness from the citrus and lavender. The jumper is almost invisible here except as a bitter aftertaste of pine sap.
On the tongue it’s smooth and sticky, clinging to the palate quite nicely.
This is a beautiful gin. Honestly this is a winner with big flavors, softened by the cucumber water to produce a wonderful flavor profile. And while it was great with just ice, how did it fare in a mixed drink?
It made a great martini with such a gentle edge and nice flavor that it was hard to resist making another. That said the cucumber nature of the gin became just a whisper.
The citrus was overwhelming in with traditional tonic water, and the cucumber was totally overwhelmed. Maybe with a non-Indian style tonic it would be better.
It stood up well in a negroni, and It stood up well in a gin fizz, and probably will in most other mixed drinks.
While I’d love to know a lot more about how it’s made I have to judge it by its botanicals, quality, and taste and on those counts this is an excellent gin. I think it’s a true top shelf product and I’ll look forward to trying a few more of the Uncle Val’s gins.
Overall rating: 93.
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 though I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.