Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

IMG_059912When you think German products you think precision, quality, tradition and a premium experience.

There is a well-known term for a small to medium sized business in German, Mittlestand,  who employ some 70% of the workforce. They take a long term, highly focused approach to what they make, and aim for export excellence.

Hold that thought.

When it comes to wine making Germany has an exceptional history of superb wines, and the Saar-Mosel region is the premium area in the country for its famous Riesling. They have been making wine there for over 2000 years.

So when you combine those two elements and apply it to crafting a gin the result is Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin.

The gin is the result of a partnership between Andreas Vallendar from Avadis Distillery and Dorothee Zilliken from the VDP Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken estate in Saarburg who have been making wine for over 270 years.

Typically the wine from the region is what we would consider sweet, or semi sweet, but with great length and elegance.

Image from Ferdinand Gin’s website

Production Notes

The gin is a blend of both wine and distilled spirit with some 30 botanicals including their own quince, lavender, lemon scented thyme, rosehip, rose, hop blossom, almond shell, coriander and ginger.

A grain based spirit is the basis in which the botanicals steeped and at the same time they use a layered vapour infusion chamber when distilling.

The resulting spirit is blended carefully with the wine and each batch is given the year of vintage on its cork and sealed with wax.

Tasting Notes

Neat: Upfront, what you don’t get is a wine flavoured gin.

This is a gorgeous integrated flavour profile that is rounded + soft. It offers delicate lavender + citrus on the nose, and a slight sweet taste of thyme and lime, with a midly spicyfinish.

No juniper kick here, its all restrained and balanced.

Martini: Given the aforementioned tasting, I opted for just a hint of Noilly Prat (rinsed the glass really) so as not to dominate the gin.

As a very dry Martini it was luscious, and offered a gently reflective cocktail that made one want to linger in conversation with it.

The wine rounds out the spirit, and the botanicals give the gin structure and length, with a medium dry finish and a hint of pepper at the end. I think about a sprig of some lemon thyme as a garnish, or a swirl of a lemon or lime rind to catcht the oils, but don’t leave it in the glass.

The Take Home

Having experienced German gin before, I knew I was in for a quality spirit. They don’t do bad gin in Germany! But I was really surprised at the finesse of the marriage between wine + spirit and the resulting elegant gin from the Saar-Mosel.


Disclaimer: This review was of an unsolicited bottle provided by Lux Wine + Spirits