For many of us, that country, so famous for so many gorgeous things to eat and drink, isn’t the first place you associate with gin. However, let me introduce to some of my favourites that deserve your attention.
If you consider their long expertise in crafting perfumes, eau de vie, Cognac and the rest, it shouldn’t surprise their gins are also excellent. The approach overall has been to create gins that are complex and balanced with an emphasis on quality.
One of my top 10 gins for a Martini, I always keep a bottle in my bar. One of the longest established French gins, this has been around since 1996. The branding was recently refreshed to do justice to their elegant London Dry style gin. It’s very balanced with juniper forward notes up front then a clean citrus and pepper finish. No one botanical dominates and they even cultivate their own juniper at the Château de Bonbonnet which is located in Cognac. Find out more on their website.
Diplôme Dry Gin
This gin was released in 2012 and hails from Dijon, with a very interesting back story. The gin was made for the US Army under no brand name for American GIs stationed in Europe during World War II. It was a family production until 1966 until the French left NATO and kicked the Americans out of France. A certain Monsieur Edouard Betegnie bought the recipe from the family, came up with the name and voila! It’s a classy London Dry style gin, with eight botanicals and presents as a subtly spiced London Dry style gin. Find out more on their website.
I purchased this gin one day just because it’s gorgeous bottle and fell in love with it. With a very floral and aromatic nose, it’s very luxe. On the palette it’s quite rich, some citrus and pepper, even hints of musk. On showing the gin to a lady friend, she promptly use some as an impromptu perfume dab behind the ears! Another gin from Cognac, it uses a complex range of botanicals including jasmine, elderflower and orange. Great for mixing, including a luscious G+T. Find out more on their website.
Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin
There’s a few saffron infused gins about now, but none with the finesse of this spirit. Clearly, not meant for a Martini, but it’s delicious on ice, or in a cocktail. Produced in small batches, this gorgeous looking gin features Juniper, Coriander, Lemon, Orange peel, Angelica seeds, Iris and Fennel. The first time I drank it, it was served on ice with an artichoke leaf garnish(!) that was very successful indeed. This gin comes from Dijon, and debuted in 2008. The flavour profile is more citrus and spice than the saffron which makes a discrete appearance at the end of the palette. Exotic and delicious. Find out more on their website.
I’ve created several cocktails using these gins, including a French gin degustation dinner a few years back -please follow the link for the recipes.
I also created, using the Generous Gin, a very glamorous creation for the upmarket retail precinct, the Canberra Centre, complete with a gold leaf garnish, which you read about here which I dubbed La Martini Deluxe.Naturally, I think all of the gins (with the exception of the Saffron gin) make for an excellent Martini. Particularly the Citadelle and the Diplôme Dry Gin which are very elegant – the drier the better in my opinion. The Generous Gin, as the name suggests, is richer on the palette and so it can benefit from less Dry Vermouth, or just with tonic..
à votre santé