Naud gin is part of a range from the Naud family in Cognac, France. A gin full of spices that pushes boundaries!
Price: ~ £32 (but half that on the continent)
‘Noble and Unusual Distillery’ seems to be the slogan of the Naud brand and there’s certainly a fair bit about this gin that’s unusual! I actually bought it from Germany a while ago as part of a rather large and indulgent order of spirits, so I was somewhat surprised when I received another bottle of it in February as part of my Craft Gin Club subscription! The distillery is located in Cognac, so you won’t be surprised to find that they make that very spirit also. After a quick snoop on the website I see they also make vodka and rum! All to the same visual brand. Which brings me to…
The bottle is definitely different! It’s an odd shape and I’m not sure how to describe it really, other than to say it’s sort of chunky. There’s some nice embossing on the glass, and top of the lid, of the name, slogan and emblem (a willow tree? I’ve been unable to find out for sure). I don’t mind the bottle at all, but the labelling is, to me, garish. The green is not visually appealing at all, especially the metallic coloured ring around the neck, and the artwork is questionable. It could really stand out in a good way if it was completely redesigned, but as it is it certainly does not suggest nobility to me!
Naud does not pull any punches when it comes to aroma. There’s a huge amount going on here and I have to hold my hands up and say it makes me feel a little out of my depth! There’s a huge, bright burst of pine and cardamom, and when I say bright, I mean it literally smells bright green to me! There’s some genuine synesthesia going on! The bergamot is quite strong too, but it’s pushed around a bit by the ginger and nutmeg which almost take the smell into the realms of the chemical. Inhale too deeply and it does overpower. I think it’s an amazing smelling gin, and my only real criticism is that it almost smells of too much!
Neat, there’s quite a lot of burn, and while there are still a lot of bright green, crisp notes of pine and cardamom, there’s a lot of sour spice too. I think the spices are a little heavy-handed on the palate. One look at the list of botanicals will show you that there are a lot in there, and it’s a bit like a scrum in your mouth. There’s a lot of flavour, but this gin is not a neat sipper.
Water takes away the burn, as you would expect, but the cardamom is still thrashing around like a brat having a temper tantrum. And I love cardamom. It’s sour, and sadly there’s not a lot else going on here. It’s very green, it’s very strongly flavoured, but in a bitter, sour way that isn’t hugely enjoyable. The flavour really stays on the tongue too.
I struggled to decide what drink to try it in as a final taster. I figured it needed something to sweeten it a bit, but also compliment all those spices… so I kinda just made one up. I made myself a ‘Gingertini’ (gin, ginger liqueur, lemon, sugar, vermouth) and it was good! The gin maintained all that bright fresh flavour but the other ingredients held back those sour cardamom notes. I am pretty pleased with myself if I’m honest! I’d probably put a touch less sugar in it if I made it again, but overall that was a good drink and easily replicated! (If you don’t have ginger liqueur, I’d replace both that and the sugar for a ginger cordial).
I feel that Naud is a missed opportunity. The botanicals list really speaks to me as a lover of spices, but it’s all just too heavy handed to really enjoy. It’s one to experiment with if you find yourself with a bottle, and I shall continue to do so, but it really is quite a sour, overpowering flavour that I think it’s really quite limited to what you can do with.
Add up to one feather if you like sour tastes!
Naud is available online (though stock is often low)
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.