Romeo’s Gin is a contemporary dry from Montreal, Canada and each edition is curated by a local, urban artist with a percentage of the sales going towards promoting urban art and culture.
Price: ~ £50
Romeo’s is the latest offering from the Craft Gin Club (it just arrived yesterday!) and can only be bought in one particularly high end department store in the uk, or online from only one site that I can find. It’s not a gin I’d ever heard of, so it’s always nice to get something you wouldn’t otherwise get your hands on very easily, even if you know it exists!
The ethos behind the gin seems fairly straightforward, to promote and support urban art and culture in Montreal and beyond. The gin club has sent out 4 different editions of the gin, and the artist behind mine is Santerre.
The bottle itself is plain and minimalist, but this is for the purpose of showing off the art printed on the inside of the back label, in this case Santerre’s anthropomorphic vision of Jacques Cartier, a Breton explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. I like the artwork, and the idea to use the bottles to promote urban art is a fantastic one, so I applaud the initiative! The rest of the label is clean, smart and very nicely laid out, with the name of the gin on the front slightly embossed, which is a nice touch.
Straight out of glass, you can tell there’s cucumber in this gin. It’s strong but beautifully fresh and clean, with an added crispness from the lemon which provides more of a zest than an actual aroma. Right at the fore too is the dill, which adds depth to that clear, floral/herbal mixture. There’s no burn whatsoever, despite the fairly high ABV and breathing deeply reveals the slightest hint of lavender at the back. I’m not a huge fan of cucumber, but it really does smell lovely.
Neat, there’s a surprising sweetness to it and not nearly as much cucumber as the smell implies. It must be said there is not a great deal of juniper to speak of, but other flavours do come rushing forward. Not in a confused way though, it’s a well controlled, orderly advance on the tastebuds with the dill really shining for me. The cucumber is almost like the carrier for everything else. It’s there, and it is certainly the prominent flavour, but it doesn’t feel like it’s overpowering anything else to be the star of the show, more that the others are there perhaps to compliment it, with the lemon providing more of a sensation than a flavour. Though the lavender and almond do struggle, I sense they provide a sweet softness to counteract the freshness of the cucumber and dill, and the zest of the lemon.
Mix the gin with some water and quite a lot happens with the floral, citrus flavours as they expand to fill the space. The lemon becomes a much bigger part of the action, and even real hints of lavender start to drift through.
Finally, I went for the club magazine’s Perfect G&T: three parts Artisan Violet Blossom Tonic, garnished with dried lime and pink peppercorns. It’s a beautiful mix with the cucumber giving way to the violet and lime to create a really interesting floral/citrus flavour. It’s not a typical G&T by a long way, but it’s a really lovely drink!
I’m not a huge fan of cucumber, as I’ve said, but the quality of this gin is pretty exceptional and I know I will enjoy it in cocktails in the summer (if it ever gets warm for longer than a couple of days!). It’s exceptionally clean and crips tasting and I am dying to try it in a Gin Mojito as I think it will be incredible. So yes, I like it, and I am very happy to have it as an addition to my collection!
However, with all that said, I am in a difficult position in giving this gin a high rating. I would normally deduct half a feather for a gin that is difficult to get hold of, but on top of that, the UK price tag is ridiculous (anything over £40 for me needs serious justification). That isn’t the gins fault however as I know that such department stores just charge whatever they like (I’ve seen other, widely available gins priced at least 20% higher in such stores) but that doesn’t change the fact that that’s the only price you can get it at in the UK. So, I find myself having to deduct a whole feather.
As a final word I would say this: if you find yourself in Montreal (assuming it’s a heck of a lot cheaper there!) and you like gin and cucumber, seek out a bottle as you’ll love it!
Add 1 feather if money is no object.
Remove 1 feather if you really don’t like cucumber!
Romeo’s is available in a very limited capacity online and in a shop!
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.