Gin aux Agrumes is from Monaco’s first distillery, and is a celebration of the country’s citrus fruits.
Price: ~ £??
La Distillerie de Monaco was originally opened to produce L’Orangerie liqueur, a rather fine looking spirit in its own right, but owner Philip’s growing interest in the booming craft gin scene soon saw him keen to try his hand at something else. With all the wonderful fruit available on his doorstep, it was clear from the start what flavours were going to feature, and so Gin aux Agrumes was born, bursting with citrus.
Gin aux Agrumes is the May 2020 gin of the month from Craft Gin CLub
The bottle is a gorgeous shape, squared at the bottom and tapering out to a curved sided square at the shoulder, then sweeping up to a rounded neck shape. It has a lovely thick base, and clean feel to the glass, topped with a light wooden stopper. On the front is a small label below the shoulder with the name of the distillery, and a smaller label above the base with the name of the gin, volume and ABV. The real star here though is the back label, which is back printed to show a beautiful painting of the coast of Monaco, beneath the canopy of a citrus tree. The colours are warm and bright, evoking that feeling of a holiday on the continent. On the other side of the label is a nice blurb about Monaco and the gin, along with the usual info. It’s a gorgeous bottle, and I just love the feeling it evokes.
Warm juniper wafts from the glass, heavy with citrus aromas and full of thick, fleshy fruit. It’s fresh and juicy, rather than crisp and bright, with mouthwatering results, almost the aromatic equivalent of biting into a slice of orange. The citrus is an orchestra here, with juniper as the conductor, steering the notes in different directions. Sweet orange is the star for me, but it doesn’t run away, with the more bitter citrus keeping things in check and providing a little zesty hit. It’s at once a simple citrus profile, but at the same time the depth to the citrus is such that I could easily spend much longer breathing in every little detail and finding new things. It’s absolutely wonderful.
Neat, it’s a little more bitter than the nose might suggest, with juniper gaining a more earthy tone. The more bitter fruits shine through here too, with bergamot making its presence known especially, alongside a nice nip from the ginger. The blend of citrus is sophisticated and dry, leaving you in no doubt this is a gin and not a citrus fruit liqueur in disguise. What I especially like is the added depth that comes from the szechuan, with the flavour providing an interesting, but complimentary diversion from the citrus. The savoury element it provides, alongside the lemon thyme works wonders, creating another dimension to the flavour and a lovely faint, almost baked flavour.
With water, the lemon, ginger, and lime begin to come through beautifully, enhancing the fleshy flavours while toning down the bitterness. The sweetness begins to grow, the flavours expand as the orchestra harmonises, and everything is improved. I find myself falling in love.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian tonic with dried orange and juniper to garnish). The result is absolutely amazing. The flavours created here are wholly unexpected and the drink is evidently much more than the sum of its parts. There are depths to this that I suddenly feel unqualified to attempt to describe. The orange is divine, sweet yet fresh, with a faint almond-y taste, and while it’s certainly the flavour I most clearly identify, I can feel the other citrus fruits paying their roles. This is a true symphony of flavour, with everything in perfect balance. I’m utterly blown away. I’m not sure I’ve had a G&T like this before. It’s incredible.
Gin aux Agrumes is pretty much the perfect citrus gin. The balance is just right to allow the flavours to grow when mixed, creating one of the best G&Ts I’ve ever had. I would almost recommend re-creating my own journey and trying it neat, with water, and the in a G&T, because it highlights how much flavour is present here, and how beautifully put together it is. Neat I thought this gin was great. When I added water I was surprised at the improvement, simply because I didn’t think it would change much, but in a G&T my world changed. This is proper top tier stuff, where flavour development becomes inexplicable. It’s an incredible gin and an absolute must if you’re a fan of citrus flavours. Even if you’re not, you need to try this.
Gin aux Agrumes is available via the distillery
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.