Although France is perhaps best known for its wine production and spirits such as Cognac, French white spirits such as vodka and gin have become far more popular in recent years. Renowned for its Grand Absente absinthe and Henri Bardouin Pastis, Distilleries & Domaines de Provence has launched its Gin XII in the UK.
A true celebration of terroir, Gin XII is produced using botanicals and herbs predominantly handpicked in the area surrounding Forcalquier, the citadel town where the gin is distilled in Haute-Provence. The town has been home to Distilleries & Domaines de Provence since 1898.
Using a blend of 12 herbs and spices (hence the name) intent on expressing the character and aromatic intensity of a stroll through the garrigue, Gin XII is distilled with juniper, coriander, sweet almond, thyme, angelica, grains of paradise, iris, cardamom, basil, rosemary, eucalyptus, and mint. These botanicals are distilled in a copper plate column still, enabling them to develop a greater balance of flavour, extracting the aromas that give GIN XII its particular style.
On its own, Gin XII has a slightly soft aroma with feint juniper joined by a prominent herbaceous edge, with rosemary, basil and mint joining wet pine and cardamom notes. With a slightly oily texture, wildflowers and anise develop on the palate, joined by some further rosemary and basil, plus thyme and cool spearmint. Juniper’s presence is surprisingly quite restrained, which provides a soft, incredibly smooth gin, complete with notes of slightly sweet eucalyptus and cardamom spice on the soft finish. Best served neat, with a splash of tonic water, or in cocktails such as a very simple French 75 with champagne, lemon juice, and a dash of sugar syrup.
Gin XII is available from Masters of Malt. £39.95, 70cl.