Arbutus Distillery Empiric Gin

This is a gin that hasn’t really been on my radar until now. To be honest I have a slight mistrust for flashy packaging – I may be a bit of a purist in that I think a gin should stand on its own. Despite my inherent distrust though, I have tasted some great gins with obvious effort having gone into branding and packaging, and have been suitably impressed with the quality of the gin. This brings us to Empiric Gin.

Arbutus distillery, located in Nanaimo BC, has set out to make a gin based on west coast flavors and botanicals. Though it has juniper and coriander, it also contains some west coast staples: hops, lavender, rosemary and fennel among others. They battle the age-old problem of making a BC-centric gin, without having access to traditional citrus in BC. Instead Empiric has lemon verbena, and a whole bunch of it, I’m guessing, bringing a bright sweetness to the front of the gin. The bright bold hit you get right off the bat when first tasting this gin is closely chased by coriander and the remainder of the herbal and floral profile, which finishes cleanly.

This isn’t my favorite sipping gin, however it shines madly in a G&T, especially with a dry tonic that brings its own unique flavor profile to the table. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the Fermentorium tonics, the philosopher’s brew tonic with Empiric was a stunner.


Smell – Juniper and coriander up front, herbal, slightly floral following

Taste Neat – Punchy, bright and lightly sweet, Juniper and coriander are strong, herbal and floral, consistent throughout, clean finish

In a G&T – lemon or lime, with a dry, botanical tonic.

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