St. George’s Terroir Gin is one that has sparked a lot of interest and discussion, with its unique, characteristic feature being that it is intended to evoke the sensation of walking through a coastal rainforest. Definitely not a traditional London dry type gin, its douglas fir botanical dominates any juniper flavors but is carefully balanced with very light citrus and lingering, baseline savory spice flavors. Terroir’s listed botanicals include juniper, douglas fir, fennel, coriander, bay laurel and sage, though it is indicated that there are 12 botanicals total, and the website describes a complex, multi-step distillation process that certainly contributes to the gin’s uniqueness.
I had to taste this gin on two different days – once with the normal G&T ingredients and the second time with a few different options. Smelling the gin on its own, fir was dominant but I could also smell a strong spice, potentially pepper, and also perhaps star anise (maybe I was mistaking the fennel?) and another element such as cloves or allspice in the background along with the more savory sage, bay and possibly rosemary notes. A light but distinctive floral note was also present – not delicate, like gins that have rose petals or lavendar, but more fragrant – maybe hosehip?
In any case, for me, tasting the gin neat was a wonderful experience. Perhaps I enjoyed this gin so much as I am partial to peaty scotch, but I’m not sure this gin would be for everyone. The fir was evident, and surrounded the flavor profile without overpowering it, but the lack of bright fruit or punchy citrus was pleasantly offset by rich spicy, fragrant yet smooth savory notes, and complimented by light citrus.
Though I tasted terroir with different gin and tonic options as I do all gins, I think perhaps this gin has more potential outside of G&Ts than most – I would almost suggest using soda or at least the least sweet tonic you can get your hands on. I used Fever Tree, and my favorite combination of the garnishes I tried was muddled rosemary and lemon peel. The G&T with lemon peel alone was beautiful, light and summery. Neither cucumber or lime worked well in a G&T with this gin – lime accentuated the fir rather than the savory notes, and cucumber was a bit bland while somewhat masking the complex savory elements. Mint was interesting and has potential in other cocktails with this gin. In a G&T it wasn’t awful, but something was a little off, a bit like wearing green and blue together.
Like other modern-type gins one of the wonderful things about this gin is its likely versatility in different cocktails. I didn’t try it but I suggest that it might go well with berry, fennel or basil garnish, and might be interesting to try with smoked or burned spices and a bit of sugar.