What do Vikings, gin and passion fruit have in common? Nothing? Well, at least they have managed to come together in a very daring marketing story around a gin that I want to review here today. In fact, I have involuntarily wrinkled my forehead a few times while reading the background story, because I find the narrative around this bottle really odd – and I have already read a few marketing stories about spirits and have also briefly reviewed them here. However, things are the way they are. In the end, what counts for me anyway is what is contained in the bottle and how it performs in the tasting. But one thing at a time. (provided test product)*
The Sweyn Gabelbart Passion Gin (or mostly just Gabelbart Gin or also Gabelbart Passion Gin) comes in a nice, dark greenish 0.5l glass bottle. The design is simple on the one hand, but shrill on the other. The bottle is not overly imprinted, but when I first saw the white Viking helmet over a green moustache with the name Gabelbart in between and then read the green letters saying Passion Gin with a stylized, sliced passion fruit as the letter O underneath, I had several question marks in my head! Was this seriously a Viking theme that had been thought up for this gin? Definitely, because there are even runes above the Viking helmet! But why on earth does this Viking gin, which has just made me think of the Nordic world, want to be a passion gin with passion fruit? In short: I still don’t really know. Anyway, I learn on the label that Sweyn Gabelbart (engl.: Sweyn Forkbeard) was a Danish Viking King who lived between 965 and 1014 and was King of England for 40 days (until his death). While studying this biographical outline, I was still briefly looking for a parallel to the passion fruit, but there is nothing. All right, I swallow the pill: a Viking gin with passion fruit, which comes in a bottle with an abv of 41%. I would definitely have brought it up differently, but maybe I’m overlooking something crucial.
Anyway, in order to not overlook or otherwise miss a really decisive thing, we will now go into the content in more detail. The gin is based on pure grain alcohol and according to the website of the producing Oldman Spirits GmbH it is a London Dry Gin, although one looks for this information on the bottle in vain! I also don’t understand this at all: it is a clear sign of quality that this is a London Dry Gin, which makes it stand out from the flood of dry gins that is released nowadays! As a connoisseur I wish for something like this as a proud mark directly on the bottle. Once again I get the feeling that I am simply not the target group the bottle design is aimed at. Botanicals used are angelica or angel roots (which, by the way, the Vikings already used…), juniper and passion fruits, unfortunately more isn’t revealed. Well, for me it doesn’t necessarily take fifty-five different botanicals to make a good gin! So, now to the really essential.
Aroma: Ok, as might be expected, this is not a classic “juniper nose”. Right from the start there is a nice, distinct fruity note with the exotic notes of passion fruit, which I like very much. I also find associations of raspberry, some moss and rose pepper. Juniper and pine resin are also present, but they remain behind the fruity notes, although they are not completely hidden. In fact, I find them well integrated. Angelica roots are not uncommon in gins, but they are rarely an integral part of tasting notes, which is usually due to the fact that in their pure form there is hardly any contact with them. But if you have bought them once in a pharmacy or in an Asian market and got to know their characteristics, you will know how to classify their notes. And yes, they are recognizable here, even if typically profound, but well integrated.
Palate: On the palate, the alcohol cannot hide completely, but it transports a very balanced potpourri of fruit and juniper notes. Passion fruit and juniper harmonize in a way I would not have expected. I like the taste of the gin very much. It is not overly multidimensional, but it doesn’t have to be. Its overall appearance is quite dry, but always leaves a solid impression of craftsmanship.
Finish: dry, medium-long with subtle, rosé pepper
My conclusion: A really nice, recommendable gin! That I didn’t warm up with the marketing story will probably be noticed, but so be it! For one thing it was good: my choice of cocktail! Because after the wild ride on a dragonboat along tropical palm beaches my mind was set on Tiki! And here it was the Kon-Tiki Tropical Itch that gave me the idea to use this gin together with some aquavit (because Vikings!), rosemary, fresh mango, cinnamon, lime and bitters in a winking cocktail I called it The Passion of Heyerdahl. Passion fruit, Scandinavian and Kon-Tiki. Not convinced? Then keep it to yourself, the wrath of Sweyn Forkbeard is terrible!
Recipe “The Passion of Heyerdahl”:
3cl Gabelbart Passion Gin
3 cl clear aquavit
5 fresh mango cubes (approx. 2cm x 2cm)
1 cl cinnamon syrup
1.5 cl lime juice
1 small sprig of rosemary
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Preparation: First, put the rosemary sprig and mango cubes in a shaker and muddle them. Finally add the remaining ingredients except Angostura Bitters and shake vigorously. Strain twice into the Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice and finally add Angostura Bitters to the top of the drink.
Garnish: dried mango slice, rosemary twig
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.