The name Christian Drouin should be familiar in particular to lovers of the French apple brandy Calvados. In Normandy in the Département of Calvados, the Drouin family produces the famous apple brandy in third generation in its distillery, which is located fairly centrally between the two larger cities of Rouen and Caen, somewhat southwest of Honfleur. While Christian Drouin senior founded the business and Christian Drouin junior continued it and internationalized it, in 2004 Guillaume Drouin also joined the business, which he has also managed since 2013. (provided test product)*
After these introductory words, one might of course think that today is also about Calvados, but instead the focus is on a gin from the house of Drouin. The “Le Gin” should also be known to many gin lovers – and the addition “de Christian Drouin” also clearly indicates that the Drouin house also understands the production of gin. This “Le Gin” has now received a special honor, which is expressed in the form of a completely new bottling. In a sense, a bottling that completes the arc from calvados to gin: Le Gin de Christian Drouin Calvados Cask Finish.
As a limited edition, the Le Gin, based on neutral alcohol flavored with double-distilled apple cider brandy, is finished in former Calvados casks. It is therefore a gin of the category Reserved Gin. The maturation period is twelve months in relatively small, 225-liter barrels. As botanicals, Le Gin is based on juniper, Brazilian ginger, vanilla from Madagascar, lemons, cardamom, Indonesian cinnamon, almonds and rose petals. Le Gin de Christian Drouin Calvados Cask Finish is then finally bottled with an abv of 42%.
Aroma: A very interesting, fruity but also spicy aroma shows up here. I immediately find the juniper, but just also lots of apple, which is of course due to the apple brandy (for which, by the way, over 30 varieties of apples were used). In addition, the ginger blends in very well with the apple characteristics and is finally underlined by spices. Cardamom stands out, but also some cinnamon shows up here, albeit rather subtly (nevertheless, the interplay of apple and cinnamon is just a very familiar one, which is perhaps why it still just shines through).
Taste: in fact, Le Gin de Christian Drouin Calvados Cask Finish turns out very gentle and round on the palate. Again, the apple is absolutely programmatic and goes hand in hand with juniper, spice and again some ginger – there is also a very subtle vanilla, as is often found in Reserved Gins due to the cask influence. I also find a subtle citrus note and somewhat perfume-like secondary notes, perhaps due to the rose petals. However, these are in no way dominant or disturbing, but are recognizable.
Finish: fruity, full-bodied, medium length with subtle barrel notes.
Yes, this is a very nice Reserved Gin of a slightly different sort. And of course, in a mixing glass (or in a shaker), this is quite a wonderful opportunity to try something out. For this, in addition to Le Gin de Christian Drouin Calvados Cask Finish, I used a Peruvian Pisco, some D.O.M. Benedictine, a dry vermouth and some cinnamon syrup. The cinnamon syrup serves the purpose of carrying the very subtle cinnamon notes in the gin over into the cocktail as well, where they would otherwise be lost in the face of the other ingredients. The result, in a sense, is a slightly sweetened martini variation that I’ve called Chuchotement, which effectively means “whisper.” Because if you concentrate while drinking it, you can hear the Calvados barrels whispering softly….
4,5 cl Le Gin de Christian Drouin Calvados Cask Finish.
1,5 cl Peruvian Pisco
3 cl dry white vermouth
0,5 cl cinnamon syrup
1 barspoon (0.25 cl) D.O.M. Benedictine
2 Dashes By the Dutch Ginger Bitters
Preparation: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass on ice until cold and strain into a pre-chilled glass.
Garnish: dried apple slice
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.