The closest we’ll ever get to having a calendar made purely of gin may just be the Revivalist Botanical series, a new portfolio of gins from Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Branch Distillers that draws inspiration from the four seasons.
But rather than rolling them out seasonally, each Revivalist gin will be available year round (so, yes, gin Christmas can happen in July). The foundation of each spirit is built with juniper, angelica and coriander, but sharply diverts with the addition of seasonal botanicals, and in the case of its Solstice expression, barrel-aging.
In reviewing the Revivalist lineup, we sampled each gin neat and then mixed each into a gin and tonic. It was a fine exercise, and one you may want to replicate. Now, our findings:
The clear-colored Equinox has a heavy juniper nose but proves to be light on the tongue. Flavors of citrus and mint begin at the start of the palate, pick up spice in the middle and roll into grass and peppered spice at the end. Of all the gins in the series, it’s the lightest in body and most mellow in flavor.
This makes for a light, pleasant gin and tonic that benefits from a refreshing hit of mint and citrus.
The clear-colored expression kicks off with strong notes of straw on the nose. It’s light at first contact with the palate, and the initial tastes inspire thoughts of grass, wildflowers and straw–basically your front yard in high summer. Those dry, crisp flavors are balanced in the middle by a subtle lick of honey, which rounds out with berries and summer fruits on the back end. The final finish is remarkably spicy for gin.
Its dry, grassy notes meld remarkably well with the sweetness of the tonic to make a refreshing drink with a satisfyingly soft mouthfeel.
The Harvest is slightly darker in color than the Summertide, appearing faintly yellow. The nose is dominated by juniper, and it’s thicker on the tongue with a hint of wood. That more substantial mouthfeel carries over to the center of the palate, where the texture becomes creamy. Grass and straw emerge at the back with a little spice, and it finishes with a long, fat drop of toasted oak.
It makes for a good, dry gin and tonic with a creamy mouthfeel. That final note of wood is still apparent, which provides a long smack of thick flavor to chew over as you ready yourself for the next sip.
The Solstice is light brown in color, thanks to a vacation spent in French oak barrels that had recently hosted red wine varietals. For all the talk of barrel-aging, it’s surprisingly light on the tongue. The front is dominated by a licorice splash of anise, followed up by light oak. It becomes chewy in the center of the palate, as juniper, resurgent anise and dark cherries make their presence known. A strong, slow-building but long-lasting ginger note takes us to the close.
Solstice makes for an interesting gin and tonic, and its heaviness brings an almost scotch and soda feeling to the experience. The heavy flavors of anise, ginger and cherry mesh beautifully with the tonic and lime to build a substantial gin and tonic that’s just as suited to fireside quaffing as a dram of whiskey.
Ultimately, the Revivalist Gin series is a fine opportunity to enjoy what some consider a warmer weather spirit every month of the year. With cooler temps already reaching me in Boston, I’ll be looking to Solstice gin and tonics to keep me warm through the coming winter.
CE Rating: ★★★