It’s always nice to look forward to summer, but even more so this year. It’s not just the usual fun and sun, but Paris terrace dining will be opening back up very soon, restrictions are lifting, vaccines are rolling out (slower in some places than others) and it’s an occasion for seasonal drinking! I’ve already started my seasonal drinking with Citadelle’s latest gin release: Jardin d’été.
Regular readers are likely already familiar with the French gin pioneer Citadelle. In addition to their original offering, they also produce the barrel aged Reserve, their No Mistake Old Tom and the Extreme special editions like Wild Blossom and Saison of the Witch (a personal favorite). Fans of the house will be excited to know that they have now added a fifth offering to the permanent product line with Jardin d’Été. This special bottling was inspired by the creator’s wife Debbie’s garden on the grounds of their beautiful Chateau Bonbonnet in Cognac. It’s made with their own juniper and designed to evoke the experience of a beautiful summer day.
I’m absolutely delighted with every aspect of this product. I love the personal inspiration and inclusion of Debbie. The brightly colored label and promotional materials filled with flowers and fruits and pretty little insects are playful, cheerful and hint at the happiness within the bottle.
With this expression, Alexandre Gabriel continues to explore and experiment and has done some interesting things. In addition to orange, yuzu zests and homegrown melons, he distills entire lemons (skin, pulp juice and all).
The result is a fresh and bright gin. I love a nice citrusy gin for summer martinis, while maybe something with a little more spicy, herbally or juniper forward – and maybe even overproof – is good for winter. I’ve found that though this is a summer expression, it’s something that would work nicely year round in my martinis. It starts off with a mouthwateringly bright, but also savory, citrus filling your mouth, followed by floral and more citrus, a touch of melon and a really long green finish. But, it’s not all summertime brightness; there is a nice weighty mouthfeel to it and a hint of green peppercorn. And while I can appreciate all of the above in a martini any season, most of my bottle has gone to gin and tonics. This is a lovely choice for your sunny day G&T.
Even if France has not yet fully entered summertime, this bottle has been bringing some sunshine to my days and I’m tickled to see its entry into the Citadelle offerings.