Review: Pink Gin (Confluence Distilling) / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Confluence Distilling.

Image courtesy of Confluence Distilling.

Alberta wheat with botanicals
Distiller Confluence Distilling (Calgary, AB)

This gin follows the craze of pink gins across the world, however, it’s rather unique - particularly in its incorporation of bird’s eye chili in its botanical mix which lends a peppery, spicy edge. But it gets more interesting - the gin is made from distillation of botanicals separately. The gin starts with spirit made from wheat sourced from Innisfail. Then, juniper berries are macerated into a spirit and distilled into a juniper spirit. Then, this is blended with a spirit distilled through a vapour basket which includes chamomile, bird’s eye chili, ginger, and grapefruit.

How often do you see pepper as a gin botanical? Not very often. I asked the distillery why. The answer is worth reproducing in full:

Honestly, we wanted to perfect Gin to make the perfect Negroni. We absolutely love amari and the Negroni (in all of its various forms), so we wanted to make a product that pairs best with the one and only Campari. We always enjoyed a bit of spice and heat, and figured it would be a nice balance with your average vermouth...and especially with the punchy grapefruit that the Gin's flavour is predominated by.“.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: 019

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

  • Bottling Code: N/A

The nose has a rich citrus aroma, but, unlike most gins which are primarily lemon or, on occasion, orange – this one is grapefruit through and through. Further, you often get peppery notes – from black pepper or cubeb – in this case, indeed, you get them, but they are in the form of red chillis and ginger. It’s terrific on the nose. Behind that, there are citrusy, woody, spicy, and slightly sweet notes.

On the palate, the gin is generous in citrus and spice notes, and the chilli gives a touch of a bite which is terrific. It starts with citrus, and ends with citrus – with the finish being spicy (both from a dried spice and chilli spice perspective), slightly drying, and sweetly floral. The chamomile really hits me at the end.

What a terrific example of a contemporary gin! All the essential elements are there, but they are presented in surprising ways that work really well together. I really love spirits that intrigue me, and this one certainly does.

Oh, and yes - this is indeed one of the best gins for negronis.

Assessment: Very Highly Recommended.