Review: St. Laurent Gin Citrus / by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Distillerie du St. Laurent

Image courtesy of Distillerie du St. Laurent

Base spirit with botanicals
Distiller Distillerie du St. Laurent (Rimouski, QC)

In a traditional still, ethanol evaporates at 78 degrees celsius. This means, obviously, that the distiller’s beer needs to be heated above this figure, which can burn or denature very delicate aromas. One path around this is to use a vacuum still, which reduces pressure above the distillers beer and results in the evaporation of ethanol at only 30 degrees! This preserves the most delicate aromas. A simple illustrative example is to compare mint boiled in water to mint infused in room temperature water.

The vacuum distillation technique is applied here. First, exotic citrus (kumquat, yuzu, persian lime, buddha’s hand, and sansho pepper) are macerated in a sealed tank full of citrus spirit along with sansho pepper, spearmint, basil, and orris root. This mixture is vacuum distilled before being blended with a traditional base gin that has juniper, coriander, and lemon in it.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: 0034

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

This gin is so rich, and so fresh - I’ve never seen citrus so bright in a gin before. It’s like I’ve just squeezed the oils from an orange peel over my gin. We have a rich zesty character - orange peel, lemon, and lime – but also some spicy and woody pepper. Gin citrus is a perfect name for this.

On the palate, the citrus still comes through front and center – it is just so jam-packed with citrus peel. But, beyond that, we do have nice juniper and coriander. The finish, unsurprisingly, is citrus heavy, but it is very balanced with juniper, baking spices, and pepper.

One of my favourite gins of the year, indeed, one of my favourite Canadian gins. It’s remarkable to get citrus tasting so vibrant and fresh.