Tasting Notes – Spirits Edition: Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin

jaisalmerMojitoX1000For this edition of Tasting Notes, we stay in the realm of spirits but take a turn toward the exotic with a look at Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin from Radico Khaitan (Rampur, India).

Named after the “historic city of Jaisalmer (pronounced “jess-all-mur), the ‘Golden City’, located in the Northwest of India in the state of Rajasthan”, Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin is a triple-distilled, small batch spirit that is hand-crafted in “a traditional copper pot still” by Master Distiller Anup Barik at Radico Khaitan – formerly known as Rampur Distillery, one of India’s oldest distilleries. With its development based in “the ancient Indian knowledge of herbs”, Jaisalmer is made from a recipe that sources seven of its eleven botanicals from India: Coriander and Vetiver from Jaisalmer itself; Sweet Orange Peel from Central India; Cubeb Berries and Lemongrass from Southern India; Darjeeling Green Tea from Eastern India; and Lemon Peel from Western India.  Rounded off with Angelica Root, Licorice, Caraway Seeds and Juniper Berries, Jaisalmer India Craft Gin (43% ABV/86 proof) is a complex offering that retains “the classic gin flavor using juniper berries whilst adding a refreshing twist with Indian botanicals.”

750ml bottles of Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin are available in the U.S. now for the suggested retail price of $50 each.  This small batch craft spirit can be found at select liquor retailers located throughout the country or you can purchase it online at The Whisky Exchange.

Now that we have properly gone over the story behind Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin, let’s get into this bottle, pour up a few tasting glasses and even mix up a summer-appropriate cocktail for some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin from Radico Khaitan

Appearance: Presented in an eye-catching, frosted black bottle with gold and bright blue accents, Jaisalmer is pristine in clarity and shows no sign of even the slightest tint or hue of color.  When swirled in the glass, the gin holds the sides for a moment before dropping in a quick-moving cascade of thin legs. There is not much to report in this arena (it is a clear spirit after all), but all is as it should be.

Aroma: The aromatics open with that classic gin presence of piney juniper and citrusy coriander.  Fresh lemon, lime and orange peel follow the coriander’s lead to establish a strong citrus presence that is both sweet and tart.  The profile closes softly with gentle earthy and grassy notes accompanied by a light pepper quality from the vetiver.

Taste: The citrusy notes take point here with pronounced notes of lemon zest/peel, lime juice, candied orange peel and sweet orange juice.  Tones of lemongrass, ginger and mint then surface to complement and further enhance the gin’s citrus character.  The more traditional notes of pine and juniper finally push forward just as the experience closes with a floral/earthy/medicinal character provided by the green tea leaves, Angelica root and licorice.

Mouthfeel: Lightly slick on the palate, Jaisalmer hits with a bright flourish and then dries out almost immediately.  Although it is mostly fruity and sweet on the palate, the overall experience finds a nice balance thanks to its piney, earthy and medicinal notes.  The 43% ABV provided only the faintest hint of heat, leaving this spirit incredibly smooth.  The finish leaves behind notes of sweet citrus, lemongrass and green tea.

Final Thoughts:  Every aspect of Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin is beautifully nuanced and – in a word – lovely.  We were simply amazed at how each of the eleven featured botanicals were able to make a direct impact on the experience but still find their place in a tight formation so that they can all work together as one seamless whole.  The citrus-forward character of Jaisalmer will make believers out of those who claim they “just are not a gin person” while its exotic ingredients and deep complexity will entice the most avid of gin drinkers.

Although thoroughly impressed by Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin on its own, we were immediately convinced that it would be a brilliant gin for mixed drinks before we even broke out a cocktail shaker.  Since the heat is already getting absolutely out of control here in Tampa, we put Jaisalmer to the cocktail test by mixing up some refreshing Maharaja Mojitos (pictured above on the right; recipe provided by Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin):

The Maharaja Mojito 

  • 50ml Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin
  • 20ml Organic Agave Syrup
  • 15ml Lime Juice
  • 6 Mint Leaves
  • 50ml Bitter Lemon
  • Ice

Fill your glass of choice with ice and pour Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin. Clap the mint leaves and add to the glass. Add fresh lime juice, bitter lemon and agave syrup. Stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy!

Where traditional rum-based mojitos tend to focus on a quenching sweetness accompanied by a fresh breeze of mint, the Maharaja Mojito shifts things a bit as the Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin really accentuates the drink’s lime character while its botanicals lift the mint to all new heights of refreshment.  With that said, mojito traditionalists do not need to fret because the added agave syrup still gives you that satisfying sweetness.  It is an incredibly composed cocktail that will have you coming back for refill after refill.

Whether on its own, served simply as an after-work drink with a splash of tonic and an orange slice or enjoyed poolside in an elaborate cocktail, Jaisalmer Indian Craft Gin proves that it is a damn near perfect spirit.  It has approachability . . . It has complexity . . . It has versatility . . . and it has a place in your liquor cabinet at home and on the shelf at your favorite cocktail bar.  Seriously, do not sleep on this one.  Prost!

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