Spirits Review

Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Gin

Let’s not beat around the bush: This gin is blue. But before you slam it as a gimmick, taste it. It’s a precisely formulated beauty, balanced elegantly between the crispness of a London Dry and the botanical exoticism of the New Western style. Made on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, this gin was created specifically for the grandiose Fairmont Empress hotel, one of Victoria’s attractions, whose Victorian high-tea tradition carries into this gin, which incorporates the Empress’s signature tea blend. The blue hue comes from butterfly pea blossoms steeped post-distillation; they also provide a subtle earthy note to ground the juniper and grapefruit high tones. In a G&T, the blue fades into a gentle pink, which somehow contributes to the delight of the drink. Its vibrant color aside, this is one of the tastiest gins of the year.

Reviewed in W&S Winter 2017.