One thing we’re always on the hunt for when selecting gins at Gin Lane is complexity. Obviously it’s pretty easy for complexity to assault your senses, if it doesn’t also have balance. Throwing a bunch of botanicals together in a mix is easy (trust us we’ve done it), but to balance that complexity of flavour into a cohesive mix is a challenge. Frankly it’s why some people should be distillers and the rest of us should just enjoy the (literal in this case!) fruits of their labour!
It was a delight for us to land a sample of Clarity Gin from Imbibis, smell that wonderful aroma and then sip our first taste. This is without a doubt, a complex, and beautifully made gin.
Before we get into the tasting specifics, let’s talk about how Clarity is made. Jason at Imbibis produces his own base spirit. We’ve talked about this before and it’s no easy feat. In Jason’s case, this means starting with a shiraz grape base. While true neutral spirit would be distilled to above 95-06% ABV, Jason stops at 90% to maintain the texture of the grape spirit.
This is a feature of Clarity Gin which we really love. The viscosity of the gin as a result of this processing technique is lovely. Of course this means there’s still some flavour to the spirit, which needs to be worked into the overall flavour profile. And Jason excelled in doing this.
In addition to the grape spirit, Jason features 16 botanicals in Clarity. Sourcing standards for the botanicals are important to Jason, with 12 of these being certified organic and the other 4 locally sourced in S.E. Qld where Imbibis is based.
The full botanical mix is juniper, coriander seed, lemon peel, orange peel, cinnamon, cassia bark, angelica root, turmeric, lavender flower, orris root, star anise, clove bud, galangal, lemon myrtle, callistemon flower.
While we’re familiar with many of these botanicals, a couple are new to us in gin, so we had Jason take us through them and what they bring to the mix.
The combination of cinnamon and cassia bring some spice and a little bit of heat to the table. Home grown and fresh picked lemon myrtle provides some fresh citrus lift, while lavender flower gives Clarity a floral lift, without overpowering the mix.
Callistemon flower and bottle brush complement the juniper with added piney and woody notes.
Galangal and turmeric (root spices) combine to give a more aromatic, floral ginger note with less of the heat regular ginger would provide. Some slight earthiness comes through this combination also.
The recipe is rounded out with the spice mix of star anise, clove bud cinnamon and nutmeg for that lengthy spicy finish.
Overall we love the pleasantly sweet, floral and juniper forward smell of this gin. On the palate it’s again got the juniper we demand, combined and rounded out with spice, sweetness, citrus and a little warming heat.
It’s finished with a really lovely lingering spice which will stay with you long after the gin goes down.
Any of these flavours could have proved too dominant if not handled with skill and care. It’s a credit to Jason’s work that he’s balanced all of these flavours together in a rich, complex gin.
In terms of enjoying this gin in a drink, we recommend Long Rays tonic water for your G&T. Locally developed in S.E. Qld it’s going to complement Clarity far better, as it was developed with a grape based gin in mind. Fever-Tree Mediterranean will also work if you can’t locate Long Rays.
Some of the delicate notes would be easily dominated by a garnish so we’re going to recommend you hold the garnish for Clarity this month.
On the cocktail front, we’re taken with the idea of an Imbibis White Lady. This citrusy cocktail will be just the thing as the seasons change and spring is in the air!
Imbibis White Lady
30ml Imbibis Clarity Gin
25ml triple sec
25ml lemon juice
15ml simple syrup
15ml egg white (option to replace with aquafaba)
Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into one half of shaker and discard ice.
Dry shake for 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.