Sacre Bleu Rodders, the French make gin!
The grumpy patriot in me wanted to dismiss this offering from the Craft Gin Club as “Quasi-ineffective” when served with ice and tonic – but in fact this CGC special from the CVT Distillerie in Provence turned out to be an absolute delight. And we even ate the Snail and Garlic crisps supplied along with other nibbles and mixers in April’s pack.
One minor word of complaint concerns the bottle which – rather than taking a good chunky Anglo-Saxon shape – is styled like a perfume bottle, in frosted glass with gold tracery flowing around its nether regions. And must be so thick-walled that we returned it to the fridge empty, believing there must still be several measures left from the 70cl contents. And that’s the point really: we were properly blue when it was all gone.
Though this 40% distillation was commissioned by the club, the married couple behind the brand are in a good position to supply us “Roast Beefs” with plenty of their regular dry gin, carrying on their not so bijou business using a 600 litre still.
Having spotted a gap in the market for gin and vodka during a holiday to the region, Justin and Anna Matterson asked Christian CARL in Germany to fashion a 600 litre copper and stainless steel still, having honed their distilling skills in both the USA and Europe over a five year period. The name they chose is local, but cryptic: with QVT being shorthand for quatre vingt trois – or 83 – in reference to the Department number for the area of Cotignac.
The Craft Gin Club’s ‘teaser’ for their Cross-Channel challenger read: “This remarkable tipple has piney notes of juniper on the nose and palette, accompanied by delicate floral tones, herbaceous flavours and fresh bursts of citrus. The finish is an elegant long-lasting bouquet of Provencal aromas.”
We’re not told the botanicals used though lavender is pictured on the website, and as well as the Juniper and a good waft of pine, rosemary comes through in a fullish though refined flavour. Our friends at Masters of Malt consider there is coriander in the mix, which I’d agree with, while rose apparently adds to the floral dimensions. And on a couple of occasions, drinking QVT with a neutral tonic, I thought there were hints of aniseed in a playful Pernod-esque fashion.
Finally CGC provided a Cinzano miniature along with a garnish of rosebuds to make a stylish cocktail that would have been far too tame for Pina Colada loving Del Boy.