Distilled by Decanter
Decanter|February 2021
A new guide to the latest trends in spirits and cocktails.
Julie Sheppard

Gin gets the Sauternes treatment

Devon distillery Salcombe has partnered with premier cru Château Climens to make a limited-edition gin finished in Sauternes casks. Salcombe Gin Phantom (Alc 46%) spent eight months in barrels from Château Climens’ 2015 and 2016 vintages.

‘This is the sixth release in our Voyager Series,’ said Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Company. ‘Each one is developed in collaboration with either a world-renowned chef or an iconic winery.’

The French oak casks were hand-selected by Lugsdin and Frédéric Nivelle, Climens’ head winemaker, ‘to try to mimic some of the aromas and flavours of a Sauternes wine’, said Lugsdin. ‘It’s got a recognisable gin profile, but also some of the softer, more nuanced notes that you find in Château Climens wines.’

Bérénice Lurton, owner of Climens, added: ‘I wasn’t a gin drinker at all. But when I discovered the gins that Angus was doing, I was hooked. It was fascinating; like making perfume.’

Named after one of the historic Salcombe fruit schooners, Phantom also contains a selection of botanicals from the biodynamic Château Climens estate in Barsac, including rose petals, nettles and marigolds.

The result? A sippable spirit that shares the fresh citrus profile of Salcombe’s core Start Point Gin, but is more lifted and elegant, with subtle, perfumed, floral aromas. The smooth palate has notes of fresh apricot and orange blossom, and herbal freshness balanced by honeyed sweetness. Pair it with tonic for a floral, poised G&T with a sweetly lingering finish. Only 3,500 bottles made. £75/50cl, Master of Malt, Salcombe Gin, Slurp

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A classic mix of Cognac, lemon juice and triple sec, the exact origins of the Sidecar are unknown. It first appeared in the book Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails by bartender Harry MacElhone, published in 1919. MacElhone credited the recipe to Pat McGarry of the Buck’s Club in London.

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