Intriguing, Odd, Yellow
Style: contemporary compound
UNGAVA CANADIAN PREMIUM GIN ORIGINATES IN THE NORTHERN FRONTIER WHERE THE VAST CANADIAN TUNDRA MEETS THE ICY SEAS
This Canadian gin has been making waves in these icy seas, both for its controversial use of Inuit imagery and for winning awards: a silver in the World Gin Awards 2015 and Best Compound Gin WGA 2016 among many others.
The first thing you notice about Ungava gin is its colour. Well ~ it’s yellow. It stands out neon bright on any gin shelf with its big broad shoulders making its presence felt, saying look at me, look at me. And at 43.1% ABV, it’s no lightweight in the alcohol department either.
Key to the aroma and flavour of this gin are the six rare botanicals from the Ungava region in the Canadian tundra picked during the brief summer: Nordic juniper, Arctic Blend, Labrador Tea, crowberry, cloudberry and wild rose hip which are then infused into their base spirit distilled from corn.
Rosehips are familiar to most people. Their sweet-tartness lends itself to rose hip syrup rich in vitamin c and shoved down the throats of many a child. But the other botanicals?
Cloudberries and crowberries lend a jammy tartness to the gin. While the Labrador Tea and Arctic Blend are both members of the same plant family Ericaceae and the flowers and leaves are used to give a herbal dimension to the gin.
You would be forgiven for expecting the aroma to be pure sickly sweet fizzy pop given the colour. But juniper is right up there, soft and subtle, accompanied by a sweet grassy fragrance.
The juniper comes through at the front crisp and clean. For a not too shabby 43.1% ABV it punches below its weight. The mouthfeel is light but with a sweet-tart edge. The sweet grassy nose follows through on the palate, herbal with a slight spiciness.
The unusual botanicals make it hard to describe this gin. The flavours are different and other than juniper difficult to pick out. Citrus is very much in the background, if at all, with juniper there again at the finish which is medium and leaves you wanting more of this singular gin.
Its quirkiness works very well in a Negroni. It seems to be able to stand up to the bitter Campari in ways that softer gins can’t.
I tried Ungava gin in a gin and tonic with Fever-Tree aromatic tonic and a veritable fruit bowl of grapefruit, blood orange (a favourite of mine), strawberry, raspberry, lemon, lime and a sprig of mint just because. Over the top? Yes. Surprisingly it was delicious.
I think there are lots more ways to drink this gin and if you want to try this intriguing gin check it out here. You won’t be disappointed.