Violette Gin, Distillerie Mariana, Quebec, Canada (Alcohol 45%) LCBO $47 (750ml bottle)

Whilst I not really a full-on spirits guy (my wife says it would be downright dangerous if I was), over the decades I have developed a particular soft spot for the beverage formerly known as “mother’s ruin”.

I think it stems back to my days in the UK when, for a few years, I fancied myself as a gin-sodden old luvvie, not that I was by any means a thesp myself, far from it, but I did have a predilection for hanging around in theatre and cinema bars, trying to look every bit the sophisticate by reading books of poetry… and drinking gin. Lots of it. And if the truth be told, if I had actually developed rhinophyma gin blossoms I would have been a dead ringer for a young Dylan Thomas.

Having previously interviewed one of the nice fellows behind Distillerie Mariana many years ago, I was over the moon to crack open their Violette bottling, especially as one of my favoured aromatics, often in wines, is that of violets.

The aromatics on this are simply divine, and comfortingly reminiscent of my late Scottish grandmother; not that she reeked of gin, but faintly of violets, you understand. I need to get that straight; I remember fondly that she smelled lovely.

When it comes to those violets, I don’t find this gin in any way soapy-floral. There’s a remarkably clean and pure floral profile that is utterly enchanting, making other exotic botanical gins appear rather lead-footed in comparison. It’s a veritable prima ballerina as it dances on the tongue, flight of foot, with a delightfully elegant silky texture, and a delicately lingering persistence.

I enjoyed this with good old fashioned tonic water and a slice of lemon, as I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to gin; but I dare say that combining this with one of the fancier tonics would almost be gilding the lilies, as Violette’s aromatics and flavour are pretty complete as they stand. I love this stuff.

4.5 apples out of 5
(Four and a half apples out of a possible five)

Distillerie Mariana are represented in Ontario by Noble Estates.

Noble Estates are a Good Food Fighter.

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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And that bottle disappeared rather rapidly… Whoops.