In 2017, a team of Singaporeans decided to build their own distillery and they’ve since made quite a name for themselves in the local spirits scene. Their point of difference was to focus on the herbs and spices available in the South East Asian region, and incorporate them into the blends — and this has led up to 2020’s new releases: six new gins and one vodka just in time for the Christmas season. The bottles are gorgeous in shape and design (even though there’s a typo on the Lime one), and are reasonably priced at $69.90 for a full-sized 750ml bottle. Each of the gins are — as expected — inspired by South East Asia, and are really quite self-explanatory if you look at their names. Here they are (plus the one vodka), and our tasting notes.
*These are our own personal views and do not constitute fact or any endorsement by Singapore Distillery or their supporting agency.
Description on bottle: “Distilled & Vapour Infused with Fresh Japanese Cucumbers, Sakura Cherry Blossoms, Juniper, and other Botanicals.”
Our impression: A spicy and fresh tasting gin that’s very clean on the palate. Goes down warm in the stomach. I can imagine this being a best-seller because it has a universally-appealing and light flavour.
SINGAPORE SLING GIN
Description on bottle: “Distilled & Vapour Infused with Pineapples, Oranges, Cherries, Juniper and all ingredients needed for a perfect Singapore Sling.”
Our impression: Bitter, fruity notes. Also spicy. Will certainly appeal to fans of the famous cocktail and tourists.
COCONUT PANDAN GIN
Description on bottle: “Distilled & Vapour Infused with Coconut Hearts and Pandan Leaves.”
Our impression: Very coconutty and with a lingering pandan taste. It was a shocking flavour, which I instantly disliked, but after it settled, it grew on me. Best drunk on its own without any mixes because of its strong, independent flavour. If you don’t like coconut in general, needless to say, avoid this one.
Description on bottle: “Distilled & Vapour Infused in traditional Onion Head Copper Stills.”
Our impression: The “cleanest” taste of all the gin flavours and my personal favourite. It’s dry as the wordings on the bottle imply and I imagine would make a good mixer for cocktails, like a grape martini. I shall try that tonight.
STOLEN ROSES GIN
Description on bottle: “A gin overflowing with the aroma and flavour of a dozen roses. Distilled with Red Rose Petals, Juniper, and other exotic botanicals.”
Our impression: The sweetest of the lot, with a rose flavour that isn’t too overpowering or cloying. Recommended neat over ice so it’s nicely chilled and slightly watered down, and for those with a sweet tooth.
LIME GARDEN GIN
Description on bottle: “Distilled with a trio of South East Asian Limes, Limau Kasturi, Limau Nipis, & Limau Purut and other botanicals for an exceedingly refreshing gin.”
Our impression: The lime taste reminds me of dishwashing liquid, so this is my least favourite of all the gins. Apart from my personal dislike of the flavour, it is easy to drink and goes down smoother and far less sharp than the rest of the gins here.
Our impression: Fairly tasteless and clean as all good vodkas should be, and without that sharp “alcohol” hit. But still sharper than Belvedere Vodka and spicier on the tongue, but decent for its price and the delightful bottle design. Will make a great gift for tourists (when they eventually come back).
Gin, $69.90 each (750ml), available at singaporedistillery.com. Also available, a SAMPLE SET of each of the 6 gin flavours (50ml each) for $39.90.
The MERLION VODKA is priced at $49.90.