Bargain hunting? Searching for a hidden gem? This column will profile spirits known as “The Bottom Shelf”. Should you take the chance, or run like hell? Keep on reading and find out!
The spirit: Conciere Gin
The price: $9.99 (1 L)
The strength: 40% ABV (80 proof)
Why I bought it: “The same taste as Tanqueray at half the price”. That was what a little sign said on the shelf below. It looked like the store typed it rather than this card being an advertisement or tagline from the distiller itself. The labeling was also of a higher-end design, and in an actual glass bottle. I was intrigued. For the price, I could not go wrong and there was no way it could be any worse than Burnett’s.
The nose: Side by side with Tanqueray, the notes are there but this is indeed weaker. I mean, at the price point, no one can really be surprised. However, the aroma is a pleasant one and understated, which I will take any day of the week over some noxious artificial botanical flavoring.
The taste: And that’s where almost all bottom-shelf gins go wrong: overcompensation. They try to hide their inferiority by pumping the spirit with too many botanicals, too much juniper, and God knows how many artificial additives. However, that is decidedly not the case here with Conciere. This one tastes as it smells. The flavor is unobtrusive. Is this Tanqueray? Of course not, but for a “well spirit” (as their website calls itself), this is a total homerun. It was easy on the palate and never shocking. Floor cleaner this is not.
What to use it for: This made an excellent gin and tonic. It also made a rather decent martini on the rocks (yes, I’ve been trying them lately as to not drink straight alcohol on these hot summer nights out on the patio). I would not use this in a straight martini, but over ice with some good vermouth, I was pleasantly surprised.
Final grade: B+
Comments: American Distilling Co. which produces Conciere Gin (along with vodka, rum, tequila, and multiple kinds of whiskey) has done a great job with this product for the price. While I’m not so sure I would jump on their whiskey wagon, I’d be eager to try the vodka and perhaps white rum for mixing into a sangria. You can tell by the nose and flavor of this gin that this is a company that is knowledgeable and seems to care about their craft, as opposed to most bottom-shelf distilleries that just try to get out as much crap as they can en masse. The fact that this is cheaper than Burnett’s and blows it out of the universe says it all. Keep up the good work.