I first came across Sylvius Dry Gin at Distillnation’s stand at the Imbibe Bar Show; I saw them again at the Boutique Bar Show.
Sylvius – On its own
Nose: Malty, with some bread-like notes, a little sweetness and then anise and fennel.
Taste: This has a good texture: it’s quite silky, with spicy notes upfront: fennel, anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg. These are followed by citrus oil notes and then piney juniper, before a good, long finish. I think this has a lot of mixing potential; it’s like a cross between a gin and a genever, which is all the rage ini the US at the moment.
Sylvius Gin & Tonic
An enticing and spicy nose, with plenty of green, herbal notes coming through such as fennel, anise and liquorice, as well as the underlying base. This intensity and complexity follow through to the taste and, although it starts off a little sweet, it has a long, dry finish. The distillers suggest using sweet fruit as a garnish, but, to my mind, it works perfectly with just ice.
This is a Martini that’s thick in texture; the taste is rather herbal, with some great fennel notes and a character reminiscent of freshly baked herbal loaves. It’s certainly unusual, but lovely and rousing to the appetite. No garnish needed.
This has a good flavour: it’s quite soft and well-rounded, with plenty of anise and fennel coming through and then some malty notes, too. The finish is quite juicy, with plenty of citrus and herbal notes; very tasty.
Sylvius Old Fashioned
I made this using sugar water bitters, mixing until the sugar dissolved, adding the gin and ice, stir and strain into a chilled old fashioned.
The result is a rose-gold coloured drink with plenty of spice and not too sweet, the malty notes of the gin comes through as do the bright citrus flavours. My suggested garnish would be a twist of fresh orange and discard the peel. Lovely, sophisticated and a rival to the whisk(e)y version.
The drink is improved further if you used brown sugar and an angostura bark-flavoured bitters, such as one from Van Wees or Tempus Fugit’s Abbott’s.
Overall, I like Sylvius Gin: it picks up on that trend for a few more malty/bready/whisky notes in gin, which isn’t surprising, given the distillery’s genever basis. This makes it quite versatile with cocktails, making it a candidate for use in any that are typically made using either gin or whisky. My favourite cocktail was the Martini, although the Negroni and the Old Fashioned were both very good, too.