Premier cru Sauternes producer Château Climens has partnered with Devon-based distillery Salcombe to produce a limited-edition gin finished in Sauternes casks. Salcombe Gin Voyager Series Phantom (Alc 46%) spent eight months in barrels that were used to age the 2015 and 2016 vintages of Château Climens Barsac.
‘This is the sixth release in our Voyager Series, which we introduced in 2018. Each one is developed in collaboration with either a world-renowned chef or an iconic winery,’ said Angus Lugsdin co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Company.
‘As a long-term admirer of Sauternes wines, it was an enormous privilege to work in collaboration with Bérénice Lurton and Frédéric Nivelle of Château Climens. It’s about working with like-minded, passionate individuals to create a product that we can both be proud of,’ continued Lugsdin.
The six French oak casks in which the gin was finished were sustainably sourced from Bertranges forest and hand-selected by Lugsdin and Nivelle, head winemaker at Château Climens, for their sweet perfumed residual aromas that contribute to the distinctive flavour profile of Phantom.
‘The idea was to try to mimic some of the aromas and flavours that you’ll find in a Sauternes wine. It’s still a gin, so it’s still got juniper in there and it’s got a recognisable gin profile, but it’s also got some of the softer more nuanced notes that you find in Bérénice’s wines.’
Speaking at the launch of Phantom, Bérénice Lurton, owner of Climens, explained: ‘I wasn’t a gin drinker at all. But when Angus first visited Climens and explained his idea, we were totally hooked. We both share a deep respect for the history of winemaking and distilling, and a commitment to exceptional craftsmanship. It’s not only finishing the gin in Climens barrels, it’s much more than that.’
In addition to the cask-ageing, a selection of botanicals from the biodynamic Château Climens estate were used to create Phantom, including rose petals, marigold flowers, bay leaf, cypress, nettles and fennel. These were combined with traditional gin botanicals, including Macedonian juniper, orange peel, coriander seed, and orris root, plus with lavender, orange blossom and apricots to replicate the trademark aromas and flavours of Château Climens’ wines.
The result is a gin that shares the fresh citrus profile of Salcombe’s core Start Point Gin, but is more lifted and elegant, with subtle, perfumed floral aromas. The smooth palate is layered with notes of fresh apricot, orange blossom, herbal freshness and honeyed sweetness.
Phantom is certainly a gin that you can sip neat, but if you prefer to pair it with tonic you get a very elegant G&T with floral and delicate honeyed notes, plus a sweetly lingering finish.
Phantom is named after one of the Salcombe fruit schooners built in the port of Salcombe in 1867. These ships were traditionally used to transport fruits, spices and wines.
Salcombe’s previous winery collaborations for the Voyager Series include working with Sherry producer Bodegas Tradición in Jerez and with Port producer Dirk Niepoort to create Guiding Star, a sloe and damson gin finished in colheita casks.
£75/50cl, Master of Malt, www.salcombegin.com