“I’m bringing the party to you,” said my good friend Kia Rasing, who I jokingly call “the hardest working woman in Apotheke Craft Spirits”.
What made the invitation music to my ears – aside from the fact that it was such an Iron Man line from The Avengers 2012 – was that it meant, for the first time in ages, that I did not need to brave the infamous Metro Manila carmageddon to get to an event.
It was held in one of my little hideaway places, deliciously close to my house: Wine Depot Alabang. The evening featured a couple of gins that are new to the Manila market: Distillerie du St. Laurent Gin from Canada and Sorgin Gin de Bordeaux.
Naturally, I had to bring a drinking buddy… And he came in the form of my longtime friend and 2-year neighbor Alex Sawit (former barkeep of Cyrano Wine Selections). The timing was not lost on us, as we usually hang out this time of year to watch and discuss the (now defunct!!!) Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Over discussions on how disappointed we felt over the last two shows, our mutual obsession over the 2014 one, and our perception that Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty shows need a little work, we enjoyed some of the yummiest gins.
Distillerie du St. Laurent was incredible. Winner of the 2016 Canadian Gin Distillery of The Year in the New York International Spirits Competition, it hails from (if I’m getting my Quebecois French right) a “ridiculously small,” pioneering micro-distillery in Quebec. The “ridiculously good” gin is different versus most gins in the market for its use of algue – or seaweed – in distilling the spirit, giving the spirit a pungent smell and a salty, savoury, saline, mildly briny taste. While it does remind me of certain Japanese gins, I personally liked the St. Laurent for its potential in food pairing… I longed for anything that had nori in it during the event (though the astringency of the gin was lovely with the sausages we ate).
The Sorgin Gin de Bordeaux was also incredibly unique – and ended up being my favourite of the night. I liked the very round, intensely floral (violets!) aromas of the gin, with the blackberry flavours on the mouth… These characteristics were brought out by the skilful craftsmanship of Sabine Jaren and François Lurton, both renowned winemakers of Château Bonnet in Entre-Deux-Mers. Fun fact: Sorgin is a Basque term that means “sorcerer,” which is reflected by the witch on the bottle, and… Oh my, what sorcery was that gin? I found myself inhaling it neat, imagining how I could go crazy messing around with it as a G&T… Maybe with a splash of lemon and some blue pea?
Apart from its proximity to our house (10 minutes, baby!), what I like about going to Wine Depot Alabang is the fact that I could pick up something on my way out. The Whisky Advent Calendar is a gift I’d give to myself (or a fellow whisky-phile… Hi kuya!), and since I’m in a Chardonnay mood, I bought myself an Errazuriz Estate Series Chardonnay (bang for my buck at less than PHP700).
Looking forward to the next one, preferably with more wines and spirits aficionados from the neighbourhood. Cheers!