I rarely start a gin review by having to reveal my ignorance on the finer points of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle (or more correctly Der Ring des Nibelungen), but today I need to make an exception. You see today’s handcrafted artisanal gin is a German gin named after the Germanic God/Hero of Wagner’s Ring Cycle: Siegfried and I need to be bluff your way through the myth of Siegfried to give you the full back-story for this gin. Siegfried, in the Ring Cycle, kills the Giant Fafner, who, after killing his own brother Fasolt, had transformed himself into a dragon. Siegfried thus get the eponymous Ring from Fafner and bathes in the dragon’s blood to gain immortality. The problem, as Achilles could have warned him, is that he didn’t get completely soaked. A leaf from the Linden tree (commonly called a Lime tree in Britain) fell on Siegfried’s shoulder and thus made him vulnerable. As a result Hagan, the son of the Dwarf Alberich, can kill Siegfried. Phew.
This is an incredibly long and complex way of explaining that the signature botanical for this gin is the linden flower. The gin is made by the Rheinland Distillers up in Bonn, the former West German capital in the Rhineland district of Germany. Let’s get on to the gin.
As you have gathered the signature botanical are the Linden flowers. The bottle discretely mentions that a total of 18 botanicals are used but neither the bottle or the website name them. The only hints come from the website tasting notes which highlight the “thyme , cardamom and juniper” nose, whilst the taste introduces “notes of ginger, angelica root”.
Before I jump into my tasting notes I should add that the Siegfried Gin is winner of quite a few awards, some of which are mentioned on both the bottle and the website. Now awards can be a bit of a hit and miss affair, after all I’ve even written up my own “Best Value Gin in Germany 2017 Awards“. However in 2017, the influential “The Spirits Business” trade publication did give Siegfried Gin one of only six “Master” awards within the “Super Premium” Category. That’s quite an achievement.
But where does the Siegfried Gin fit in the Pantheon of Gin Gods ?
What does it smell of ? A mossy forest, with a slight hint of something floral.
What does it taste of ? Firstly I should say it comes across as a very smooth gin, if nothing else the distillers know how to make their gin. Taste-wise, the predominant taste is bitter, in a good way. This combines with the overall forest/herbal theme of this gin. There isn’t a strong Juniper taste, rather the more aromatic Angelica Root and as the distiller’s notes say a “freshness of lavender”. In a G&T it works well and is strong enough to give the characteristic bitterness. I would suggest garnishing with Lime rather than Lemon to keep the bitter theme going.
Overall ? 4 out of 5 I’ve been struggling here between giving it 4 or 5 out of 5. On the one hand it makes an excellent bitter Gin and Tonic, which is something I love. However it doesn’t, for me, stand up to the 5 star competition, for example the Monkey 47 or the Tanqueray 10. In addition at €30 for a half litre bottle it needs to be something special that I’m just not finding.
Anyway it’s certainly worth trying. Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.