Citadelle Jardin d’été

Citadelle Jardin d’été (Photo by the brand)

A Good Gin?

I found a gin I like. There. I said it! How is it possible, you ask, that a committed whiskey man like myself could possibly taste, much less enjoy, that hooch, that three-letter word, that medicinal moonshine that so many true martini devotees adore? Well, to all you dubious doubters out there, I say, WOOT, WOOT!

Since the days of my youth, gin has been an anathema to me. Perhaps it stems from my teenage indiscretion, which informed me to drink a wee bit too much gin (or maybe it was the fact that I mixed it with vodka, rum, bourbon, scotch, and red wine – yes, that was me), causing it all to come back up. Or, was it the time I took a dare and chugged down a room-temperature glass full of the stuff? Whichever it was, there were two undeniable results: It’s a wonder I survived to adulthood, and perhaps more importantly, I learned to hate gin!


My first foray back into the stuff occurred during the pandemic when I received a sample of the Japanese elixir 135 East gin (see the link). It was good, and it opened my mind to the possibility that my old prejudices may be ready for the ash pile. Fast forward to June 2023, when I sampled Maison Ferrand’s Citadelle “Gin De France,” Jardin d’Été. I approached it with a scientific and possibly morbid curiosity to see if I had indeed changed, mellowed, and matured in my dotage. Well, color me impressed!

Tasting Notes

Like most gin, Jardin d’Été pours a crystal clear in the glass, replete with the expected medicinal aromas I’ve always associated with the product. But there was more. Like fresh-cut citrus, a crisp freshness wafted as an overlay to the gin – one that I soon learned is the heart of this delightfully light and refreshing spirit. Now, I’ve tasted yuzu before, although it’s been years, and Ciatdelle has concocted a way to capture the yuzu essence and manifest it in their bottle.

The usual array of botanicals was evident in the sample, served neat in my Glencairn tasting glass (yes, I know, blasphemy). Still, it was the perfect vessel for delivering the complex aromas of juniper, ripe casaba, crushed cilantro leaves, ripe bell pepper, licorice, and flower shop. Above all, however, and as many have described it, it’s a citrus bomb!

It’s round and rich on the tongue, with an oily sensation that explodes with citrus, especially tart orange and lemon zest. It’s obviously gin but fruity and fresh, with citrus forward over notes that dominate. Mid-swallow, the botanicals kick in, with a bit of white pepper, red pepper juice, and savory spice leading the swallow.

The swallow reveals spearmint notes along with a resurgence of the ripe melon. The finish is long and spicy but equally crisp and refreshing, followed by echoes of black licorice bites, mown grass, and orchids.


I knew this gin would make a great cocktail, so I started experimenting… with just ice. Spectacular! I then made a Twisted Screwdriver with freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice and muddled mint leaves. Wow! And to be contrarian to what I’d read, I tried it in a traditional martini with a good dollop of dry vermouth. Well, that was a bridge too far! I finished by adding it to a shot of cranberry juice, and it was spectacular. After all that, though, my ultimate preference was just the gin in a glass of ice. Cold, crisp, and refreshing!

Maison Ferrand makes a wide array of gin, and based on my experience with Jardin, I’m looking forward to sampling some of their other offerings. Do I think I’m converted from whiskey to gin? Nope. Never. But this beautiful boutique gin has undeniably opened my mind to trying new things. It’s unquestionably one of the best spirits I’ve tried this year, and I will definitely buy a bottle once I finish this one. I was pleasantly surprised and highly recommend it, even if you don’t like gin!