"Gin tastes like drinking a Christmas tree," some people say. If you like the taste of gin, just imagine if the distiller made it from actual Christmas trees.
That's actually what's going on here with the St. George Terroir, another product from those goofy booze wizards from Alameda, California who in my mind can do no wrong. The Terroir is a celebration of California plants and botanicals, including bay laurel, sage, and—of course—Douglas fir. So from the botanical aspect, this is definitely not subtle, and it's pretty uncompromising in terms of the tastes it offers up.
That's St. George for you, though: very little they do is meant to be on the beaten path and appeal to the mass market. This might be bar none the biggest gin I've had in my life. There's a lot that compliments the core juniper flavor of gin, and very little that's out of place. Simply put, the bay leaves, the fir, and the sage all work together to produce something delightful.
Also note that each of these flavors are extremely evident on the nose and in the glass. It's rare that my own tasting notes are nearly one-for-one with the company's own description, but this is one of those unique products where you don't need to try to tease out the flavors. In a clear liquor, that's even more impressive. However, there's also a very pleasant and unexpected degree of natural sweetness that keeps this from tasting like a science experiment. It is startlingly drinkable, and nothing tastes like this.
All that said, I should mention that the uniqueness of the gin is a double-edged sword, and the rating at the bottom comes with a caveat: you can't dump this into everything. All of those mega plant-heavy botanicals take on a life of their own, and they need to be the star of the show if you're going to enjoy this as much as I do.
This is not a mixer. It works superbly in a spirit-heavy gin and tonic. St. George also recommends making a Tom Collins with it (I haven't had the chance yet). However, it's also superb poured straight into a glass, where the flavor can be fully appreciated. You could probably enjoy this on the rocks, too—the aroma is so intense that you'll be able to smell it even if the gin is extremely chilled.
That said, it's going to walk all over any citrus or fruit-heavy recipe that might call for liqueurs, bitters, or anything else to carry the flavor. Even the most aromatic sort of Vermouth is going to be pinned down in a half-nelson while the Terroir takes its lunch money. Again: just drink this neat or over ice if you were considering a martini.
If you're looking for a cheap, agreeable gin that works well in a variety of applications, this is not it. Brokers, The Botanist, Hendrick's, or Tanqueray 10 would all be far better options to work with.
So in the end, the Terroir is a gin not just for people who consider themselves gin drinkers, but adventurous gin drinkers at that. But that's me, and that's why I love this stuff.