If you're reading this, it's likely that you no longer look askance at a slug of gin on its own. If a double-barreled salvo of juniper is no longer a deterrent to your enjoyment, welcome to the next level.
Gin Mare is one of those gins for people who like gin. What allows it to win my personal admiration is that it's not only full-flavored, but distinctive. In a blind pour of this and any three other gins, I guarantee you'll be able to pick this one out. I credit that to the botanical blend for Gin Mare, which is as esoteric as it is delicious: the four prominent ingredients, besides juniper, are rosemary, thyme, basil, and olives.
Yep, you heard me right: olives. This allows Gin Mare to become, essentially, a dirty martini in a bottle. But a well-made dirty martini, mind you! The spirit itself is pleasingly, deliciously salty, but its supporting cast of flavors each reveal themselves over the course of the taste experience. Gin Mare arrives with a bit of sweetness and basil. As it mellows out, there's a burst of rosemary and thyme, followed by the juniper carrying up the rear. And the whole time, it feels like you're chewing on the wonderful umami-richness of a fancy Kalamata olive.
Let's pause on how wonderful this is for just a moment. There are great gins that know what the London Dry drinkers want and double down on the juniper. There are superb "New American" style gins that amp up the citrus and brightness. There are excellent gins that combine unconventional botanicals in such a way that they become more than the sum of their parts. However, Gin Mare is unique to me in that it goes all out on being savory.
As with a lot of these extremely big gins, I'd say they're best tasted on their own. Which, unfortunately, eliminates a significant amount of the spirit-drinking populace that can't abide drinking gin straight up. The saltiness of Gin Mare makes it overkill for a dirty martini (or even a martini in general, since it's got aromatics and herbs to spare), and it won't play nice with cocktails that combine gin with fruit. There, Nolet's or Broker's are much better choices.
However, I think that Gin Mare would probably work (fittingly) in a Spanish gin and tonic, which uses lemon in place of lime and adds in a generous branch of rosemary to be muddled in and used as a stirring implement. In such an application, you're complimenting the already generous lemon and rosemary inherent in the spirit itself.
If you're new to gin, would I say this is the first bottle you should rush out and purchase? Probably not: there are other more reserved choices that I think are a little more accommodating to a new palate (but, are equally as good). That said, there's a lot of people out there who start off liking their hair pulled a little bit when they're fooling around. Then, a few years later in a David Byrne kind of moment, they get hit with a riding crop in the middle of a dungeon and wonder, "How did I get here?" If that analogy sounds like your relationship with gin, then where Gin Mare is concerned, I'd say take the ride.