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Handcrafted in small batch copper-pot stills, Empress 1908 Gin is a collaboration between Victoria Distillers and the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. Since 1908, travellers from around the world have fallen in love with the Fairmont Empress Hotel for its majestic grandeur, picturesque vistas, and incomparable afternoon tea service. Overlooking the Inner Harbour in Victoria, British Columbia, this iconic destination has hosted royalty, dignitaries, and discerning explorers for over a century. Today, as the Empress moves into a new era, it exemplifies a perfect blend of traditional elegance and modern sophistication. Victoria Distillers is one of the oldest artisan distilleries in Canada. Established in 2008, Victoria Distillers collaborates with talented mixologists to create both classic and innovative cocktail spirits, using the world’s best-tasting water and the finest ingredients from around the world.
In addition to the classic gin botanicals of juniper, coriander seed, and rose petal, we also added unique twists to the Empress 1908 recipe. Instead of traditional lemon, we use grapefruit peel for its aromatic and lively bright note. Ginger root imparts a unique peppery/citrus note, and cinnamon bark offers an unusually warm, spicy note. Our eighth and final botanical is perhaps the most unusual of all: exotic butterfly pea blossom. This blossom balances the traditional citrus notes of gin with a warm herbal earthiness and imparts a deep indigo colour that changes to bright lavender, soft pink, or fuchsia depending on the mixer. Mixologists have found the extraordinary flavour, remarkable mixability, and dramatic visual properties of Empress 1908 offers bold new ways to create exquisite cocktails.
We chose this flower for its warm, herbal earthiness, and the softness it contributes to the texture. It plays a flavour role similar to that of angelica in other gins. This botanical is also responsible for the gin’s unique colour.
The signature tea at the Empress Hotel, this blend is a selection of seasonal, quality teas from Assam, Kenya, South India, Ceylon, and China, created exclusively by the Metropolitan Tea Company. At once floral, fruity and oaky, it is one of the finest blends in the world.
The classic taste found in most gins, Juniper provides a complex flavour with notes of pine and citrus. And while London Dry Gins like a big juniper burst, our Pacific Northwest style gin uses a subtle varietal that isn’t too pushy, and balances nicely with the other less traditional botanicals. Another traditional gin botanical, coriander has hints of nut and spice that brings some warmth to the palette. Ours is sourced from India and is a bit more citrusy than what is typically used in gin, and plays off other citrus elements to round out the flavour.
While lemon and orange are fairly traditional gin botanicals, we prefer grapefruit for its unique citrus flavour that’s both slightly bitter and suggestively sweet. It provides an aromatic, lively bright note that pairs very well with tonic. The sweet flavour of rose contributes to the softness and warmth of our gin, providing a nuance that balances out the spices with an elegant floral note. We use whole rosebud from India.
A more contemporary element, the essential oil from cinnamon bark provides a warm, spicy note that serves as a complement to the citrus and floral elements, and works with the ginger to provide a full spice element. Ginger is incredibly aromatic, with a peppery, slightly lemony flavour. Fragrant and spicy, ginger is another component in the balancing act of botanicals that gives Empress its unique profile.
WARNING: Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects.
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