GSN Review: Scapegrace Black Gin

Scapegrace Black comes from New Zealand’s Scapegrace Distillery founded by brothers-in-law Mark Neal and Daniel McLaughlin in 2014. After years of trial and error, Scapegrace launched Scapegrace Black, a naturally black gin that changes color that sold out in New Zealand in one day. Finally, it is available stateside for the first time.

The key to Scapegrace Black is that it is naturally black, using no artificial colors or flavors – no gimmicks here. The master distiller and founders studied the nature of black and came up with a combination of botanicals, using sweet potato, aronia berry, pineapple, and saffron, as well as Butterfly pea flower sourced from Southeast Asia, to give Scapegrace Black it’s gorgeous noir hue and a flavor profile. The showstopper? When mixed with tonic and/or citrus, Scapegrace Black goes from noir to a light lavender.

“Scapegrace’s color change from black to purple occurs thanks to that butterfly pea flower in our botanical lineup,” says Master Distiller Anthony Lawry. “The petals of this flower contain a pigment called anthocyanin, which causes the color to shift when introduced to acidity like citrus. If you were to place lemon juice in a glass of butterfly pea flower tea, it would morph from deep blue to purple, finally to electric pink. In our case, it goes from jet black to lavender.”

From this small blue flower, a handful of other delicious botanicals, years of hard work, exacting science, the incredible distilling landscape of New Zealand and most importantly a sense of adventure, comes Scapegrace Black, an enchantress in a glass.

GSN’s Remarks: On the nose, there is more fruit than juniper, most prominently, pineapple. The saffron also plays a fairly important role here, and carries over in to the flavor as well. In the glass, yes, it is quite dark which lends a visual mystique. Playing around with different additions of juice, tonic, or syrups leads to a variety of violet tinged hues. But, of course as with any spirit, it is the flavor that matters the most. So, what does a black gin taste like? Exotic, fruity and lighter in botanicals than is customary. It’s somewhat light, slightly chalky, and with a sort of dark flavor akin to burnt sugar. But, these all work in sync to create a totally unique gin that pushes the boundaries of what a gin can be. We like it. GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: Scapegrace Distillery

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