While you may not be familiar with the Nolet’s name, you are probably very familiar with their major product, Ketel One Vodka. The Nolet’s distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands pumps out massive volumes of the popular vodka (millions of cases a year). Alongside that mammoth output is a small still, quietly producing some of the best premium gins on the market.
Nolet’s Silver isn’t the $700 Reserve gin (it comes in closer to $40), but it’s a beautiful, soft, floral gin that makes a perfect Martini. What makes Nolet’s Silver stand out is a unique blend of botanicals including turkish rose, peach, and raspberry. It’s an extremely floral gin but manages to balance out its flavors in a delicious combination that can be enjoyed neat or in many classics including the Negroni, Bijou, or Ramos Gin Fizz.
Nolet’s Reserve builds on the foundation of Nolet’s Silver, adding saffron and verbena to the mix. Saffron is more expensive per ounce than gold and the copious use of it in Nolet’s Reserve helps make it one of the most expensive gins on the market – $700 a bottle! The saffron lends Nolet’s Reserve a deep, warm spice and also seems to impact the color of the gin, which is light gold.
In addition to saffron, Nolet’s Reserve brings verbena into the mix which brings a slightly bitter note that combines with the saffron to envelope all the other flavors of the gin. The result is a nice complexity that makes Nolet’s Reserve one of the world’s great sipping gins.
Nolet’s Reserve weighs in at a whopping 104.6 proof, but surprisingly it’s extremely soft and round with a deliciously thick mouthfeel. The entry of the Nolet’s Reserve is bright and floral with the deep, warm saffron spice. All the delicious flavor notes from the Silver are here but presented completely differently. The sweet fruit notes move to the background to enable the more savory and spicy notes to emerge. The floral notes which weave in and out of the spice are both turkish rose and lavender, balanced beautifully with the other flavors including juniper, citrus, and verbena. The Nolet’s Reserve has a long, deep finish with lingering saffron spice.
Nolet’s Reserve is handmade in small batches, personally supervised by master distiller Carolus Nolet, Sr. Only a few hundred bottles are released each year and they are all hand signed and numbered by Carolus Nolet, Sr. himself.
At $700 a bottle, Nolet’s Reserve may be out of reach for most imbibers, but it’s hard to think of a more intense and complex gin experience. If you are passionate about gin and have the dough to spend, Nolet’s Reserve is simply amazing.