Review: Engine Gin


It takes guts to bottle your spirit in a motor oil can. When Stillhouse puts moonshine in a can, it makes some level of sense. But a fancy Italian gin? Like I said, guts.

Cleverly named Engine — Engine, per the label — this is a 100% organic gin made in the Langhe region of Italy that includes botanicals from all over the country. Distilled from organic wheat, Sicilian lemons, Tuscan juniper berries, Calabrian licorice root, Langhe salvia, Piedmont Damask rose, and various essential oils, it is proofed with water from the Italian Alps.

Engine is officially made in a London dry style, though in tasting it strikes decidedly on the milder side of things. The nose is rather floral, driven largely by the rose, but otherwise elusive, the licorice in the mix eventually becoming nearly as evocative as the juniper at its core, with some dusky earth tones underneath. The palate sees an even milder character evolve, sweeter than I expected given the ingredient list, with the lemon in the mix creating a light sweet and sour quality. Gently grassy — Engine mentions sage in its tasting notes, which isn’t wrong — the gin sees some milder, almost nutty earth tones develop late in the game and a final hint of that licorice. For a 94 proof gin, the finish is surprisingly clean and absent of bite: This gin goes down like a much lower proof spirit, for better or for worse. And it doesn’t resemble motor oil at all.

At Engine’s suggestion, I tried this in a Negroni and found it perfectly delightful — though decidedly light on the juniper front.

94 proof.

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