Uncle Val's Botanical Gin
Today, August Sebastiani, Samuele's great-grandson, is the President of 35 Maple Street Distillery, the makers of Uncle Val's Botanical Gin. The gin is named after Vaerio Cecchetti, Sebastiani's favorite uncle and a retired physician near Lucca, Italy. "In addition to being a highly regarded doctor, Uncle Val is a great cook and avid gardener," says Sebastiani. The botanicals used in the gin — juniper, lemon, sage, lavender and cucumber — "are the same as those Uncle Val likes to use in his cooking and grows in his home garden." Awarded an astounding 96 points by The Tasting Panel, Uncle Val's Botanical Gin has a complex yet subtle flavor profile. Sebastiani uses immersion bags (think big tea bags) in order to infuse the gin with the flavors from the botanicals. The immersion bags are steeped in the gin for several hours, although some remain in the gin longer in order to impart a stronger aroma and flavor.
The lemon adds a burst of crispy citrus flavor which is balanced by the calming effect of the sage. While the lavender provides for an elegant, refined aroma, the cucumber adds a cooling, subtle freshness. After the gin is distilled five times over, Sebastiani's team filters it using carbon and lava rock (or pumice), which has a porous density that's perfect for filtering gin. After filtration, the gin is brought to proof using naturally sweet spring water from the Cascade Mountains before being bottled and labeled by hand.