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What Does Empress Gin Taste Like? A Royal Palate Experience

What Does Empress Gin Taste Like

Last Updated on October 26, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Empress 1908 Gin owes its mesmerizing indigo color to the addition of butterfly pea blossoms, an exotic herb that not only lends its striking hue but also contributes to the gin’s unique flavor profile.

As curious as everyone, we took a deep dive into a dedicated tasting session to know what Empress gin tastes like neat and in cocktails.

What Empress 1908 Gin Really Tastes Like

Bartender Holding Bottle of Empress 1908 Gin

Empress 1908 is a color-changing gin that combines delicate aroma, exquisite taste, soft texture, and beautiful indigo hue from butterfly pea blossom.

Unlike most gins, Empress Gin by Victoria Distillers has a floral character, ripe grapefruit (from grapefruit peel), and juniper notes. The taste of this very good gin was quite biting and was slightly bitter on the first sip.

It wasn’t until the second sip that the spicy note started on a more subdued, unveiling a fleeting floral nuance that could be attributed to the Butterfly Pea Blossom.

“I am excited to see the next chapter of growth for Empress Gin.” 

-Peter Hunt, Executive Ambassador

The Fairmont Empress tea, classic empress tea from South India exclusively crafted by the Metropolitan Tea Company, adds elegance to the London Dry Gin.

Also, the coriander seed, rose petal, cinnamon bark, ginger, and other botanicals give a balancing act to the palate profile of the unique gin. But what does a classic gin really taste like?

What Does It Taste Like?

Pouring Empress 1908 Gin


Empress Gin from Victoria Distillers presents a complex and intriguing taste experience when savored neat. The sweet flavor of the rose contributes to the warmth of the liquor.

Upon tasting, it carries a noticeable bitterness, an elegant floral note, cinnamon bark, earthy coriander, and other citrus elements that balance the traditional botanicals of the handpicked tea leaves.

In Cocktails

Empress Gin becomes a versatile canvas of flavors when incorporated into cocktails [1].

The color-changing aspect results from the butterfly pea blossom infusion that complements a cocktail drink’s citrus and floral elements. You can use Empress as a base gin for Martini or Tom Collins.

Empress 1908 Gin’s Tasting Notes

Bottles of Empress 1908 Gin


At first sip, I notice the gentle hint of rose. But this isn’t flowery – it’s more subtle. The tang of ripe grapefruit (from grapefruit peel), juniper note, cinnamon bark, coriander seed, ginger root, and rose flavor from key botanicals are also evident.

But what’s the main flavor of gin?


Empress 1908 Gin is known for its striking indigo color. This unique color comes from a special flower called butterfly pea blossom.

The drink changes color when combined with a tonic or mixer with citrus notes and simple syrup.


I noticed hints of ginger root, coriander seed, rose petal, a hint of green tea, and a substantial, dry cinnamon flavor.

“Empress Gin: Colors and flavors dance, crafting a magical cocktail tale.”

-Liquor Laboratory 

Black tea, ginger root, grapefruit peel, rose petal, juniper, and other botanicals linger on the edges of your palate, leaving a satisfying aftertaste.

What Does Empress Gin Smell Like?

When I poured it into the Martini glass, there was a strong scent of alcohol, like rubbing alcohol. But as I give it a second and third smell, it becomes milder with sweet citrus in the air.


Is Empress Gin good by itself?

Yes, Empress Gin can be enjoyed by itself.

However, its intricate and complex flavor notes are often best showcased in gin cocktails [2], where it can harmonize with other ingredients.

Why does Empress Gin turn purple?

Empress 1908 Gin turns purple due to butterfly pea blossom, a unique flower that changes color when it reacts with acidic or alkaline substances.

The infusion of butterfly pea blossom in the drink creates a natural reaction that shifts its color from indigo to soft pink, Fushia, or bright lavender when mixed with citrus or tonic water.

How does Empress Gin change colors?

Empress Gin changes colors due to the remarkable properties of butterfly pea blossom.

When it is mixed with acidic ingredients, like citrus juices, or alkaline, such as tonic water and lemon juice, the pH of the mixture shifts.

This change in pH causes the butterfly pea blossom’s pigments to react.

In Summary

Empress 1908 Gin oozes modern sophistication as it is handcrafted in small batches with carefully sourced botanicals, and the distillation process gives out a perfect cup.

In our honest opinions, the traditional elegance characterized by a delicate balance of floral and herbal notes sets it apart as a versatile spirit for both sipping and mixing.

The color-changing aspect, courtesy of the butterfly pea blossom infusion, adds an element of enchantment to every pour.

Whether enjoyed neat or in gin cocktails, it offers a sensory journey that captivates the palate and the eyes, making it a standout choice in spirits.




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