Gin Botanical: Cassia Bark.
Cassia is a common gin botanical and is a common ingredient in baking. Cinnamon buns anyone?
- Cassia bark is a close relation to cinnamon, in that they both dried bark from trees of the genus Cinnamomum. In certain parts of the world, especially the US, cassia is often sold as cinnamon; however, cassia comes from the Cinnamomum cassia tree and true cinnamon from Cinnamomum verum. True cinnamon is often called Ceylon Cinnamon.
- Cassia bark contains a hepatic toxin called Coumarin, which, in large doses, can cause liver failure. This has led to many governments to caution against excessive consumption of cassia, especially for young people.
- Cassia (and all cinnamon varieties) show some promise in treating diabetes and insulin resistance; there are many mechanisms that I won’t bore you with, but a neat round-up of research can be found on examine.com (http://examine.com/supplements/Cinnamon/). Remember boys and girls, the ramblings of a gin-soak should not be construed as medical advice; consult your doctor, etc.
Given how pungent cassia is in spice-form, the aroma of the distillate is surprisingly subtle. The cinnamon-like aroma is there but isn’t very strong. It’s a fairly sweet aroma.
Tasting reveals a lot more of that expected cinnamon flavour, but it is still far from overpowering; I don’t know if this is because very little is used in the distillation to deliberately make a subtle end-product, or whether it genuinely is a mild flavour.
The attack is sweet and slightly bland but it quickly develops into a warming cinnamon, woody flavour. This slowly diminishes into a slightly rough, raspy after-burn with faint echoes of lemon and a generic woodiness.