Review: Madam Pattirini Gin
Who, you may rightly ask, is Madam Pattirini? Well, how about a story to start things off?
Madam Pattirini, aka Brigham Morris Young, (January 18, 1854–February 20, 1931) was the son of Brigham Young and one of his wives, Margaret Pierce. In 1875, B. Morris Young served a mission for the LDS Church in the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after returning from this mission he was asked by his father to organize the young men’s association of the LDS church.
In 1883 Young served another mission in the Hawaiian Islands.
In 1885 Young, his wife and their children returned from serving his second mission in the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly after returning to Utah, Young began publicly performing in drag as a singer under the pseudonym “Madam Pattirini” – an Italian opera diva. Young performed as Pattirini in the north and central Utah venues from 1885 to the 1900s. He could produce a convincing falsetto, and many in the audience did not realize that Pattirini was Young.
He married Armeda Snow, a daughter of Lorenzo Snow. Their son Lorenzo Snow Young was a prominent architect in Utah. They had 10 children, eight surviving to adulthood.
Although no direct evidence [has been found] that Brigham Morris Young was a homosexual, he certainly crossed Mormon gender barriers. Seemingly without any negative repercussions, whenever he appeared in public as Madam Pattirini. “From the 1880s to the early 1900s, Morris appeared frequently in his drag persona. His son, Gaylen Snow Young, wrote that ‘[h]e would sing in a high falsetto voice. He fooled many people.’ [Mormon historian] Dean C. Jessee notes that Morris was ‘often called to perform at stake and ward social functions, where he frequently posed as “Madam Pattirini,” a great female opera singer. An extant invitation lists B.M. Young as manager of “a Grand Character and Dress Ball” held in the large room of the Brigham City Woolen Factory in 1889.
“During the early 1870s ‘Morris’ Young drove a horse-drawn streetcar for a living. One popular stereotype of the time was that streetcar drivers were effeminate homosexuals (and in fact, Walt Whitman found many of his male lovers amongst the streetcar drivers of New York City, including his long-time companion, Peter Doyle, who drove a streetcar in Washington DC for many years). Interestingly, Morris drove the streetcar between the Utah Central Railroad Depot and the Wasatch Municipal Baths, which [has been] documented [as] an active ‘cruising’ area for homosexual men (who went there looking for anonymous sexual encounters), at least as early as the 1880s.”
Now that’s a story, eh? Utah-based Ogden’s Own distillery honors Young with Madam Pattirini Gin, and as for the spirit itself, it’s infused with juniper, bergamot, coriander, cardamom, Nigerian ginger, and Sicilian lemon. Each batch yields fewer than 1,000 bottles.
Let’s give it a try.
The nose is a surprise — quite nutty, with lots of coriander and a dusky, exotic note that’s clearly driven by the ginger. There’s plenty of citrus in the mix here, but it doesn’t dominate — and neither does the juniper, which plays second fiddle. The palate is surprisingly weighty and chewy, showcasing notes of brewed tea and torched citrus peel, with a woody, herbal character underneath. After a modest rush of alcohol fades, all of the above linger on the finish, with cedar box and evergreen notes the last to fade out.
All told it’s a rather unusual and interesting gin… and best of all, it’s crazy cheap.
B+ / $15 / madampattirini.com