Overall a nicely done, thoughtful expression of a London Dry Style Gin made carefully in small batches.
Notes: This gin is one of several expressions from Darnley’s and is their London Dry / Original Gin expression.
One of the more interesting bottles of London Dry Style Gin we have come across lately. This gin takes great pains at being natural and environmental. It also is somewhat unique in its botanical makeup in that it uses elderflower in its recipe, which modifies the juniper-forward expression, but not so much as to make it a New World Gin. In short, a gin that tastes like gin, and needs no explanation or qualifiers. Refreshing idea of late. Darnley’s is made in a 350 Liter (92.4 gallons) Copper Frilli Gin Still in Kingsbarns, Fife, Scotland using as many botanicals as they can cultivate on-site with a mixture of other botanicals they cannot grow locally from trusted farm sources. Unlike a growing number of gins, Darnley’s keeps it simple and uses only 6 botanicals in their recipe (Juniper, Elderflower, Cinnamon, Grains of Paradise, Coriander, and Lemon Peel) keeping the gin fresh, floral and straightforward. Too many have used a muddle of botanicals in an effort to dazzle consumers and ended up with a hot mess of flavor – this is not the case with this gin. They also use good quality British spirits and refreshingly, local water – not some Flavorless RO water that many other distillers use. Using local water with minerals and a sense/taste of place can make a huge difference that the fear of flavor/structure RO water can never aspire to.
Appearance: Crystal clear with no separation, sworls, or other indications of less than perfect mixing and distillation of ingredients. On swirling the gin leaves a nicely oily coat with long legs and droplets forming fairly fast then a constellation of droplets left behind.
First Impression: Elderflower, citrus, and juniper at the fore with other botanicals backing them up nicely.More or less traditional/recognizable gin bouquet with forward yet subtle nuances. Spirit is nicely melded with the botanicals.
Taste: Sweetish, spritely entry with a rush of citrus, elderflower, and a midpalate of juniper, grains of paradise, coriander, and cinnamon with an oily lemon tail/finish with gentle heat.
Drinks: Makes a great martini, gin and tonic, and many classic cocktails calling for a gin base. Slightly sweeter and elderflower overtones lend an extra floral component that works well in most drinks.
Bottle: A somewhat elongated bell-shaped bottle ( a common form in gin these days – Especially British ones) With a die-cut paper label with attractive graphics of its constant botanicals and a smaller rectangular label at bottom giving it its classification/type of “Original Gin” to differentiate it from the distilleries other varieties and mentioning the elderflower and citrus characteristics. Back label is rectangular with rounded top shoulders
Foil capsule is a light yellow foil with easy-to-remove perforated foil. Underneath is a composite cork with a black wooden cap.
Other: Please take a look at my notes under Classifications on Gin for an explanation of the various types of gin.
Final Thoughts: Recommended as a subtle but well-done gin.
Fast loading, attractive, and well laid out website with a decent amount of information for most and links to their other varieties of gin and online ordering ( Sorry no US sales)