Like a good friend, always reliable in time of need.
Notes: Martin Miller went from Antiques dealer to gin maker ( A path I would like to follow) a number of years ago by launching his gin after some brainstorming with three of his mates. Made in a over 100 year old pot still named Angela, the botanicals are distilled in 2 different batches the earthier elements and the citrus elements respectively in order to retain the brightness of the citrus elements ( something most gin distillers don’t do).
Appearance: Somehow it balances being Crystal clear and viscous at the same time.
First Impression: Woody smell like a pineforest after a long rain. Earthy notes, without the overwhelming presence of juniper (to the exclusion of all else) that some gins have.
Taste: Black pepper and slight bitterness from the cassia spreads across the tongue as a delightful surprise as one of the primary first tastes rather than juniper oil. Reminds me of a Szechuan peppery numb sauce. The juniper then starts to appear from behind it, along with a citrus reminiscent of a Seville bitter orange, along with the various other botanicals that give it a pleasant slightly astringent mouthfeel at the end.
Drinks: We tried the gin in martinis, gin and tonics, aviations and a few more. Made wonderful Martinis, particularly with a dash of Van Wee’s bitters or Regans #6 Orange Bitters and a twist. It made for a very subtle and elegant martini that went down far too easily to be safe. As a gin and tonic, it held up well to the tonic and again made for a wonderfully smooth drink with subtle nuances and a nice citrus rather than overwhelming juniper nuance. Be careful with this gin as it makes very seductive cocktails and blends extremely well with other ingredients.
My only negative comment is that it does not have the weight and body of Corney and Barrow (our personal favorite, if not iconic, gin). It has a uniquely a subtle, yet complex pallete of tastes and mouthfeel. It is in many ways like a Savile Row suit – impeccably made, understated, yet elegant and classic. An altogether delightful and refreshing gin!
Bottle: Nicely heavy clear glass, tall slab sided with planed off edges to the bottle with a thin longish neck with a attractive silver neck wrap with a blue band and red seal like design printed on the silver. Label is silver and blue with raised printing near the shoulder of the bottle in a pressed in area of the glass.
Other: Made in a traditional Pot Still (which is what gin was originally made in) not made in a Coffey or continuous still which is quite unusual these days. Made with Icelandic water and a secret ingredient which they do not (of course) name, but I suspect a touch of caraway. Also he makes a Westbourne Strength (90.4 % ) which is a good bit different from this expression being more Juniper forward among other points.
Final Thoughts: If you are looking for a well made London Dry Style Gin of a more traditional type this is an excellent choice and an excellent value to boot ! It may not have some of the more citrus or other exotic flavorings of some of the newer gin variations out there but it is a good, solid example of its style. A great gin if you are getting a little tired of Tanqueray and looking for something with more taste. A great all around gin.