Heavier proof and more juniper forward than it’s lighter weight sibling.
Notes: The higher proof of a pair of gins made by Martin Miller, the other being the more citrus forward 80 proof version reviewed here
Appearance: Crystal clear, but displays no legs. A trifle disappointing for those of us who like our gin a little thicker in the body, but a statement of purity and cleaness and of a light clear body.
First Impression: Witchhazel and Cassia, almost a mint, but not quite. A trace of alcohol not found in the lower proof version and somewhat less juniper in this incarnation also. Even at 90.4 proof though this gin shows a subtlety of blending. Like a Savile Row suit, the quality is shown through understated quality and craftsmanship.
Taste: Bracing, quicksilver, here and gone again, leaving a mild tingle on the tongue and a hint of juniper. Very clean, with a very interesting mixture of wood and citrus notes. Slight warming burn on the way down. A gentle hint that this is seductive, but dangerous – like all good things.
Drinks: Makes a excellent martini, but remember to adjust your dilution and cooling to compensate for the slightly higher proof (in other words shake it a little longer). That being said, it will chill better than most as the higher proof seems to keep the botanicals blended better at a colder temperature than most and gives you a lovely molten glass appearance. It could cater to a wide crowd of martini drinkers, a little less botanicals than a regular gin for the vodka maritni crowd and a little less subtle for the old style crowd who wants something a bit different. It also stands up very well in a gin and tonic which can actually be a more difficult drink for a gin to stand out in. Most gins are good in either a martini or a gin and tonic- this one is a rarity that is great in both.
Bottle: A silver colored metallic neck collar with raised lettering, a brighter silver label of a different design, and two paper labels, on in front and the other on the back of the bottle ( with a see through statement about water facing forward) distinguishes it from its lighter 80 proof sibling, along with frosted sides proclaiming Westbourne Strength in a old style script (in clear letters). Silk-screened clear reproduction on the back shows an antique map which includes both Iceland and the United Kingdom as well as images of the botanicals infused into the gin.
Other: Gin is only part of the Martin Miller empire which includes several hotels and a Victorian Style salon.
Final Thoughts: One of sadly few gins made the old fashioned way in a copper pot still, a labor intensive method that has fallen from favor among most distillers. Only the truly committed (or committable) still use it to produce truly different artisianal style products, with heavier and more complex flavors than the column or coofey stills others use. Gin is a damn difficult product to make especially with a pot still but Millers Gin is a great example of the gin distillers art.
Nice website loads fast, easy to navigate and clean design . Good information for both the trade and the public. Also, the people at the company are friendly and genuinely like what they sell. Not hard with a gin like this.