This is kind of an odd review, because while we’re reviewing a botanical blend which is used to make gin, we’re not reviewing a gin per se. Let me explain.
We took a closer look at the botanicals in the bag to see what was going into our gin.
Recipes for making your own gin have been circling the internet for nearly a decade. Gin, by definition is an alcoholic spirit which gets its primary flavor from juniper. This means that even spirits in which the juniper has been added after distillation, a.k.a compound gins are still technically gin (for example Crater Lake Gin () and Tru2 ()) Compounded gins often have a different flavor profile, because the juniper [and other botanicals] are not distilled; therefore aromatics which might not come through as strongly during distillation are still present, in addition to all of the essential, and non-distillable oils present in the ingredients.
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Last month we reviewed Gordon’s brand expansion Gordon’s Elderflower Gin (); last summer we checked out Knockeen Hills’ variation Knockeen Hills Elderflower Gin (). Clearly Elderflower is still en vogue and gin drinkers are still looking for that unique floral note in their cocktails. How does Warner Edwards’ variation on the theme standup to others? And why wouldn’t you just buy some St. Germain to whip up some cocktails?
In our own <100 words
Warner Edwards’ Harrington Gin () received a boatload of accolades last year when they launched their now renowned Harrington Gin. We also quite liked it. Among the original botanicals* was Elderflower. It gave it a nice brightness. In this latest brand expansion, they’ve pushed the Elderflower to 11. This time its infused. Alike the other Elderflower gins on the market, the flowers are infused after distillation. Unlike other Elderflower gins….
The nose is much less literal than other Elderflower gins. Though the name aroma is present, there’s much more going on. For example, juniper, rich spices, cinnamon, cassia, and a lot of cardamom. The aroma is bright and finished with some hints of Elderflower, but it is much more understated than the competition.
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Every now and then, we see a gin which does something so crazy, it absolutely blows our mind. Before we even get it into our glass.
When I hear about Herno distillery’s intention to age gin in a cask made out of juniper wood, I was absolutely boggled. Firstly, and pardon this preconception held by those of us who mostly encounter these small little garden variety junipers, with scraggly winding branches that peel and flake. All in all, I didn’t think you could do anything with the bark whatsoever.
The peoples of Europe have long used juniper; however, it wasn’t quite valued as a wood product. Juniper wood has issues with the way it knots, the type of grain, and its has only come back into vogue as a source of lumber due to technology which can mitigate some of these defects. Let me quote from sawmill which specializes in juniper some of the reasons why juniper isn’t usually used for casks, and can be cost-prohibitive to do so:
“The answer is to accept juniper for what it is. It is beautiful, local and challenging. It is not easy, normal or boring.
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Of all the gins to come out of the UK in the last few years, you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s had more accolades bestowed upon it than Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin.
Sion Edwards and Tom Warner [hence the name…] met in Agricultural school, are lifelong friends, and they’re not distilling gin on the Warner family farm. They consider themselves gin aficionados, so Warner Edwards Gin is a product of love and passion, trial and error. They’ve written the entire story themselves on their site, so I’d be remiss to paraphrase and re-write it all here. But suffice to say, their agricultural background means that this gin is steeped in all of the philosophies of craft spirits: good high quality ingredients, and good water, are all vital to make a good spirit.
My expectations are high heading in. Let’s get down to the tasting notes:
Nose: Citrus and baking spice. Strong hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom and a faint hint that calls to mind cola. Quite interesting, and unique. Bright and spicy. The citrus seems squarely to be orange peel.
Palate: Very complex. Juniper, cinnamon, initially.
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