Stovell’s Wildcrafted Gin

Price:  £42 / 750 mL
Proof: 84
Distiller:
Stovell’s
Origin: England, United Kingdom
Availability:U.K. and Master of Malt.
Rating:  Woody and green at first, the flowers literally bloom on the finish with Meadowsweet and Woodruff capturing the imagination. The juniper is not quite the star here, and the unique flavor profile likely makes it a niche spirit rather than a multitasker. But that being said, it’s unique in the way that it represents England’s botanical heritage in such a thorough manner. It’s worth taking a look at just to drink the British Countryside and only the British Countryside. [Rating:2/5]

Stovell's WIldcrafted ginStovell’s is an award winning restaurant in Chobham, England. and their Wildcrafted Eponymous gin is a partnership of bar manager Geyan Surendran and chefs Kristy and Fernando Stovell.

The concept is simple: local, foraged botanicals. A truly local gin. Nothing is in the gin which cannot and does not grow locally. The only exception to their provenance rule is the juniper, which they source from Croatia due to their concern for the local juniper populations, which are still threatened in the UK.

Among the botanicals, couple standout: both angelica root and seed (toasted) are used, as are red efflorescent clover blossoms. It’s all distilled at low temperatures and then blended and sweetened with a dash of local honey. They go into a great deal of detail about their methodology on their site, so if you want to learn more, why not hear in their words. Let’s get on to the tasting notes.

Impressions

The spirit arouses the olfactory sense with a surprisingly gentle, green scent of juniper. Angelica and green nuance as well; however, it’s quite classic and understated at first breath.

The palate is a green garden of herbal notes which start dark and quite arboraceous, before ending with a floral lift. At first, dark green notes, nettle, kale, a little bit of ligneous tree bark. Overall, sylvan and foresty with an enigmatic character. As you stay with it, hints of licorice, and fennel, woodruff, turning subtly sweeter and more literally floral. While I get some creamy notes of Meadowsweet here, I’m lost in a menagerie of green. It’s a perplexing spirit that defies convention, but while never seeming quite foreign.

Overall, I have a hard time going one way or the other. On its own, it’s interesting. If I had a full sample, I would be keen to put this to work in a line of cocktails, as I think it could go either way. I don’t know what direction this woodsy gin might go. But it is unique, and merits a closer look. Though it may be divisive, as they left many non-UK botanicals behind (coriander, citrus, orris), what remains is truly the UK’s botanical heritage. And for all of the talk of place, it might be the only gin on the British market that rests solely on the region’s environmental heritage, and not its historical heritage.

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Readers' Reviews

Last updated September 2nd, 2015 by Aaron

3 thoughts on “Stovell’s Wildcrafted Gin

  • September 2, 2015by David Schofield

    Aaron,
    I have really wanted to try this Gin since I first heard of it, it sounds like a very good concept Gin. Your ratings are always pretty much in line with my own views so was disappointed for this Gin when seeing your rating. However, your comments give me a glimmer of hope that this may still have something of interest…has anyone else had a chance to sample this Gin?
    Regards, David.

  • September 3, 2015by AaronPost author

    I love the concept, so I tried to highlight the positive in it. I think it’s awesome to embrace the British part of gin’s heritage rather than the European Colonial spice-trade side of it. That aside, I think there’s some off notes within the woody character that I found a little off-putting. It’s hard to identify exactly what’s throwing the off note since I’m less familiar with some of those botanicals’ individual distillates and how they come across in gin. But something is contributing an earthy/woody note that is a little discordant, and contributing a resiny bitterness that I think detracts from the many good things going on in here. I think its far from a failed-experiment (as I hope the review highlights) but I think this particular batch could benefit from some refinement and editing.

    Let me know what you think, I’m pretty sure you can still get one of those 30 mL samples from Master of Malt (without needing to commit to a full 750mL)
    Cheers,
    Aaron

  • September 3, 2015by David Schofield

    Thanks Aaron,
    All praise to Master of Malt and their sample sized bottles, they’re great to get a flavor although I nearly always find I’m wanting more. No doubt I’ll add it to my next order from MoM, once I’ve got through the existing back log of Gins waiting for me to taste.
    Regards, David.

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