Another of the wonderful gins sent to me by David over at http://www.summerfruitcup.com/ was one gin in particular which I had wanted so very badly. 31 Botanicals! and 22 of which are native to the island of Islay. The Botanist comes to the bar with an impressive resume to begin with: It’s a limited run (only 15,000 bottles) , is very much a part of the “locally sourced” trend in food and drink (see: Death’s Door Gin), and it is distilled at the well known and respected Bruichladdich distillery in Islay which is best known for its whiskeys and the unique terroir that Hebrides brings to their creations. But now on to the Botanist. How does it stand up to the very crowded market of high-end gins with obscure botanicals?
I only had a small bottle with which to sample. So I want to preface this review and let the audience know that my friend and I sipped it neat, and then I made a gin and tonic with it.
Neat, it was complex. There was a lot going on in there, but almost so much that you couldn’t really say that “this was in there,” or it felt like “this kind of gin.” Sipping, it has a vaguely vegetable like flavor, but juniper stands out. Side by side with other gins the Botanist when sipped neat doesn’t really taste all too different. It’s not as smooth as other gins at this price point, but that bouquet. I keep coming back to the scent. It is delightful and harmonious, but it’s a shame that those flavors don’t stand out when sipped; however, as I only had a limited sample I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. A good whiskey often takes time and multiple tastings for the depth and the different levels of flavor to reveal themselves. Perhaps as a gin from a whiskey distillery, this may be the case. But now onto the Gin and Tonic:
As a Gin & Tonic this was a surprise. Instead of the juniper you taste when sipping neat, or the complex, but mysterious scent- this gin has a surprisingly sweet taste. In fact, I detected hints of the floral flavors which are very popular in a lot of American dry styled gins. I found it refreshing and interesting.
The Botanist gin, in three different ways of experiencing reveals three distinctly different sides. Different preparations reveal different combinations of the 31 botanicals. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I think there’s a lot of depth here; however, as for other gins in the ultra-premium category, this limited tasting has left me thinking it might be hard to recommend as strongly as other options out there.
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