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.
The palate begins with some juniper, and then cardamom up front, very loud. Bright and fresh, as if biting into a white cardamom pod. The finish is characterized by a toned down cardamom note accompanied with some bright floral notes, elderflower and rose. The integration of the infusion is remarkable, leaving me to remark in my notes “might it be distilled?**” The floral notes, elderflower and rose begin on the edge of the palate, fading and leaving behind a touch of cinnamon and cardamom. There’s a faint hint of heat, but overall, this is quite nicely balanced.
Firstly, we began with the Rolls Royce Cocktail. This less common cocktail poses a similar fire test to the Negroni: strong flavors, the gin is in relatively small amount, and it can be a test for how strong a spirit is. How did Warner Edwards Elderflower Infused Gin perform? It did well, albeit not as bright in the ways I expected it to. Caramel and cardamom at first, a bright richness. Long earthy finish. Rich, sweet, but not a ton of Elderflower character came through. We got more of the base qualities of the underlying gin: the earthiness and other notes from the other botanicals. While these came through, we can’t say that this particular variation merited any special inclusion. Make this with the Harrington variety and save the Elderflower for drinks where it will come through more brightly.
We then tried the Gimlet, and found the exact opposite of our Rolls Royce experience. The gin shone bright and loud. A lot of cardamom and cinnamon again, but this time a touch of juniper glimmered through the more prominent branches. The lime and citrus notes rounded out the qualities of the gin nicely, while never competing with one another. Cassia and Elderflower on the finish, with hints of rose hips and violet. A delightful Gimlet, highly recommended.
In short, we think this gin will work well in Gin and Tonics, with soda, seltzer, or simple syrup combinations. It works less well with dark, herbal, and powerful co-stars. That being said, we still have no doubt in our mind, with sufficient complexity and gin like character, this is the best Elderflower infused gin on the market today, and our review rating reflect that fact.
Price: $63 / 700 mL
Availability: United Kingdom
Rating: A nice contemporary style gin with post distillation infusion. If you’re in search of a gin with Elderflower in it, look no further. This is the best of the bunch in our opinion. If you’re looking for a gin with floral notes, we suggest you stick to some gins that highlight the floral notes more strongly via distillation. This gin’s rating is based on its standing among flavored gins, in particular this new sub-sub-genre of Elderflower infused spirits.
* Edwards 2013.
** It is, ibid.