Gunpowder Tea is so called because each tea leaf has been rolled into a small ball, reminiscent of gunpowder. It’s usually made with green tea leaves and it’s that special ingredient that gives Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin its name.
But beyond that, Gunpowder Gin is a complex array of botanicals from a number of traditions. Three kinds of citrus fruit: grapefruit, lemon and makrut lime join the tea and are vapor distilled. The remaining ingredients, including Macedonian juniper, are macerated and distilled in a pot still.
There’s the legendary American Jackelope on the bottle; Chinese tea as a signature botanical, but Gunpowder Gin is made in Drumshanbo, Ireland.
The nose is light and citrus-forward. The more delicate handling of the citrus ingredients is quite evident here. Fresh lemon zest highlights a subtle herbaceous, sagey juniper with the slightest hint of green tea and meadowsweet.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin explodes with flavor on the palate. Citrus once again dominates. This time its grapefruit. Juniper and green tea are present mid-palate: the juniper herbaceous and bright, the green tea calling to mind Jasmine green tea, as you might get before sushi at a Japanese restaurant.
Towards the end though, it turns sweet and spicy/herbal. Anise and cardamom are subtly and expertly played in here. Meadowsweet, especially late and towards the finish lends its a honeyed, vanilla-like nuance.
The combination of botanicals though somewhat eccentric is well balanced. The green tea is at the fore. Gunpowder Gin does justice to its namesake. However, where this really stands out for me is how it balances the botanicals. Enough juniper for classic gin fans, but also heavy on the citrus and herbs, without overpowering each other.
The finish is mildly warming with a pleasant heat.
The Gunpowder Tea notes lend itself really nicely to mixing in citrus-forward drinks. Try Gunpowder Gin in a Tom Collins or Gimlet. If you’re literal, Gunpowder Gin is delightful in a hot toddy. Add some honey and lemon and it almost tastes as if you’re having a hot tea to sooth your throat.
Gunpowder Gin excels as a mixing gin despite it’s seemingly ostentatious botanical blend. It’s smooth enough for a Martini, while flavorful enough to stand out in a Gin and Juice.
Bartenders will find Gunpowder Gin an easy cocktail gin behind the bar. It works in nearly all applications, though the green tea note will be evident.
Overall, Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin
Fans of citrus-forward gins like New Amsterdam are apt to find Gunpowder Gin a pleasant, if not one-note alternative. It has the herbal complexity of bathtub style gins like New Deal Gin No. 1, but also the balance of old school favorites like Gordon’s and Plymouth.
If that seems like high praise— it indeed is. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin is a delightful, well-balanced, but botanically loud contemporary style gin— that doesn’t forget its roots and the juniper.
Overall, highly recommended.