Tarquin’s Hedgerow Edition limited edition Advent Calendar treat is brought to you through a partnership of the outstanding Southwestern Distillery and the folks at Gin Foundry. This exclusive run of only 250 bottles begins with the same 12 botanicals underlying their Tarquin’s Cornish Gin.
Tarquin’s Hedgerow Edition is a tribute to the 30,000 miles of its namesake which spread across the countryside, and play host to many herbs, flowers and weeds, which are familiar to the gin drinker: thistle? rose? sloes? Hedgerows were often a source of autumn fruit for residents of the British countryside. You can see evidence of this in the long tradition of Sloes [harvested after frost, mind you] and their addition to the world of gin. In line with this thinking, the team at Southwestern Distillery adds four harvest inspired botanicals: Honeysuckle, apple [ahh, autumn], rosemary and Alexander Seed…. Alexanders what?! More on that in a second, but if you’re looking for the whole story, lovingly recounted, check out the piece on Gin Foundry.“Smyrnium olusatrum1611” by tato grasso – Own work (personal work). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
Alexanders are also known as Horse Parsley or Alisanders was once an important part of British and European food culture via way of Roman culinary heritage. It tastes something like a cross between angelica and parsley, and once it was an incredibly versatile food crop: you could eat the stems and flowers as if an Asparagus; you could candy the stems like some do with Angelica; the roots could be roasted like Parsnips, and finally the little black seeds, which are plentiful in late summer as the flowers mature, are a native European spice of sorts, used for their peppery like flavor.
Alexanders, once a popular ingredient during the Middle Ages, an easily grown component of the British diet, fell out of favor for Celery as its culinary use spread.
As with many weeds that grow across the countryside, their culinary importance is now obscure. People in the know forage for these plants and keep the tradition alive*. They are widely found in Hedgerows across the UK, and hence are an apt inclusion in this Hedgerow inspired gin.
The nose of Tarquin’s Hedgerow Edition has a delightful touch of honeysuckle and angelica at the very front! Citrus and somewhat herbaceous juniper are there as well. Hints of a classic gin are all over, and you might be forgiven for focusing on the angelica note and overlooking the floral note that precedes it. Long way of saying, it still comes across as fairly classic.
The botanicals are exuberant on the palate, quickly coming on. The floral touches are more evident on the first half of the palate, with creamy citrus/honeysuckle notes, forest-like pine juniper notes, almost coming across as douglas fir like towards the middle (on the third taste, I think I got some violet coming through here as well). Rosemary behind the scenes as well and a sharp peppery character that segues into a long, dry and warmly spicy finish. There is a floral thread behind the scenes which ties these things together, but its in the background, like the faint echoes of a song being played a few yards over [maybe over and past the Hedgerows?]. I love how it comes through classic with an emphasis on the juniper, but I’m warmly surprised with how nice the additional nuances seem complement the Tarquin’s base spirit. I’m not getting much of the apple here, but I do get some pepperiness, menthol-laden pine notes [Rosemary] and a distinct honeysuckle aroma at the front.
Overall, I really quite like it. I already am eyeing this as a fantastic Martini, but given its rarity, and how exceptional it is on its own, I might suggest just sipping it like it is. Highly Recommended.
*Please, if you are going to forage, forage responsible. Invest in the proper identification guide and be wary. There are some poisonous plants which to the untrained eye may look similar.