Set the scene.
Northwestern England. You know, right below Scotland. But on the west. Yes, on the west.
A park. One of the biggest. Perhaps its best. England’s best. Majesty, as if Lord of the Rings panning across the scenery. Scenery of England.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge. William Wordsworth. You may know their names. Or not. The Lake Poets. Yes, cottages within the mountains. Those Lake Poets. If not. Set another scene.
This one. Deer. Squirrels, Ponies, Crags and Fells. That scene.
What’s growing there? Bilberry. Meadowsweet. Sweet Heather. Juniper. Yes, that juniper. Local juniper. Cumbrian Juniper.
Fifteen of them. But then. That scene. What scene? The park scene. Add 5 more. 20 botanicals. A story of place.
with my cross-bow,
I shot the albatross
But you say it’s just a gin. Certainly, yes. But a gin of it’s place. In it’s place. An Explorer always finds more. And Explorer’s Edition adds another 5 to the original botanical blend. This time telling a story of place. The story of the beautiful Lakes District and Lakes Part, told through gin.
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.
(but fortunately for us, we have gin)
The nose of The Lakes Distillery Explorer Edition is slightly floral and slightly junipery. You get some clean pine notes along with hints of marshmellow and meadowsweet. A creamy, floral perfume hovers above it. It’s quite lovely and quite delicate, with an intriguing and unctuous nose that reveals more on the palate.
Vivid and incredibly bright with bold sweeping brush strokes of flavor, The Lakes Distillery Explorer Edition is especially so at the tip of the tongue upon first sip. Hints of pink peppercorn, violet flowers and orris root, turning slightly more fruit-like with hints of blueberry jam, hibiscus flowers and even a touch of chamomile. Mid-palate, juniper and some traditional gin spice notes emerge from the background along with some bold citrus: both lemon and orange, at first zesty, then like citrus scented meringue, and then lime orange zest and orange blossom water.
The finish seemingly cuts off abruptly though, with a dry, clean finish. Whetting the palate for another sip, though seemingly surprising compared to the rich, especially loud top notes. The amped up ABV is evident, especially in certain cocktails, and especially because I think the more of it you sip the more the background spice emerges. I’m really enjoying this on it’s own. But of course, into cocktails we will put it:
Lately I seem to be on a Martini kick with my gins; The Lakes Distillery Explorer Edition seems to be no exception, and I really like it in a higher-than-usual ratio to not overpower the floral complexity here. The bitterness of the vermouth rounds out the back half and is highly recommended.
Secondly, owing to the strength of the spirit and it’s initial taste flavors, this makes a stellar gin and tonic, even with some of the stronger tonics out there. I found it paired even with the strong herbal notes of Fentiman’s tonic no problem. Also highly recommended.
The Lakes Distillery Explorer Edition is a lovely contemporary styled gin that elevates local juniper in a symphony of dialed up floral notes and pleasant traditional gin spice and citrus. Contemporary gin fans are going to find a lot to love here, especially those that like those dialed in violet notes. Fans of more classic styles may find the balance shifted a bit too much towards the florals; however, those who are looking to step outside their comfort zone and see what a well made contemporary gin can offer when done well and right…. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Recommended.