The Whitley Neill product portfolio is full of flavored gins. They range from the quotidian to the obscure. When an importer picked them up in the U.S. they launched with four products from the lineup— perhaps based on name alone Whitley Neill Quince Gin strikes me as unusual. Quinces are kind of obscure in the states and uncommon in the current culinary culture.
The quince hails from modern day Iran/Turkey and is said to have a flavor that contains notes of lemon, jasmine flowers, orange blossoms, pineapples, D’anjou pears and even apple (depending on who you ask). In other words, the fact that the fruits flavor defies simple description explains it best— quince is really its own thing. If you’ve had it, you know it. If you haven’t, it’s tough to make a point of reference.
Whitley Neill Quince Gin is a flavored gin that adds quince and sweetening after distillation. The color is a bit neon yellow poured from the bottle, which reads a bit as Mountain Dew and yellow #5.
The aroma of Whitley Neill Quince Gin is quite lovely. Lots of quince— its has some hints of Honeyscrisp apple, round soft notes of canned Bartlett pear and a spiced juniper note. In other words, it’s immediately recognizable as quince and gin.
On entry, the palate has a fair viscosity. Early, it has a syrupy sweetness for me that reminds me of the juice from canned pears (in heavy syrup). Tart citrus rounds things out. Mid-palate there’s slight hints of green juniper and a touch of baking spice. The finish is long and sweet, with rich notes of pear syrup and candy. It’s not cloying, but Whitley Neill Quince Gin is sweet.
Whitley Neill Quince Gin is deceptively strong at 43% ABV. The smoothness and sweetness suggests a much lower ABV spirit.
Heavy flavored gins like Whitley Neill Quince Gin can be a tough mixer. One of my favorite ways to cut back the sweetness of it is to use it in a cocktail like the Tom Collins. Pick a more classic gin base, like Whitley Neill Gin, and sub in a quarter to half oz. of Whitley Neill Quince Gin. The quince notes are present and beautiful, while the added base gin moderates the sweetness. The added texture however from the Quince Gin rounds out the mouthfeel. There’s a whole group of citrus forward cocktails where this is a successful tact— try an Aviation, same thing. Swap out a scant quarter oz. of the gin for Quince.
I liked Whitley Neill Quince Gin in a Gin and Tonic, but I did find it a touch too sweet if using a tonic water like Schweppes for example. Paired with a less sweet tonic water, Whitley Neill Quince Gin adds more and the end result is actually quite beautiful. It’s sweet, with apple and pear facets and a pleasant bitter finish. You really have to look for the juniper there, but it’s a good drink in its own right. Try a Gin and Soda for an easier party pour that keeps the quince and gin character at the fore.
Overall, Whitley Neill Quince Gin
If you know what you’re getting into— it’s a really pleasant flavored gin. It’s not a gin with quince, but a quince flavored, sweetened gin.
I’d love to taste a bit more juniper and gin character in here, but fans of quince are going to really like this spirit.