The Wrecking Coast Distillery’s Clotted Cream Gin is a marriage of Cornish specialty and technology.
First the cream: clotted cream is produced slowly heating unpasteurized cow’s milk and leaving it to stand until the cream “clots” on top of the liquid. This cream is frequently served with tea and scones in Devon and Cornwall.
The technology comes through Wrecking Coast Distillery’s iStill— an intelligent computer assisted still.
For their Clotted Cream Gin, the cream is vacuum distilled separately. The other twelve botanicals undergo a traditional distillation and the two distillates are blended.
Nose: Delicate green juniper, angelica root and a surprising amount of spice. Cinnamon and grains of paradise lent it a piquant pepperiness that is as nice as it is unexpected.
Palate: Clotted Cream Gin has a nice, smooth, but not oily mouthfeel. It coats the tongue with a slight lusciousness.
Sipped, there’s a perceptible greenness, that almost becomes grassy as it evolves on the palate. Vanilla kissed forest floor meets licorice root. Grains of paradise, cassia and spice poke through towards the end.
Finish: Moderately in warmth, the finish is rooty and earthy with hints of soil and spice.
Clotted Cream Gin eschews any notions of sweetness the cream might suggest.
The recommended serve is to put the gin front and center. Neat, you get a lot of the cinnamon on the nose and earthiness to the palate. The Martini adds some complexity to the nose, but still is heady with cinnamon. The gin is nicely balanced though by an herbal vermouth.
In a Gin and Tonic (Q was used here) the cinnamon remains on the nose while some of the earthier, grassier notes are highlighted. It can be mitigated with some fresh citrus; however, I don’t think Clotted Cream Gin works well in this way.
Bartenders who are mixing with this gin should treat it like a specialty gin. It’s applications in mixed drinks are limited; however, for fans of spice-forward contemporary style gins it may make an intriguing sipper or Martini.
Overall, Clotted Cream Gin
The creativity is worth celebrating. However, overall I find that some of those grassy, earthy notes don’t really work, and can even taste a bit off. The combination of botanicals doesn’t do much to lighten their affect or balance them.
While it will certainly have its fans, for me Clotted Cream Gin doesn’t work. Not as a mixing gin, and not as a sipping gin on its own. While some challenging aromas work well in perfumes, they work less well in food and drink.