An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin from Sliabh Liag Distillery, established in 2017, is proud of its coastal heritage and the fact that it is the first gin to be distilled in County Donegal in a pot still called Méabh (old Irish for ‘she who intoxicates’).
An Dúlamán Gin takes its name from an Irish Folk Song about seaweed harvesters and also one of the seaweed botanicals. It takes its bottle shape from the bottles once washed up on the Donegal shoreline from the wrecks of the Spanish Armada. The bottle colour is a beautiful deep marine blue-green glossy glass. And for some reason, each batch number is linked to a lunar phase, perhaps tying in with the coastal theme.
As well as using traditional botanicals, five seaweeds foraged locally are used and it is these unusual botanicals that give An Dulaman Gin its uniqueness in what is becoming a vast sea of gin. After buying a bottle at Junipalooza London this year I thought I would put it to the test.
Traditional: Juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, cassia bark, sweet orange peel, lemon peel.
Less traditional, the seaweeds: sweet kombu, carrageen moss (vapour distilled unlike all the other botanicals which go in the pot), dulse, dúlamán, pepper dulse.
On the nose, An Dúlamán Gin has an earthy, saltiness about it reminiscent of coastal mudflats and sea breezes.
To taste it has a fresh salty complexity light on juniper. This is a savoury gin with citrus and spice midway but not in abundance. The overwhelming taste was umami with a short finish that is ever so slightly fishy.
This is not a frivolous gin. It is well made and umami enthusiasts will love it.
For me, the balance of flavours just wasn’t quite right. Reading other reviews I get the feeling that I am a lone voice in not liking it. And while I agree that taste is a personal thing, at some point I think you need to say it out loud, like the boy in the Emporer’s new clothes. I prefer my gin to have plenty of juniper zing and I’m not sure of the point of seaweed as a botanical when there are lots of much more interesting and tastier botanicals out there.
Plain tonic brought out the sardine flavour even more I’m afraid and I didn’t get much further than this. I tried adding elderflower cordial and I tried adding a big old wedge of lemon. Neither made much of an impact on the umami seaweed taste.
The website recommends trying An Dúlamán Gin in a martini. One of my most deliciously memorable martinis was of a truffle-infused definitely-umami martini in a bar in Barcelona, so perhaps I will give it a go.
To buy a bottle click here:-