Style: London Dry
Explorer’s Gin is the first expression to come out of the newly created Downton Distillery in a Grade 1 listed barn next door to Downton Manor in the Wiltshire downs. The manor was once the home of Sir Walter Raleigh. Hence the name.
The slightly less glamorous setting of the barn, previously the manor’s carriage shed, now houses the nascent gin distillery.
The bottle is a beautiful deep ocean blue with a gold embossed Elizabethan compass rose on the front to reflect the manor’s heritage. In fact, the whole branding of the gin is soaked in Walter Raleigh and his adventures.
The gin is a one-shot London Dry gin with some gutsy botanicals. Western red cedar is an unusual one. On its own, it tastes surprisingly of pineapple, not at all as you would think a cedar tree should.
The company recently held the Bursary Award at Junipalooza London 2019 and they are now busy racking up accolades after having recently been awarded Master status at the Gin Masters Competition, only one of two to do so this year in ‘Contemporary Gin’ category.
15 botanicals including juniper, coriander, citrus peel, lemon verbena, fennel seed, pink pepper, red cedar, bay, Szechuan pepper, red grapefruit, Sicilian lemon.
The nose is herby with a spicy juniper overlay, like crushed spiced apples. Very appealing.
To taste this is a punchy gin, definitely juniper-forward and also there is a spicy warmth that really comes through. The finish is long and aniseedy. There is a faint lingering muddy taste of tails, as though the cut was made a little too late, which is disappointing.
This gin is a strange one. It seems to change depending on your mood. Myself and a fellow taster tried it 3 times: once at Junipalooza and twice at home. At Junipalooza it was bright and inspiring. Tasted at home it has lost some of its zing.
UPDATE: Downton Distillery have since sent me a replacement Explorer’s Gin which I am delighted to say has all of its zing!
Tonic water brings out the rounded red apple taste.
A good cocktail to make with this gin is a Bee’s Knees. With the orange and lemon of the cocktail and the spicy apple of the gin you almost have a fruit salad.
To buy their gin head on over to their website here.
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