Slow Distilled Irish Gin
43% abv ~ Ireland
On St. Patrick’s Day, the patron saint of Ireland, what better gin to raise a glass to the ‘Feast’ than a shot or two of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin.
The very bottle of Drumshambo is an experience. Whimsy is a word you don’t often hear these days but I think that Monty-Pythonesque whimsy is called for when reviewing Drumshanbo. The label on the back of the bottle sets the tone:
Here at the edge of a lake in a shed in a small Irish town, the ordinary is made extraordinary. Within is the laboratory of PJ Rigney, boundary-pushing begetter of hand-made spirits who slow distills gin with natures finest oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea.
Whimsy aside, The Shed Distillery really does exist in the small town of Drumshanbo close to the shores of Lough Allen in County Leitrim, Ireland ~ as does PJ Rigney. Patrick J. Rigney is an entrepreneur with 30 plus years experience in the drinks industry. He is a director of The Fastnet Brands Company and brings his vast knowledge and experience to this gin. The attention to marketing detail is everywhere, from the raised letters on the bottle to the website, which I love.
The gin is distilled from 12 botanicals in a medieval copper pot still ~ medieval? Among the usual culprits: juniper, angelica, orris, caraway, coriander, meadowsweet, cardamom, star anise, Chinese lemon, Oriental grapefruit and Kaffir lime is the signature botanical, gunpowder tea. Slow dried and rolled into ‘pellets’ the flavour is purported to be ‘bold and bright with a slight spicy freshness.’ Righto, lets get on to the tasting.
This bottle has got to be one of the most distinctive gin bottles out there. A vivid ridged blue tactile bottle reminiscent of old poison bottles and with a label with perforated edges that completes the look.
Its logo the jackalope, a North American mythical animal, a fabled cross between a jackrabbit and antelope has become something of a hoax in America and one wonders if PJ Rigney is pulling our legs just a little bit, a reminder not to take him too seriously. Something that one or two other ginsmiths might take note of.
I love the little booklet tied around the neck of the bottle. The corners of the booklet are delicately snipped. Even the wooden stopper doesn’t escape the attention to detail with a copper collar stamped with Gunpowder Irish Gin. The stopper has the poppiest pop and the bottle pours well.
I am beginning to wonder if the contents will live up to the bottle.
The aroma is subtle. I can detect juniper and a hint of spice. But it doesn’t give too much away. I am intrigued.
Drumshanbo has an oily mouthfeel and packs a flavourful punch. Initially juniper and citrus with a slight stuffiness of coriander. Then the tang of the gunpowder tea kicks in with a long finish. Star anise is there and becomes more evident with every sip. By the end of the tasting session, I’m liking this gin a lot.
I wasn’t sure how to serve this powerhouse of a gin. The recommended signature serve is 40ml of Drumshanbo with 140ml of premium tonic and a wedge of fresh red grapefruit.
Never one to do as I’m told, I started with a straightforward G&T: Schweppes Indian Tonic in a ratio of 1:2, garnished with lemon. So far so good but something was lacking. Perhaps I should have bought some grapefruit after all?
Next, I tried it with Fever-Tree’s aromatic tonic, again a ratio of 1:2 and again with lemon wheel garnish. This time I added star anise to complement the botanical. And oh boy! Now the gin was talking. This pairing took the G&T up another few notches of tastebud delight.
I’m sure there are many different combinations out there that would work just as well. This gin is so original that it will pair up with several different tonics and each time produce something curious and extraordinary.
For the ‘curious and curiouser’ take a peek at their website.