Danish Gin from Copenhagen
Elg Gin No. 1 from Stone Grange Craft Distillery, north of Copenhagen in Denmark has only 3 botanicals ~ loud theatrical gasp! In this day and age how can any gin worth its botanicals have only 3 of them to boast about?
Henrik Elsner, the Danish creator of Elg Gin is a former biochemist so one would assume he knows his stuff when it comes to choosing and mixing botanicals. Experimenting with distillation techniques via brandy he eventually arrived at gin.
Using pure wheat spirit, unusually he distils each botanical separately using a column still, before blending the result to produce Elg Gin No.1 (There is also a No.2, No.3 and No.4). After each run, ever the scientist, Henrik samples his distillate in his laboratory to ensure consistent quality.
Juniper and coriander are the obvious choices. But Danish carrot? Surprisingly yes. Henrik sources his carrots locally in true craft distilling style and uses the whole carrot, green tops and all in the process. He uses fresh carrots and has just 2 months, July and August, to distil his gin. Quite a tight window, even for a craft distiller relying on local ingredients.
Gin No.2 is an Old Tom style gin with the same 3 botanicals as No.1. No.3 is a Navy strength gin at 57.2%, again using the signature 3. Elg Gin No.4 is crafted with black carrots giving it a pinky-purple colour. I feel a theme coming on.
Henrik’s gins have won awards for his patience and diligence, including a double gold at last year’s CWSA Best Value Results.
The bottle is a good solid shape with a bit of a lip. This is quite handy for hooking over the glass when you pour to catch any dribbles. The stopper makes a loud pop when opened. I’m easily pleased so do it a few times. There is also a rather nice branding on top of the wooden stopper too. And the labels in batches of 1400 are signed by Henrik himself, which is a nice touch.
Well, with only 3 botanicals Elg Gin No.1 is not going to have a very complex aroma. Juniper obviously. Slight coriander dulling the juniper and a background earthy sweetness which presumably is the carrot.
Neat the gin is a rather tasty juniper. I was expecting it to be quite bland but there is complexity here, even at a slightly eye-watering 47.2%. The taste is clean and light with a surprisingly long finish of juniper.
The carrot isn’t obvious but gives the juniper a hand in fending off coriander, which can be a bit of a bully. The gin is slightly sweet too. Again which could be attributed to the carrot.
The addition of a little water really punches out the juniper. And now I’m getting the coriander too. The sweet carrot seems to have almost disappeared, almost.
For a gin that has so few botanicals in its team, it certainly delivers on complexity. So I’m a happy bunny (no pun intended).
The bottle states that the gin becomes cloudy when diluted with water. An effect called louching, when the essential oils of the botanicals emulsify in the lowered alcohol content of the liquid. After adding water I didn’t see any hint of cloudiness. Perhaps I didn’t add enough water!
The recommended serve for Elg Gin No.1 is premium tonic, ice and slice. I paired it with Franklin & Sons Natural Light Tonic Water, which was perfect for this classic G&T combo.
The complex simplicity of this gin allows itself to be led off by the botanicals by a number of serves. I think Fever-Tree’s aromatic would be another good companion for this gin as would be Fentimans rose lemonade.
But then I have a tendency to pair those 2 with almost everything. Note to self: wean myself off rose lemonade.
As to the garnish, you could hardly garnish this gin with a carrot. Or could you?
Further information on this gin hop on over to Henrik’s website.