If hay meadows in summer could have a flavour this gin would be it!
If you are a gin lover and haven’t yet tried The Botanist gin then you are in for a treat.
Made by Bruichladdich Distillery on the Island of Islay. (That’s in the Outer Hebrides if you didn’t know. I didn’t and had to look it up.) The Island of Islay is mainly known for its Whisky Distilleries. For an island with a population of just over 3,200 people, it has no less than 8 working whisky distilleries. Bruichladdich is one of them. A Victorian distillery built in 1881 exclusively to produce whisky before declining like so many Scottish distilleries into disuse. It was reinvigorated by community effort and reopened in 2001.
In 2011 Bruichladdich produced its very own gin and proudly boasts that it is “the first and only Islay Dry Gin”. One does wonder how long that will last, given the density of distilleries on the island and the phenomenal rise in craft distilling.
The Botanist Gin is a progressive exploration of the botanical heritage of our Isle of Islay. 22 hand-foraged local botanicals delicately augment nine berries, barks, seeds and peels during an achingly slow distillation. This first and only Islay Dry Gin is a rare expression of the heart and soul of our remote Scottish island.
Phew! That is quite a statement. A lot of love has gone into this gin. Indeed, the man/woman hours that go into each batch from the foraging, preparation and to what must be one of the longest distillation runs at 17 hours means this gin is a true labour of love. The Botanist typifies the essence of craft distilling.
9 core botanicals are macerated for 12 hours in a Lomond pot still called ‘Ugly Betty’. Then begins the slow process of distillation. The other 22 botanicals are distilled by vapour infusion to give The Botanist gin its distinctive lightness of flavour.
I love the bottle. So tactile with its raised erudite Latin botanicals, even if I don’t know what any of them mean. But if this gin rolls off the tongue as smoothly as ‘trifolium repens’ I’ll be a happy gin bunny. Anyway time to get on and try it.
The aroma is a delight, like a hay meadow in summer: complex, floral and grassy. Gentle on the juniper it is soft and inviting.
This gin delivers what it promises in the bottle and the nose. It is smooth with a medium mouthfeel, soft and sensuous. If hay meadows in summer could have a flavour this gin would be it.
Initially sweet and floral as the aroma would suggest. Then juniper but not in a bold ‘here I am, look at me’ kind of way. Cinnamon and cassia can just be made out to give this gin a delicate spiciness.
How to pick out the individual botanicals? Well, you can’t. It is impossible to distinguish between the 31 botanicals. Juniper is there, of course, and cinnamon and cassia, but after that, I’m at a bit of a loss. A heavenly loss, I might add.
The finish is medium and fades away like a soft summer breeze with you wanting more. There is no lingering woody aftertaste. This gin is light on the tails.
In short, this is a delicious sipping gin.
I’m thinking elderflower. Any of the elderflower tonics would be a good match. That’s if you can bring yourself to dilute this heavenly gin.
If you would like to know more then check out their website.
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