I believe that to get where a craft gin is coming from, you have know something of its place of origin.
In what I think is a record for this blog, I received a bottle recently all the way from the beautiful island of Guernsey. This is a distance of some 17252km, which seems apt for a bottle that features an exotic fly on its label.
Located not far from the coast of France, and home to about 63,000 people, it has a complex relationship with both the UK and France. With places with names like Chateau des Marais, Fort Pezeries, Fort Hommet and the Le Trepied Megalith Buriel Chamber, and its own regional dialects you know it’s a place with a very rich history.
Beyond the towns, castles and fortifications there is a landscape of fields, beaches and landscapes shaped by the weather of the Channel. Happily, you can get a decent cocktail looks like on the Island too!
About the GinIn a first for Guernsey, Blue Bottle Gin is made at the Three Fingers Distillery in a gorgeous 500lt Arnold Holstein steam heated pot still by Matt Polli which batch distills all the botanicals at once to create 400 bottles each time. Matt is also a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, a most venerable body who date back to the time of King Charles 1.
At one time he also did a stint in Western Australia at Lion Nathan in the brewing business before returning back home to Guernsey.
Just as in Australian craft gins, local botanicals often make an appearance, and they’ve chosen among the botanical mix some of the local fragrant gorse flowers that grows on the Island. In addition to the usual London dry botancial suspects, there is also nutmeg and cubeb pepper.
Blue Bottle Gin was awarded a Gold Medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2015.
The production quality of the label (which shimmers in the butterfly wings in the light) and the bottle are first class with a cork stopper.
The gin offers a rich and complex palette, warm and floral on the nose, and a full palette with a lingering forward finish with a subtle sweetness. For an Australian it offers unfamiliar flavours and scents, so its a form of travel in a bottle. On the nose you get hints of vanilla and no hit of alcohol.
I would go as far as say this was my preferred style of enjoying the gin- with an ice cube- and sip it with a good book or conversational companion in the same way you’d enjoy a single malt.
Well, I had to try! A hint of Noilly Prat and an olive, which made for a rich and flavoursome experience. But I’m thinking this is not where the gin really shines, it doesn’t need the competition of the other flavours. I’m not saying not in a Martini, but there are better ways to enjoy this gin…..
Using my preferred Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic water as the mixer and a slice of lemon for simplicity.
This worked perfectly. The mix lightened the gin for easy drinking and it didn’t outstay its welcome, inviting another round. I think you could play with the garnishes with this gin and I tried fresh Rosemary (not bad) and Lemon Thyme (yum) that teased out the botanicals. You could pickout the flavour notes easily in this format.
The Take Home
I was thrilled to be sent this bottle to review.
As I survey Australian craft gins its important to me to place them in a global context, and its exciting to see that there’s been a parallel movement in the UK.
Alongside the venerable, classic labels we all know, we’ve seen modern classics emerge like Sipsmith, Portobello Road, NB, Jensen’s and others. A new generation of distillers taking a local approach to the expression of gin with care and skill.
The result are gins that are world class in their poise and refinement, each with a distinctive personality.
So experiencing Blue Bottle gin was like imagining myself walking in a field on Guernsey on a warm afternoon with the sea breeze carring the scents of the wildflowers. A rich, integrated and complex gin that needs nothing else to express itself.
- Website: http://www.bluebottlegin.gg/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bluebottlegingg and twitter @bluebottlegin
- ABV: 47%
- Purchase Online: www.drinks21.com Price: 39.99 Pounds plus handling.
Note, an Australian outlet is being sought presently by Blue Bottle Gin.