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Review

Botanic Gin

Distillery

William & Humbert Bodegas, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain (although the base spirit is made by Langley Distillery, Birmingham, England, UK).

Website

Botanic Gin and William & Humbert Bodegas.

History

The winery was originally founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams and Arthur Humbert and concentrated on producing Wine, Brandy and Sherry. Alexander Williams was an admirer and connoisseur of sherry and in 1870 moved from England to Spain and worked for a winemaker where he learned about Sherry production. During this time he met and married Anny Humbert, also from England, and her brother Arthur Humbert who was a specialist in international relations. Together Williams and his brother-in-law Humbert built a company, their original and modest business building is still part of the operation today, but over the years this has been added to including hectares of vineyards and one of the largest cellars in Europe.

José Medina y Compañía was established in the 1960’s by José Medina and within a few years was joined by his brothers Nicolás, Jesús and Ángel. They created their own winery in Jerez and concentrated on international Sherry sales. By the 1980’s they had established themselves as one of the leading sherry suppliers across the globe and started acquiring different brands including a 100% share in William & Humbert Bodegas in 2005. Today the second generation of the Medina family runs the company, selling their products in over 80 countries, with an annual turnover in excess of $60 million. Their key brands include: Canasta, Gran Duque de Alba Brandy, DrySack Sherry and Dos Maderas Rum.

Production

The base spirit for this Gin is made using English wheat and is distilled two times in copper pot stills by Langley Distillery, Birmingham, England. The base spirit is transported to Andalusia, Spain where it is distilled for a third time with Spanish botanicals.

The Gin is presented in a clear glass (almost) cube-like shape, said to represent a large ice cube, with a large dark blue top. The bottle has images within the glass of Buddha (back and front) and on the sides are images of the Buddha’s hand tree. This cuboid shape is certainly eye catching although it is a little difficult to pour.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$ - $$$$. Readily available in Spain and may be purchased online for shipping worldwide from the following Spanish retailers: Vinus Vinis, Grau Online, Smart Bites and E Buy Wines.

Botanicals

Uses 14 botanicals (thought to all be grown in Spain) including: almond, anise, Buddha’s hand, cardamom, chamomile, cinnamon, coriander, juniper berries, lemon, mandarin, mango, orange (sweet), peppermint and thyme.

The unusual Buddha’s hand is a citrus fruit (an ancient variety of lemon) with long “cells” making them look like fingers. Originally from Indo-China the botanical named Citrus medica has little to no pulp or juice inside and is used for it’s peel (zest). It is very fragrant and is often used as an air freshener (particularly in China and Japan – where it is known as “bushukan”). Buddhist’s use this as a lucky charm for happiness and as a religious offering in some ceremonies including as a New Year’s gift.

"Buddhas hand 1" by Kaldari - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddhas_hand_1.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Buddhas_hand_1.jpg

Name

Unknown but the use of 14 botanicals is a reasonably high number compared with the majority of Gins, so the name is a good fit with the ingredients.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is a light aroma of citrus and piney juniper with faint almond. On the palate this relatively smooth spirit has mild juniper, light earthy spice and musky citrus, developing into vanilla and sweet orange and notes with hints of almond. On the close is orange blossom plus a touch of warm pepper (cardamom) and dry juniper in the finish.

A light but still recognizable London Dry Gin and while suitable for drinking neat (over ice with a citrus garnish) it is better used in mixed drinks. In a Gin and Tonic this is subtle and a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1 works best and we recommend a citrus garnish but almonds, cardamom pods, cucumber slices, juniper berries and/or liquorice sticks (even mango) can all be used to good effect. Yet to be tried by us, we have heard using Schweppes Ginger & Cardamom tonic water works very well indeed, let us know your thoughts if you manage to try this. This can work in a Martini but it needs to be a dry one, the thyme supported by the vermouth, and the garnish can be chosen according to the emphasis you wish to create.

A curious Gin in having elements of a light London Dry Gin and the subtle complexity from the number and variety of botanicals. It certainly tries to be many things to many people and sits best for new Gin drinkers and those who seek less juniper than usually found in a classic London Dry Gin. Traditional Gin drinkers may be disappointed by the low juniper presence but may still find it enjoyable on a hot summer’s day.

Awards & Accolades

Silver Medal, International Spirits Challenge, 2013.



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