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Review

Mombasa Club
Colonel's Reserve Gin

Distillery

Made by Thames Distillers, Clapham, London, England, UK for Unesdi Distribuciones S.A., El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz, Spain.

Website

Mombasa Gin (in Spanish) and Unesdi Distribuciones (in Spanish).

History

Mombasa (technically an Island) is found in South East Kenya and is the country’s second largest city. It is a naturally deep seaport on the Indian Ocean creating important trade links for the East coast of Africa. From the 1600’s to the late 1800’s it faced a turbulent tug of war for ownership between the Arabic State of Oman and Portugal, predominately for the possession of the port, and subsequent control of trade. In 1885 it was agreed the British Empire would help protect Kenya to maintain peace and stability, creating the British East Africa Protectorate of Kenya. This lasted until 1920 when the Colony of Kenya was established and finally, in 1963 it gained full independence, becoming the Republic of Kenya.

It was with the establishment of the East African Protectorate, with Mombasa as it’s capital, that the Army Officers, engineers (building a railway to Uganda), Civil Servants, Royal Naval Officers etc. needed a social gathering place. Thus in 1885 the members only “Mombasa Club” was born. Now, where the British went Gin was sure to follow, due to making it with Tonic Water to combat Malaria. So the Club had their own Gin made in England, bottled and shipped to Mombasa for the consumption and enjoyment of its members. We’re not certain when the club ceased using their own Gin but we believe this Gin was launched in 2013, several years after their original sibling Mombasa Club Gin was released.

The Mombasa Club is still thriving, although it exists among a different environment today. Mombasa is a thriving tourist hub with sandy beaches and resort hotels to the North and South. There are also popular tourist destinations 50 miles to the south: a Marine National Park and a small group of Islands (including Zanzibar, just off the coast of Tanzania) often referred to as the Spice Islands.

Thames Distillers is run by Charles Maxwell who is the 8th generation of the family (founders of the Finsbury Distillery) who have been producing Gin since 1700 – making them the oldest unbroken lineage in Gin distillation.

Production

The gin is produced in a 500-liter John Dore & Co. copper pot still called “Tom Thumb”. It is made in small batches using neutral grain spirit, and is distilled three times. Then the botanicals are steeped for 48 hours before the fourth and final distillation. The resultant distillate is shipped to Spain in bulk, blended with local water and bottled.

The Gin is presented in a rounded white opaque “jug” bottle (with the requisite finger hook) and screen printed in black colored text and graphics (similar to the label found on the original Mombasa Club Gin).

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

43% (86 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$. Not available in the USA, it is predominantly made for the Spanish market. We haven’t been able to find a suitable supplier to ship to the USA.

Botanicals

We believe the botanicals used are slightly different to their original Mombasa Club Gin and may be at least 7, including: caraway seeds, cassia bark, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin, juniper berries and orris root.

Name

Named after the Mombasa Club in Kenya and General Sir Alfred Astley Pearson. In 1896, as Colonel of 124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan Infantry (part of the British Indian Army) Pearson led his battalion to the British East Africa Protectorate and successfully managed to suppress a rebellion. As a result he was decorated with the Order of the Brilliant Star of Zanzibar, awarded by the Sultan of Zanzibar.

Tasting Notes

Unfortunately we have not tasted this yet, so are unable to provide any details. It will be interesting to see how it compares with their original Mombasa Club Gin.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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