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Review

NB Gin

Distillery

NB Distillery Ltd., North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland, UK.

Website

NB Gin

History

Married corporate lawyers Vivienne and Steve Muir started on a journey to create a Gin, with the development stage beginning in 2011. With much work and research, including final taste trials with people like the legendary Charles Maxwell (and Gema Zaragoza) of Thames Distillers, they launched their Gin in the fall of 2013. In the first 4-months they sold 3,000 bottles, this total rising to 5,000 bottles within the first 7-months. These numbers may not seem high but for a first time micro distillery run by people already employed elsewhere this was remarkable. Today Viv Muir has become the full time CEO responsible for sales & marketing, supported by her brother overseeing production and her husband as their part time distiller.

Production

Produced from a spirit base of British grown grain and made in small batches of around 25 US gallons (less than 100 liters). They use a custom Copperhead Still made and installed by the oldest still makers in the world, John Dore & Co. During installation one of the pipes was knocked, creating a kink in it. This has been left uncorrected and is now part of the character responsible for making the unique taste of their Gin.

The Gin is presented in a tall clear round bottle with curved shoulders and sports a large white rectangular label. This is supported with a simple and clean (understated) design in black colored text, including “NB Gin” clearly written at the top and a small nautical anchor and chain image at the center.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

42% (84 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$ - $$$$$. Available in the UK and a growing number of mainland European countries. International purchases can be achieved with Master of Malt in the UK but expect to add around 40% extra for shipping costs.

Botanicals

Uses 8 botanicals including: angelica root, cardamom, cassia bark, coriander seed, grains of paradise, juniper berries, lemon peel and orris root.

Name

NB is an abbreviation for North Berwick, the location in Scotland where the Gin is made. North Berwick is a quiet seaside town found at the mouth of the Firth of Forth, about 30 miles North East of Edinburgh. It has been known for it’s golf course built in 1832, been dubbed the “Biarritz of the North” and today is a thriving Mecca for artisans of all types – an ideal home for a true craft distillery.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is pine (juniper) with citrus and traces of spice. On the palate this light creamy spirit has clear juniper with citrus lemon (coriander) plus hints of herbal earthiness (angelica and orris). On the close the juniper lessens while the citrus changes to orange (cassia) with lingering warm sweet peppery spice (cardamom, cinnamon and grains of paradise) in the long finish. Although this may not feel like a complex Gin it is understated, being nicely balanced and rounded, uncomplicated in its delivery and possessing genuine interest.

This is a traditional London Dry and should be liked by classic Gin drinkers for its juniper presence, but it also manages to portray some elements of a contemporary Gin style with its range of flavors. It is smooth and bright, creating an easy sipping Gin (either neat or with ice) and it is here all of the botanicals can be found within easy reach, a pleasing discovery for a Gin with 8 botanicals. Strangely its character was somewhat muted in a Gin and Tonic, with more of the crisp citrus (mostly lemon) coming through, and this negated the need for any citrus garnish. Meanwhile in a Martini the juniper was nicely maintained and it showed a very pleasant degree of sweet spice from the cinnamon. The peppery spice matched well in a Gimlet but for all round warmth of personality, the Negroni was the real winner with NB.

Overall this is a very nice Gin with good versatility and has a clear recommendation from us. Raising it from the mediocre are the nuances and twists it displays in it flavor profile and the evident quality of production. This is true understated elegance and the Muirs should be rightly pleased in this, their first spirit to market, and we look forward to more in the future from NB.

Awards & Accolades

Silver Medal San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015.

“Best London Dry Gin”, The World Drinks Awards, 2015.

Silver Medal, Gin Masters, 2014.

“Most innovative new product”, East Lothian Food & Drink Awards, 2014.



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