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Review

Whitley Neill Gin

Distillery

Johnny Neill of Whitley Neil Ltd, Sovereign Distillery, Halewood International Ltd, Liverpool, England, UK. According to many sources Langley Distillery makes it but we suspect it was initially produced there before partnering with Halewood International.

Website

Whitley Neill and Halewood International.

History

Johnny Neill is a member of the Greenall Whitley family, famous for their spirit and beer production (G & J Greenall International).

Launched in 2005 the Gin is inspired by the creator’s African wife and uses 2 botanicals from Africa. 5% of all profits are donated to Tree Aid, a UK based charity helping the poor in Africa become self-sustaining, through the agriculture of trees and other similar supportive activities.

Production

Established in 2004, the distillery produces traditional small batches from 100% grain spirit, using two antique copper pot stills (which are over 100 years old). The botanicals are steeped overnight before final distillation.

In summer 2013 the packaging changed from a clear bottle to a round squat black frosted bottle. In the center is a gold screen-printed image of the Baobab Tree (Tree of Life) and Whitley Neill in medium sized gold writing also. At the bottom is a horizontal white colored oblong label.

Category

Distilled Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

42% (84 Proof).

Price Range

$$ - $$$. Available in many US states but not all!

Botanicals

9 botanicals: angelica root (Western Europe), baobab fruit (from the African “Tree of Life” and taste like tart & acidic oranges), cape gooseberries (Africa), cassia bark (South East Asia), coriander seeds (Western Europe), juniper berries (Tuscany & Umbria, Italy and India), lemon peel (Spain), orange peel (Spain) and orris root powder (Italy).

Name

A combination of the founders surname and his connection to the Greenall Whitley family.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is pine-like juniper and spicy citrus (orange) with floral/tropical fruits. On the palate is an unfamilar tropical citrus flavour (cape gooseberries and baobab fruit) and juniper with pepper and spice. This is a light, mellow, medium bodied Gin; with subtle silky notes throughout and nicely balanced.

This is a Gin with a difference, whilst all the classic notes of a Gin are here, it manages to have a tropical (or exotic) aspect to it – making it stand out in a crowd. Does well in a Gin & Tonic (try going without the lemon slice) and particularly well in a Martini. There are a host of mixed drinks one could experiment with – we suspect fruit based ones should prove interesting but also look toward ones with Tea.

For the classic Gin lover do not be put off by how this sounds, give it a try, it might just transport you to another place. Think evening time, sun soaked from a day being on an African safari, having completed your ablutions and feeling refreshed with a change of clothes, just before dinner…well this is the drink to start the night with. Start sipping and listen to the sounds from the bush as darkness descends…the day could not be more complete – especially as you are donating to a great charity too!

Awards & Accolades

95 Points, Wine Enthusiast.

91 Points, Beverage Testing Institute.

Master Medal, Gin Masters, 2013.

Gold Medal, International Spirits Challenge, 2013.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2011.

Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2010.

Gold Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2009.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009.

Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2008.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2008.

Gold Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2007.

Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2007.



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