June 4, 2007

Whitley Neill Gin Review

A man more clever than us recently noted that if people keep monkeying around with vodka and adding more and more flavors, pretty soon they'll invent gin. That might not be such a bad thing - gin was a popular libation among drunkards for a lot of years, but with in recent years vodka has slipped in and taken hold of a lot of its market niche. Some folks have decided they want some additional complexity in their flavored white spirit, and they're doing some very interesting things with gin.

Not the least of these is Whitley Neill, a gin "inspired by Africa, made in England." With nine different botanicals in it, it's not designed to club you over the head with juniper as some gins have been known to do. Plus, it contains fruit from the Baobab tree - how can you go wrong with something distilled from the "Tree of Life?"

Read on for the full review.

Whitley Neill
London Dry Gin
84 Proof (42% ABV)
Typical Price: About $30 for 750ML

The Company Line:

The secret of Whitley Neill Gin's incomparable taste and unforgettable aromas lies in the purity of the alcohol and the proportion of botanicals used in each distillation. The alcohol used in our Gin is superior quality grain with a purity of at least 96%. The botanicals used in our London Dry Gin include our signature African botanicals Baobab Fruit and Cape Gooseberries and the following more traditional ones:
Cut and dried Angelica root from Western Europe, Dried Lemon peels from Spain, Dried Orange peels from Spain, Cassia bark from South East Asia, Florentine Iris (Orris Root) powder from Italy, Coriander seeds from Western Europe and Juniper berries from Tuscany and Umbria in Italy.

The Look:
A squat, rounded bottle with a stylized Baobab tree on the label - it's elegant and warm, with a distintive profile. The gin itself was very clear and without sediment, with some nice legs as we poured it into the glass.

The Nose:
The first whiff was floral and citrusy, and we detected coriander and juniper, but they didn't punch us in the nose. We haven't smelled things like Baobab and Gooseberries before, but we did get a whiff of orange as well. Overall we were very much intrigued by the scent.

The Taste:
Exotic is the word of the day. Citrus came to play first, followed by a fresh, subtle, complex finish. Once again, we couldn't identify all of the botanicals but they mingled very will with each other and made for an extraordinary drinking experience. Our favorite was a slightly dry martini, as well as a gin and tonic made very light on the tonic.

The Verdict:
We loved the departure from your typical run of the mill gin, and while it was true to the exotic nature of its ingredients, it exhibited some good, old fashioned English restraint at the same time. If you're a gin lover, don't pass this one up in the liquor store - you won't regret your trip to Africa by way of London.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at June 4, 2007 6:46 PM
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