So… It’s been a while… How’ve you been? You’re looking well.
I know what you’re thinking… The internet and blogging world has seemed a little emptier of late… Unfortunately life got in the way and I wasn’t able to devote any time to fire up some of my quality musings.
I’m kicking off my reviews with the Four Pillars Spiced Negroni. The very simple reason for this being the first one is that I’m having it tonight in a cocktail and figured I’d put in my thoughts on that aswell into the review… So you’ll get it reviewed as the G&T and in this little cocktail… Tremendous… Two for one!
Know that way there’s a huge brand and everyone raves about it but you hadn’t heard of it because you’re absolutely brand new, fresh out the wrapper in the gin world? That was me when folk were buzzing about the Four Pillars X Herno gin a gin club sent out a few months back… I had no idea what the fuss was about… Until I tried it. It has been my mission since then to sample both brands… I haven’t really managed that to be totally honest… Until last week when I invaded the Gin To My Tonic Festival in Glasgow’s SECC. When I read that Four Pillars were in attendance I could not have been more excited. In fact it was one of the first stands I visited. Add to that I had decided that I was going to try and become pals with the Negroni… THEN add to that the fact I’d seen a dynamite looking cocktail on telly literally a few days before that used this gin…. Everything was lining up nicely for this gin to be coming home with me.
Four Pillars was set up by Stuart Gregor (PR, sales, communications etc), Matt Jones (branding) and Cameron Mackenzie (distiller) in an effort to help people drink better.
Four Pillars get their name from the four pillars from which they base their brand:
STILLS – They have Wilma (450L, named after Cameron’s late mother), Jude (600L, named after Stuart’s mum) and Eileen (50L, named after Matt’s mum). Wilma fires out 460 bottles of gin per batch and ALL of these are individually labelled and numbered. Wilma gives out a liquid that is 93.5% ABV… Unbelievable.
WATER – The distillery is in the Yarra Valley where the water is among the best in the world.
BOTANICALS – Self explanatory I suppose and we’ll get more detail on these in a bit.
LOVE – The guys love and have an amazing commitment to craft. They support their local industry from cocktail bars to artists. They want “to be something special to a few special someones”.
In 2013 they launched their first gin – Rare Dry Gin. Six months later they released their first limited run gin which was the Barrel Aged Gin. Since then they’ve brought out an amazing variety of gins including their navy strength, Bloody Shiraz, Modern Australian Gin and the Spiced Negroni Gin we’ll be looking at today.
The base botanicals the guys use are;
Both of these are dry.
They also use whole oranges.
With the Spiced Negroni Gin they use fresh blood oranges and ginger in the botanical basket.
ABV – 43.8%
Size – 70cl
RRP – £37.35
Based – Healesville, Yarra Valley, Australia
The first thing you notice, as always, is the bottle and label design. The label is simplistic but eyecatching. It’s clear whats inside. The bottle itself, again, is very simple with only the four dots (presumably representing the four pillars) embossed on the bottle above the label.
Once opened a little ring remains under the cap showing some batch information which is kinda cool.
So I poured some into a little glass and passed it near my nose and took a little sniff… What I got in the first instance was the orange… I felt that I could pick up something that felt like spice but I couldn’t identify the specific spice.
Then I sampled it neat. First holding it in my mouth for a few seconds, swallowing then taking a secondary sip. The first thing I got, again, were the oranges. I then got a little hit of the cinnamon finishing with the warmth of ginger… I think.
Then I added a little water… AGAIN the orange… These oranges are so powerful through the drink… I like it! Then I got the cinnamon again but this time the end felt like pepper… In my humble opinion.
Although its a gin that’s been “designed” to be used in a negroni it lends itself very well to a classic G&T… Which is just as well because its my top number one way to consume liquid… OF ALL TIME!!
In a G&T I find that there is a lovely sweetness that sits at the back of my tongue while the citrus hits at the front… I know that this gin’s destiny maybe wasn’t to be mixed with tonic but I think, if you have this gin, you absolutely should try it in a G&T… It’s quite different to most of the gins you’ll enjoy… I guarantee you that.
The cocktail I enjoyed it in was a Negroni Spritz which was on the Sunday Brunch TV show in the UK a couple of weeks back and was created by Olivier Ward of the Gin Foundry (Gin Foundry Twitter).
The recipe for it is:
50ml Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin
Top up with grapefruit tonic (I used Fentimans)
I garnished with a dried orange wheel and rosemary.
I’m trying to dabble with the negroni right now but its still a tad on the bitter side for me but this is perfect… It’s like a little introduction to it… You have the bitterness from the Campari but the tonic balances it out. I reckon if a negroni took a sweet gin and tonic out to dinner… It went well… They went out a few more times… Took it to the next level and got serious… Eventually got married… Then had a wee baby… It would be this… This drink would be their offspring. This is a stunning drink that I cannot wait to share with others during the summer at my garden shindigs!
Essentially this is a beautifully spiced gin which has a lovely sweetness from the blood oranges. It’s built for a negroni to stand up to the Campari. I’ve heard that it does that job wonderfully well, however, given I’ve had one negroni in my life (I’m planning to have more!) I’m not the person to really judge this… Hence the negroni spritz cocktail.
I think it’s important to note that although there is a spice to this gin its not like Ophir and similar gins… This is definitely in it’s own league.
The only question is which gin will it push out the way on your shelf when it takes pride of place?