You know that way you take up gin drinking, right? Then about a year later you join social media and start posting about gin? And you know that way certain things stick out when you’re scrolling through your timelines and really catch you eye? Well… That’s Brentingby.
I flirted outRAGEOUSLY with Brentingby on social media… That copper bottle just made me fall in love… I hadn’t even tried the liquid but when that much love is put into simple “packaging” the contents must be something special… You wouldn’t wrap your best china in a carrier bag, would you?
I saw that Brentingby were going to the Gin To My Tonic Festival in Glasgow and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. FINALLY I was going to get to try this gin. Also I was looking forward to meeting Bruce, the man behind the brand. I’d spoke to Bruce a few times through social media and enjoyed his passion for what he does so I was excited to, hopefully, get to meet him… Which I did.
The first thing that’s important for you to be aware of is the extent of the passion Bruce Midgley, the man responsible for Brentingby Gin, has for not just his brand but craft gin distillation in general. I’ve had quite a few chats with Bruce about various things and his insights are always interesting and coming from a place of love for his industry and his brand.
Brentingby came about in 2016. The idea was born while Bruce was offshore in West Africa. He then trained for two years, designed and ordered stills, got licences… The gin itself launched in 2018.
The idea to make gin was, in part, because it brought back memories of Bruce’s mum who loved gin. In addition to this the challenge of making a really good gin was appealing;
“Making gin is easy however, to make a great gin is very difficult and I love the idea of trying to do something challenging and difficult” – Bruce Midgley
As super talented as Bruce is he says he can’t take all the credit;
“There are my two go to people in the industry, they know who they are and they keep me right, I am forever grateful to them and will always be grateful, getting Tom’s time and learning is the best thing that happened, he has forgotten more than I know”
Brentingby and its branding is something that I very much enjoyed reading about. It’s like the time I asked the guy I was working with about his tattoo sleeve. Every little detail meant something to him and it all had a story. So… Lets discuss the branding and symbology on Brentingby and what it all means to Bruce… First the name. Brentingby is the little hamlet in Melton Mowbray where Bruce and his distillery live.
The logo for the brand itself contains a hibiscus flower… This represents the Hibiscus Coast of Durban, South Africa where Bruce is from. Already between the name and the logo we’ve got the two places that Bruce would call home. The bottle itself is INSTANTLY recognisable due to it’s stunning copper colour. The colour was chosen to represent the still. Brentingby is distilled in a copper still called Ayanda. The name means ‘proliferation’ or ‘augment’ in isiZulu… Another nod in the direction of Bruce’s background.
Photo credit Sean Graham
To achieve the amazing liquid that you’re currently drinking when you buy a bottle of Brentingby took over 100 distillations. The distillation process isn’t too time consuming, however, each batch is allowed to rest as this lets the botanicals combine and open up prior to being bottled which does mean that Brentingby takes a little longer than some gins to complete. Each batch makes about 500 bottles.
Brentingby is also environmentally friendly and looks to use sustainable energy at every opportunity. They use a wind turbine to generate electricity, up-cycle bottles, offer refills of your current bottle for a reduced price at the distillery, reuse the botanicals in compost and capture rain water among other eco-friendly practices… To name but a few things!
- Birch Bark
- Liquorice Root
- Orange Peel
- Pink Grapefruit
ABV – 45%
Size – 70cl
RRP – £36.95
Based – Leicestershire, UK
So now that we know a little about Brentingby… Let’s see how it tastes…
On the nose (that’s easily two reviews in a row I’ve used that phrase now… almost seems like I know what I’m doing…) I get the juniper, its always reassuring when you get a sniff of juniper! There’s also a citrus hit.
On my first taste of the liquid neat I notice a lovely heat as it goes down. There’s the initial punch from the juniper, as that drifts off I pick up the liquorice.
When water is added (1:1 ratio) the juniper is still the first thing that hits but its much more subtle to me… The dominant flavour I get with the water tasting is that liquorice… At the very end (like the very very end, ie moments after it’s down my gullet) at the back of my tongue I felt something almost citrus come in at the last second. There’s also a sweetness there that I’m not sure how to identify but its very subtle.
When put in a G&T I find that the tonic brings the citrus side out. Although there is still that juniper hit at the front. It becomes an incredibly refreshing drink… The rosemary and grapefruit garnish really adds to the overall beauty of the drink. The grapefruit will bring out the botanical in the gin itself (potentially explaining why I find the citrus to be more prevalent) and the rosemary, for me, just delights my sense of smell as I LOVE the smell of rosemary… It does add a little rosemary goodness to the overall drink but, for me, its more a sensory experience for my nose than my tastebuds.
My personal ratio for this G&T would be in the region of 1:2 tonic to gin. My other tip would be to burn your rosemary if you are able as the sensory experience from that is out of this world.
Essentially Brentingby is a juniper forward gin which is followed up by the flavours of citrus and liquorice. When having it as a long drink its one that you’ll finish all too quickly… But will refill almost right away… The downside to this is that the bottle empties a little quicker than you’d like!
If you generally do the 3:1 ratio in your G&T I’d recommend trying 2:1 in the first instance as the gin really is stunning and it’s worth letting it shine a little more.
The gin has been created and made by a guy that eats, sleeps and breathes his craft… If you are fortunate enough to meet and speak with Bruce you’ll instantly be caught up in his passion. The way I see it is with that kind of love for what you’re doing, plus the know-how, plus the facilities to do what you need to do… The end product is only ever going to be amazing.
It’s worth hanging about this week because I’ll hopefully have a wonderful Q&A with the man himself for you guys to get to know him a little and to expand on the information in this review a bit… I say “should” because I’ll be away from home at a treatment facility getting my back fixed (fingers crossed!!) and I don’t know what the wi-fi will be like… Add to that this laptop can be a little awkward so it’ll be down to it wanting to connect aswell.