So an absolute age ago I was sent a sample bottle of the wonderful Trinity Gin made by the gents at Pothecary.
Not long after I received it we moved the gin cabinet and it ended up put at the back and sat there undiscovered until fairly recently.
I made mention of this on social media as I literally rarely take a drink of anything without putting it on there somewhere.
I then started seeing posts about the new Pothecary gin – Cinnamon Twist, Winter 2019. Now… Not only do I love Christmas but I adore everything I can eat or drink that is festively themed… I was keen to find out people’s thoughts on this new gin due to having only recently tasted and subsequently fell in love with Trinity.
Lucky for me Martin (the chap behind Pothecary) saw my interest and offered to send out a sample bottle… A few days later a full sized 50cl bottle turned up at the door – much to my absolute delight.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
Martin Jennings and Lukasz Dwornik have been colleagues for years. They’d worked together for years prior to getting together to create Pothecary. Martin had been a Wine and Spirits Specialist and Lukasz was a Senior Hospitality Manager. With a combined experience of over 37 years in hospitality and drinks these lads decided that they’d had enough of the average gin they were tucking into and decided they could do better… So thats what they set out to achieve!
Pothecary is made in a fairly unusual way – Each botanical is distilled separately prior to being blended together before dilution.
The lads reckon this gives Pothecary it’s high quality and clarity of flavour and smell… Given all this, it’s easy to see why the gin would be different to most… I generally find when someone goes out of their way to change a “standard” process and do something a wee bit different then they end up with something a little different as an end product… And this is certainly the case with Pothecary.
The guys use two 60l copper stills EXCLUSIVELY for juniper and another 40l still that they use for the other botanicals. The process is referred to as “multi-shot distillation” and, although it makes for a longer overall “cooking time” it allows them to have a greater control over what they’re putting out into the world. In addition to that it affords them more flexibility in terms of creating additional products. The botanicals (chosen from over 100) are distilled then blended to the unique Pothecary recipe and diluted to 47% so should pack a good punch… The “regular” Pothercary is distilled to 44.8% FYI.
The guys wanted the branding to reflect the unique feel of the gin they had created all the while championing the quality ingredients used. They decided to package all this lovely stuff into some vintage apothecary style packaging .
It seems as much care has gone into the aesthetic as into the gin itself with the cork stopper taking 3 months to source, design and produce… then just getting the bottle to SEAL took almost the same amount of time.
I think its fair to say that if they spent that long working on the stopper to get it just right then the attention to detail in the liquid itself is going to be off the charts.
I understand Martin has taken over the business now… Given the purchase of the business was a long process it didn’t leave him with a lot of time to concoct a seasonal gin. In order to have something for the winter period he decided to add Ceylon Cinnamon to his Sicillian Blend gin… The idea was supported by the fact that he had received comments about its orange and woody/earthy character so figured it would lend itself well to winter flavours.
As a result of the rush he didn’t have time to create a new bottle and branding etc so he stuck a little banner over the Sicilian Blend label to distinguish it but it’s quite handy as it also highlights the fact that he’s used this as the base…. Also it’s worth noting that the sticker is stuck on perfectly… This is a man who must’ve had sticker albums as a kid!!!
- Lemon Peel
- Organic Orange Peel
- Organic Gentian Root
- Organic Almond
- Ceylon Cinnamon
ABV – 47%
SIZE – 50cl
PRICE – £45-47 depending on the retailer.
I’ve been really excited to sit with this gin and really try to get a feel for it. As I said earlier, I adore Christmas and all themed items that go along with it I generally love… A lot!
The thing I respect the most about Pothecary is their back to basics approach and the understanding that, sometimes, less is more.
On the nose I get a wonderful hit of juniper… This is 100% to be expected from this distiller and I’d have been shocked if juniper HADN’T smacked you about the face right from the get go.
Underneath it you get a lovely buzz from the citrus that is in there. It’s incredibly fresh smelling.
The cinnamon stays quiet for me until the liquid is moving… A swirl about the glass brings the cinnamon scent bounding towards me with that lovely warming, sweet spice…
Tasting this neat the first sip reveals a warm spice that lingers at the tip of my tongue… It FEELS almost peppery but doesn’t taste like it. This moves away and leaves me with a lovely sweet orange flavour that kicks about right at the back. This gin is warm and friendly. It’s like it keeps inviting you back… Incredibly moreish. At 47% is should have a nice heat to it and it does… But doesn’t burn – it’s unbelievably smooth.
Second sip allows me to get the cinnamon flavour a bit… It’s incredibly subtle which surprises me. I think I was expecting this huge cinnamon hit… The issue with that would be that level of flavour could be very polarising so hitting you with a subtle hint of it is very clever.
There is a bitterness to the gin that you would expect from the addition of gentian root (you might recognise it from it’s appearance in Angostura Bitters!) but, again, it’s very subtle.
If I add in a little water the nose becomes sweeter and the flavour freshens a lot. That spicy feeling I was picking up with the gin neat has almost gone entirely. I feel that with the water the citrus is the flavour that’s leading the way… But it’s much sweeter than the citrus from the neat tasting felt.
There’s also a lovely woodiness to the flavour aswell which is smashing and balances out the sweetness from the citrus.
There is still that warmth but, obviously, to a slightly lesser extent. Sometimes I find that the water tasting part of this doesn’t reveal anything that the neat tasting omitted… This is one of those times.
Although I’m not sure it’s been designed to sit and sip on I think you could easily enjoy this little number neat.
How is it in a G&T I hear you yell!!! Lets be honest, that’s sorta the “standard” minimum serve for gin, isn’t it? Rather oddly I found the cinnamon to shine through a little more in this… I garnished it with a slice of orange and I think that really took the cinnamon’s hand and led it happily all the way to my happy tummy. There was a lovely warmth from the spice of the cinnamon then you get a lovely whoosh from the sweet orange…
Just FYI I made the G&T with a 2:1 ratio… Perfection.
Its a lovely G&T… Is it mega festive? Not necessarily but it’s still delicious! Anyway… There IS a festive serve…
I told Martin I was going to do the 12 Gins Of Christmas and intended to include this gin – given that its Christmassy… You see the connection?… Course you do. So he gave me the following serving suggestion for it…
- 30-50ml Pothecary Cinnamon Twist Gin – to taste
- Cup of Chamomile Tea
- Brown Sugar – to taste
Really easy, really warming, perfect for Christmas sipping.
So… Did I enjoy this gin? In short, yes. I think you’d be hard pushed to not taste the high quality of the liquid that’s in this bottle.
I feel with Pothecary it’s easy to see the work and thought thats went into it. Trinity gin has been stripped to its basic essentials… But it’s done so so well that you would never think it only had three ingredients… In its simplicity is a great complexity… Balance. Cinnamon Twist is the same… The botanicals have all been set to exactly the right amount in order to give you and incredibly even tasting. It has spice, it’s a little sweet and it’s festive. Off the back of this I’d be keen to try the Sicilian Blend and compare the two side by side!
I think the main concern with this might be that the cinnamon is too strong but, for me, it is just the perfect amount to give you that feeling of Christmas coming to your house wearing its most garish jumper and giving you a hug. Rest assured the cinnamon is a quiet whisper adding a gentle warmth and reassurance that Santa is on his way.
In short… Get this gin… It’s a necessity.
Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read my review. If you enjoyed it, share it with your pals.
Also thanks again to Martin for being kind enough to send me this bottle out… I’m very grateful.
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Hope you all have the most spiffy of Christmasses and be on your toes for another review imminently but also for my top gins of 2019 which will hit between Christmas and New Year.