Review: Edinburgh Gin.

You can leave me on the shelf,
I’m an Edinburgh man myself.


Edinburgh Gin.

Every now and then it’s a good idea to re-evaluate your house spirits. Why? Well, some spirits can be re-formulated by the manufacturer over time. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Also, tastes change: for example your palate can become more developed with practice – and ageing. And thirdly new products may become available to you that you would be wise to evaluate to see if they have a place as your baseline spirit. The gin market is particularly diverse and fragmented with an almost constant deluge of new gins coming to market and gins are particularly difficult to evaluate without tasting as there is no age statement to guide you as there is with brown spirits. Additionally price is not always a good indication of quality in Ginland. And, yes, you’ve guessed it, it is time for me to evaluate a gin that is new-ish to me to see if it might become my (and perhaps your) standard house pour – as far as that is possible with gin. For a long time Tanqueray was my choice but in recent years I’ve drifted around without having a fixed choice which is simply unacceptable of me (bows head). In Cocktailista mode I require such a gin to be outstanding in cocktails and not just in a gin and tonic which is not always an easy balancing act. In this role I’m certainly not looking for anything to whacky of flavour hence the timeless London Dry style is where we’ll be going.

Edinburgh gin has been in my gin selection for a little while now and I’m trying to decide whether to enthrone is as my house mixing gin or not which requires some analysis. You may as well benefit from my musings and I sincerely promise not to be be too biased by being Edinburgh born myself. Edinburgh Gin Distillery make quite a number of different  gins but I’m evaluating their standard offering which is a classic London Dry style as is attested to on the label. In recent times the label has had something of a facelift from the rather dull previous version and we have a nice painting of some of the botanicals used on the front. The clear bottle is attractive and practical with a foil sealed cork and plastic stopper which is all just fine for it’s mid-priced market position. Between the bottle and the website we have a partial list of the 14 botanicals used: Juniper, pine buds, lemongrass, mulberries, orange peel and lavender. The picture on the bottle hints at thistle and some other flowers but that may be no more than a bit of artistic licence. ABV is a healthy 43% which is always preferable to those cost cutting gins that bottle at 40% or the legal UK  minimum gawd-’elp-us of 37.5%. Let’s see how this all stacks up!

An exploratory sniff doesn’t reveal a great deal. A little juniper of course but then only mildly and then some peppery notes beneath. Sipped I immediately get a nice peppery hit which I always like in a gin. Other flavours are difficult to pinpoint but merge together very well and I’m reminded of my very favourite gin Etsu which pulls off the same trick. In my view this is very welcome in a gin in this time where flavoured gins (sigh) are on the rampage. It does, however, make it a little difficult to describe. Importantly the gin is well balanced and not too bitter nor too sweet. Orange always goes a long way to temper bitterness if used judiciously and I suspect the mulberry may too. It doesn’t come over as too floral which was a concern of mine and I was happy enough to not detect much influence from the lavender which is a flavour I generally dislike. The combined effect is of a bold and flavourful spirit and as one who dabbles in making gin it’s clear to me that the makers have not skimped on the botanicals nor otherwise watered (or ethanolled) down what comes off the still. There are no huge surprises or quirks here, just a very well made and balanced gin at the very centre of the gin flavour gamut – which bodes well for my expectations for a house standard gin. So far so good but how does it fare in a G&T or a cocktail? Mixing it with some Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic and a swathe of orange peel was a delightful experience and it shined just as well with a more neutral tonic and a lime garnish. In cocktails its inherent boldness was a great benefit in a Bee’s Knees cutting through the lemon and honey where some more subtle gins fall flat. On the aromatic side of the spectrum an EG based Gin and It stood up well to the Italian vermouth and finally a sneaky sip of Mrs Proof’s requested Bramble further convinced me that Edinburgh gin is a very mixable spirit. In my area a 700ml bottle of Edinburgh gin costs about €25* which is a fair price for such a tasty and versatile gin. Yes, Edinburgh gin is now my house gin and scores a straight:


*I tend to pick a bottle up when I pass through Edinburgh airport where you can get a litre for just a shade more. The bottle in the picture is indeed the larger of those sizes.

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