Whitley Neill Gin: Like Jean Claude Van Damme has just delivered an aromatic shoe to your face! But in a damn good way.
Right, let’s get stuck into this quick because Whitley Neill gin is that good, you should already be pouring it down your neck and we don’t want you to waste any time.
So first, let’s hit you guys with this gin’s facts. This multiple award-winning gin is handcrafted in small batches by the amiable Johnny Neill using Constance, his 100-year-old copper pot still. Descendent of Thomas Greenall and 4th generation gin maker, Johnny has taken inspiration from Africa, with help from his wife, and pulled a couple of gems out of the botanical bag. So alongside coriander seed, angelica root, lemon peel, sweet orange peel, cassia bark, Florentine irris and Macedonian juniper berries, Johnny has added African essence to the mix in the form of the Cape gooseberry and fruit of the Boabab tree. But we’ll get down with that later.
First we’ll explore its scent. Well, it was hard to prize our nose away from the glass! The aromas from this gin are amazing. Fresh, citrusy, well balanced and smooth, it has a great hit of spice and a whisper of floral tones too. But that wasn’t the best bit.
This was. We don’t think our mouth knew what happened to it because on first taste you get completely uppercutted by a wonderful warmth of spice, like Jean Claude Van Damme has just delivered an aromatic shoe to your face! But in a good way. A damn good way.
This is then chased up with a fresh citrusy burst of flavour, and this is where their unique African extras come in. But first we must declare some honesty. So, we’ve never tasted fruit from a Boabab Tree, hell we’ve never even heard of it before nor have we been to Africa for that matter, (yeah we know, it’s on our to do list!) but we didn’t want to let that stop us so we got our heads down and did some research. Our results? Well the taste is in kin to that of a grapefruit, but softer and less overbearing. And this is what gives this gin its essence and that well deserved kick out of the crowd. It adds that gusty, citrusy burst without overpowering the other botanicals.
That is what’s quite faultless about this gin. It extremely well balanced. The orange peel gives it a nice little lift, whist the coriander seeds add a dash of pepperiness and the juniper is not too bossy either.
It’s comparatively sweet considering it’s a ‘dry’ gin but not in a ‘I’ve just eaten the entire contents of a kids sweet shop’ kind of way, more of a grown up, sophisticated bitter-sweetness, helped along by their other African-trick-up-their-sleeve, the Cape Gooseberry.
So what makes this gin stand out? Well for us it’s the complexity of the citrus flavours. The crispness of the Andalucía sweet lemon and orange peel moulds well with the formidable Boabab fruit, and the Cape gooseberry adds a wonderful sharpness that gives Whitley Neill this third dimension. But this citrus burst doesn’t over shadow the other botanicals. They sit happily side by side with the hit of warmth you get from the cassia bark, the spice from the coriander seeds and the sweetness from the Florentine irris and junipers. So when these flavours are rounded off by the velvety finish delivered ever so gracefully by the angelica root, you can see why this is such a well-balanced gin.
It has a great lingering quality too; like that kiss you got off that French exchange student you’d been eying up for a while, yeah that one!
Oh and one last thing, we have to admire its statuesque design. It’s imperative. Recently rebranded, this exquisitely designed bottle, adorned in matte black, displays sharp branding, hot typography and just super smart design. For the cool kid in you, keep this one out in the open and you’ll have everyone swooning at your next party. Even more so once you’ve served it up.
We freaking love it.
14th May 2015