One of the first gins that was introduced after the renewed interest in gins in the 90s, was Martin Miller’s. According to the brand’s story, Mr. Miller sat in a bar, contemplating on life with some good friends over a mediocre gin & tonic, when the idea of creating his own brand of gin sprang to mind. Miller was a photographer-turned-antiques connoisseur-turned-hotel owner, and had a good perception of the historic value of gin.
The 6 main botanicals in this gin are distilled in “Angela”, copper pot still built in 1904 by John Doore. The 3 stages of pot still-distillation are named Heads, Heart and Tails. The first part contains very strong alcohol and harsh flavours. The second part is the best part, well balanced. The third part is lower in alcohol and weaker in flavours. It is very common to re-use the heads and tails in a new distillation-cycle, but these are not re-used for Martin Miller’s, that only uses the heart of the distillate. The dried peels of the citrusfruits (Orange, lemon and lime) are distilled separately after which they are blended with the ‘base-spirit’.
To finalize the product, Martin Miller’s is blended with Icelandic water: in his vision this is the softest and purest water. On top of that, the Icelandic people believe that water is a living entity and has a spirit.
The bottle: The long and slender bottle displays the countries England and Iceland with a dotted line connecting these 2 with the background of longitude/latitude lines. It also displays the 6 main botanicals: Iris, Juniper, Cassia, Liquorice, Coriander and Angelica.
The nose: Strong juniper and angelica hit the nose immediately, waking up your senses. There’s a sweet undertone of liquorice, cinnamon and orange in the nose and some fresh notes of lemon and coriander.
If you leave the neat spirit in the glass for a little while, the citrus notes become more apparent.
The contents: The gin really blossoms in the mouth, with all classic gin tastes there: the juniper gives a pleasant sting, with the orris mellowing this nicely and connecting it at the same time with the sweeter notes I mentioned above. The different expressions of citrus play a more dominant role in the taste: orange, lemon and lime come in after the first juniper hit.
Note: this is the first gin of which my lovely Misses Cocktail says that it’s almost too good to mix, because it tastes amazing when drunk neat.
The mixability: Martin Miller’s is a great ingredient for mixing drinks, even though the Misses might disagree. Classic cocktails like the White Lady and Tom Collins should taste great. I tried it in the Dry Martini, stirred with Martini Extra Dry, lemon bitters and a lemon zest.
But my main focus is of course with Tonic Water:
Fever Tree: These tastes combined generate more bitterness and a more earthy taste, which are a great addition to the taste. The citrus notes get a lot of room to flourish, mainly the orange which give it a long and sweet aftertaste.
Fentiman’s: The taste of this mix is a bit more soft than with Fever Tree, with a long and citrussy aftertaste. The bitters are more dominant,
1724: I had to use a little bit more gin to balance this mix, although the 1724 is the softest-tasting tonic water of these 3. The mix really benefits from adding fresh lemon to it
Overall: This is a true gem, and highly recommendable! It is both challenging for the very experienced and demanding gin-drinker and highly accessible for new members for the gin-appreciating part of the world. I’m very glad to have this spirit in my collection, to quench my appetite for juniper!