After a long weekend, this day feels like a Sunday to me, that’s why I probably postponed the G&T Sunday posting to today. It’s been a great weekend and I celebrated being married to the Mrs for 1 year exactly last Saturday and treated our guests to a nice amount of G&T’s, which were happily accepted. The next day we enjoyed a friends’ birthday in the park in Amsterdam where we also filled the booze table with 2 nice transparent blue bottles of gin accompanied with some quality tonic. Again, people were happy with this. The gin-craze is slowly starting in Holland, a good 250 years after it ended in the UK (which was 1757 in case you’d like to know).
For this G&T review I choose The Botanist, which had been looking at me for some time from the spirit cabinet. Of course this wasn’t the first time for me to mix it at all, but sitting down and really describing what happens in several mixes is a different ballgame from enjoying one in the sun while reading.
This gin is created by the Bruichladdich Distillery which is located on the Isle of Islay, in the North-West of Scotland. This area is famous for it’s peaty whiskies and this distillery has always been in the centre of innovation since it’s opening in 1881. The still which produces The Botanist is a Lomond Still, the very last of its kind and affectionately called Ugly Betty. This is a steam powered, low-pressure still which takes 17 hours to complete the distillation cycle. And this gin requires two of them: 1 for the ‘standard’ gin botanicals and 1 to infuse the 22 local botanicals in the gin.
The result in taste is a complex, yet strangely accessible gin. The nose contains a lot of sweetness and freshness from the flowers, fruit, herbs and spices: there’s chamomile and elderflower, orange and mint. The juniper in this gin is quite strong, but never overpowering. In the mouth there’s all these herbs that work together and the huge range of wild flowers they are using work their magic here. Getting the right ingredients at exactly the right time is a proof of intimate knowledge of local vegetation by the distiller. The one that stays there in the aftertaste in the mint (peppermint and water mint leaves). My taste buds are not that refined, so naming all ingredients is too far fetched for me, but you can find the complete list of botanicals on this great gin-blog (but please keep reading mine as well).
Schweppes Tonic: The Botanist benefits quite well from the strong bitter and sweet notes in Schweppes although it struggles to keep itself upright next to this tonic at some moments. The floral notes still shine through and the complexity of the gin still shows.
Fever Tree: These 2 meet each other in a soft and sweet middle taste, which works towards a slightly bitter aftertaste with long floral notes and a lovely taste of mint. I used a slice of lemon to balance the drink more.
Fentiman’s: The Botanist is quite low in citrus taste and benefits really well from the stronger citric notes in Fentiman’s Tonic. This tonic water contains kaffir lime and lemon and balances this gin in a great way. The sweet and floral notes in the gin get all the room they need to come through and are nicely balanced by the quinine.
Conclusion: The tonic water that compliments The Botanist best is Fentiman’s Tonic: in gins with higher levels of citrus notes (could be from lemon, coriander, orange etc) this tonic water tends to overpower, but here they go together just fine!
How to: I mixed 50 mls of The Botanist Gin with 100 ml tonic water in a longdrink filled with icecubes. For garnishing I used a lemonwedge. I tried it with lime, but found this too strong for my taste. I also tried orange and orangepeel and these proved to be quite pleasant as well, taking the drink to a sweeter side. If you prefer an ever more herbal taste, I tried it with a sprig of thyme which worked very nice as well.