Gin Botanical: Angelica Root.
Angelica root is one of three common root-botanicals of gin. These are often used as fixatives for lighter, more volatile flavours, stabilising these volatile flavours and helping the different oils to blend.
Roots typically add earthy base-notes to the finished gin but they also add sweetness.
Roots are usually some of the harder flavours to identify in a gin and Angelica is probably the hardest (for me, at least).
- Angelica is a genus of plants that number around 60 distinct species. The most commonly encountered (and I think the one used most commonly in gin) is Garden Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
- The stems of Angelica are crystalised and used as cake decoration (I used to love this as a kid but was never allowed to eat much, as it was so expensive).
- Angelica and Water Hemlock are not dissimilar in appearance and grow in similar environments. Water Hemlock is rather poisonous, so make sure you are certain of the difference if you want to harvest Angelica from the wild.
On the nose, Angelica is sweet and fragrant with the slightest hints of vanilla. Otherwise, it is fairly undistinguished on the nose. Fairly expected from an earthy base-nose really.
The attack, body and finish of Angelica are all sweet.
The attack has a light delicate, fragrant note to the creamy sweetness which compliments that of juniper.
The body has a toffee-like vanilla flavour with herbal undertones and the finish is a long, lingering sweetness with an odd dry contradictory element to it.
Perplexed by how hard it is for me to identify angelica, I plundered the pure distillate from a Sacred Open Sauce kit. This really helped isolate the flavour of angelica from the effect it has on the base gin.
On its own there’s a lot less of the end-to-end sweetness. There’s a brief flash of anise in the attack, and the middle-palette is herbal and earthy. The finish is a lot drier and earthier. Throughout the whole experience there are faint undertones of Winter Mixture sweets.
The differences between the neat distillate and the angelica-heavy gin is amazing. This really is a botanical that’s used for the effect it has on the gin, rather than for its own flavour.