Caraway Seed

Gin botanical: Caraway Seed

When I was a child, my mother made caraway seed biscuits. In recent years, with fond memories of these treats, I sought-out a recipe and made some of my own. Neither my wife or son liked them, so I never made any since. More recently, I added some to a batch of home-made sauerkraut.

Caraway isn’t the most common of gin botanicals but it crops-up here and there. Hendricks, Boodles and Adnams First Rate all count caraway among their botanicals.

Caraway: Facts

Caraway Seed

Caraway Seed

  • Carvone, one of the major compounds of caraway seed oil, has two stereoisomer forms; one form smells of caraway, and the other of spearmint. This is an elegant proof that the human nose contains olfactory receptors which are chiraly-sensitive (i.e., can differentiate between stereoisomers).
  • Finland is the World’s largest producer of caraway seed. The plant likes a lot of sun and the long summer days at the higher latitudes, and Finland’s general climate, give rise to seeds with a higher oil content than most other locations.
  • Caraway is a good companion crop; its odour masks that of its companion plants, thereby deterring pest insects, and its flowers attract predatory wasps and flies which feed upon other pest species.

Caraway Seed: Nose

I’d be lying if I said I could pick-out caraway from the base gin. A slightly sniffly nose probably isn’t helping matters.

Caraway Seed: Taste

Caraway, as a botanical, adds a lot to the gin, but more through texture and feel, than taste. The gin is sweet through the attack, middle and finish, only fading to dryness after some time. There’s a gentle warmth and spiciness to caraway that, with the sweetness, gives a very comforting feel to this gin. There’s definitely a sweet orange undertone and there’s also a gentle peppery bite (more of a nibble than a bite) toward the end.

Caraway is a very distinctive and aggressive flavour (in spice-form) and I was expecting it to dominate the gin a lot more than it did. All-in-all a gentle, subtle effect.

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