I recently had the pleasure of visiting a branch of Waitrose in the sprawling metropolis that some call London. Presented with a near-bewildering array of gins that I have yet to try I picked Adnams Copperhouse Gin. This was originally brought to my attention by @BlackPlastic who raved about it, and came very close to buying me a bottle on more than one occasion.
Adnams, once famous for beers such as Broadside and SSB, seem to have branched-out significantly in recent years. With the opening of their Copper House Distillery in November 2010, both Vodka and Gin have recently joined the Adnams portfolio.
Adnams Copper House Gin is a distilled gin, and unlike many gin producers, they make it from scratch. East Anglian malted barley is brewed into a “beer wash” before being stripped into a “low wine” and then rectified into pure spirit and re-distilled with the botanicals into gin, all under the mastery of Head Distiller, John McCarthy.
Speaking of botanicals, Adnams Copper House claims six; these are…
- Juniper berries
- Lemon peel
- Orange peel
- Orris root
- Hibiscus flowers
The bottle is stoppered with a cork and is stamped from an increasingly popular mould, with a round footprint and thick glass bottom. The (pseudo) copper-foil wrapping at the top of the bottle is a nice touch and the simple label is elegant and understated.
Uncorking was about as pleasing as it gets (squeak-pop) and the scent from the bottle-top is that of juniper and sweet creamy notes.
Sampled neat, this is a savoury, herbacious, oily gin with a good juniper pay-load. It has a great depth of complexity to it that reminds me strongly of Tanqueray 10. In fact, so convinced was I that the herbaceous resinous notes were chamomile, I refused to believe the first source of information I found which listed the botanicals (sorry Summerfruitcup, I should have known better than to doubt you).
Mixing Copper House with Fever-Tree tonic (3:1 ratio) produces a tremendously aromatic G&T. The phantom chamomile shines through and this G&T furnishes you with a fresh attack and a long lingering roller-coaster after-taste that seems to cycle through half of the herb-garden. There is an underlying earthy sweetness that holds back the astringency slightly, but is far from being enough to make this a sweet G&T.
I have no idea what hibiscus tastes like (I did work my way through a box of hibiscus and rosehip tea several years ago, but that doesn’t seem to have helped), so there is a strong possibility that the slightly frankincensey-chamomile tang is wholly from this flower.
My only criticism of Adnams Copper House Gin would be that every time I have drank more than one G&T in an evening, I have experienced very disturbed sleep. At first I though it just a bad night, as sometimes happens, but as I worked my way through the bottle, a pattern emerged. Doing a little digging revealed that in some, hibiscus tea can have a mild hallucinogenic and intoxicating effect; to be honest, I was drinking gin, so was damn-well expecting to become intoxicated, and I didn’t notice any hallucinations , so maybe this is a complete dead-end. Still, the correlation between poor sleep and Copperhouse consumption is a strong one.
Still, who needs sleep every night? Adnams Copper House Gin is a fine product and I will certainly be buying more. I need to get my hands on some Adnams First Rate Gin (update: which, you can probably tell from the review, I subsequently did) – by all accounts, the classier, more expensive sister of Copper House.