I bought the Brecon gin because I tried their single malt whisky in a hotel a few years ago (intrigued as I was by the idea of a Welsh whisky) and was stunned by its smooth, sweet character. I was delighted to find out that Penderyn Distillery make gin as well and was hoping for something rather special.
Presented in a tall, elegant, heavy-bottomed bottle (like all Brecon spirits) the monochrome labelling and cork stopper really make for a delightful package. Brecon kindly lists all of the botanicals in a neat column down the front of the bottle; they are…
- Juniper berries (from Macedonia)
- Orange peel (from Spain)
- Cassia bark (from China)
- Liquorice root (from Sri Lanka)
- Cinnamon bark (from Madagascar)
- Angelica root (from France)
- Ground nutmeg (from India)
- Coriander seed (from Russia)
- Lemon peel (from Spain)
- Orris root (from Italy)
By the botanicals, this is a very classic gin with little in the way of USP ingredients. The recipe is, apparently, 100 years old and the water used is drawn from under the distillery. A small-batch gin, Brecon lays no claim to the type of gin it is; the website declares that no flavourings are added, but the lack of the London Dry labelling leads me to thinking it falls into the Distilled Gin category – possibly due to its sweetness, but this is mere conjecture on my part.
Uncorking, sniffing, pouring and sniffing some more, reveals a very sweet, smooth juniper-laced aroma. I wondered if it held and edge over Sipsmith Gin and a quick sniff test certainly saw the Brecon coming top in a cursory test; certainly worth exploring further.
A nip of the neat gin rewarded me with a very smooth experience. There was a medium-to-heavy juniper loading and so little harshness, I went back for more.
The addition of tonic water (Fever-Tree premium) drove off a very clean, crisp scent of juniper and a hint of spice and something not too far from coconut (odd but not unpleasant).
Adding the lime and tasting the finished G&T was a tremendously rewarding experience. Brecon gin and tonic is a remarkable G&T, on a par with Sipsmith; in fact so good was it, that I might have to hold a gin-off between the two. It is fresh, clean, slightly sweet and a little warming – cracking good stuff and firmly putting Wales on the map of the gin-producing world.
Brecon gin’s price-point is a fair bit lower than that of Sipsmith gin and, for the money, is well worth investing in; I will certainly be buying more of it.
Why are you still reading this? Go buy some.