Today I bought two new bottles of gin. I discovered that Waitrose stocked a selection of rather good gins, three of which were on my “to try” list; so off I popped in the car to join the middle classes in their supermarket experience.
Whitley Neill gin is a batch distilled gin that is produced in an antique copper pot still and its USP is that it was “inspired by Africa”. Whitley Neill uses the fruit of the Baobab tree and the Cape Gooseberry among its botanicals. The full list is as follows…
- Baobab fruit
- Cape gooseberry
- Juniper berries
- Coriander seed
- Lemon peel
- orange peel
- angelica root
- cassia bark
- Orris root powder
Sampled neat, it is a smooth gin with a middling juniper hit. There is an initial warmth of spiciness that is swiftly followed by a very complex citrus and floral avalanche. Once all this subsides, one is left with a slightly spicy, earthy taste that lingers pleasantly.
For the G&T tasting I chose Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water; the aromas driven off by the effervescence of the tonic water were distinctly floral and complex.
The G&T itself was phenomenal. The citrus complexity of the Whitley Neill was like nothing I have experienced to date and it was underpinned by complex floral notes of geranium, rose and a hint of violet. The quinine and juniper combine excellently to override the initial floral sweetness with just enough bitterness to perfectly swing the sweet/sour balance comfortably into that expected of a G&T; this is all followed-up with a slightly spicy after-taste. The Whitley Neill makes a cracking G&T that serves a two-stage, sweet then bitter, roller-coaster ride, but at no point does it deliver too much of anything.
To my mind, Whitley Neill gin and Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water make the best G&T I have tried to date. At £18.19 a bottle you do pay for its greatness, but it is well worth it. To top is all off, you don’t need a slice of lime as the gin contains all the citrus you need.
Having tried Whitley Neill gin with a more standard tonic water (Schweppes) I have realised that the Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water provides a fair chunk of the floral notes described above. With a blander tonic, it is still a full of the complex citrus flavours with a slight floral follow-up. But the combination of the Fever-Tree Med and the Whitley Neill is an awesome one.