This is gin review that’s been a long time coming. I got hold of this bottle over a year ago and it’s sat on my gin shelf for all this time with maybe a third of a bottle left. I’ve deliberately not finished the bottle because I knew I had to write words about it – I couldn’t let it slip away.
Tarquin’s Gin is made in Cornwall. Being a Cornish boy myself, this was enough to get me really excited. Cornwall is really building a reputation for top-quality food and drink production and I had high-hopes for this gin from the first moment I heard about it.
A small batch gin, Tarquin’s Gin is only made in batches of 300 bottles, using a flame-heated copper pot still. It is watered to bottling strength (42% ABV) using local spring water.
The copper pot still, that Tarquin’s Gin is distilled in, is named Tamara; presumably after the river Tamar that forms much of the border between Devon and Cornwall. Interestingly, Tamar is a Hebrew name meaning “date”, or “date palm” and Tamara is the female version of it. That said, I suspect the that real reason that the still was named Tamara, was due to the legend of the Nymph, Tamara, which is a rather beautiful story that you can find here.
The botanical list can be found below…
- Juniper (from Kosovo)
- Coriander seeds (Bulgaria)
- Fresh sweet orange
- Angelica root (Poland)
- Orris root (Morocco)
- Green cardamom seeds (Guatemala)
- Bitter almond (Morocco)
- Cinnamon (Madagascar)
- Liquorice root (Uzbekistan)
- Devon violets (from the garden)
It must be said that, at around £35 per bottle, Tarquin’s isn’t a cheap gin. However, the packaging is first-class. The bottle is more of a high-class wine bottle than a traditional spirit bottle, complete with a large dimple in the bottom. The label is printed on thick, textured paper and is an elegant charcoal grey/black with silver writing and graphics, and sky-blue accents. Each label has a hand-written section which tells you which batch your bottle came from and is signed by the Distiller, Tarquin Leadbetter. The top of the bottle is dipped in a metallic sky-blue wax that comes all the way down to the shoulder, and the top of the wax is embossed with a relief of a Cornish Chough bearing a juniper twig in its beak (a motif that also appears on the label). The stopper is a synthetic cork which produces the “plop” noise when extracting but fails to elicit the accompanying squeak. Shame.
This is probably the most complex nose of any gin that’s graced my glass in recent times. Green, grassy notes underpin the pine-juniper core. There are a fleeting hints of almond and cardamom on the aroma as well as a fair whack of citrus (mostly orange, I think). I get occasional hints of berry-fruit too, but that not being a listed botanical, I might just be imagining this.
Firstly, its an oily gin with a very rich mouth-feel.
The attack is very sweet, filled with luscious orange and freshness. This the develops into an roller coaster of flavours, with flashes of berry-fruit (again), floral notes (orris and possibly violets) almond, and generic spiciness – this blew me away actually, the spices are so well integrated and balanced, I had real difficultly in separating them from each other; I got some hints of coriander and cardamom but could isolate cinnamon. All of this ride is underpinned by a rich resinous juniper.
The finish is surprisingly short but is filled with citrus warmth with grassy-green undertones. It’s a dry, slightly peppery, earthy finish.
Lastly, the alcohol burn of Tarquin’s Gin is relatively restrained.
This is a great sipping gin. I could drink this neat all night long.
Tarquin’s With Water
Adding water does little to tame Tarquin’s; if anything it really brings the sweet floral notes and resinous parts of juniper to the fore. I went up to 50% water and it was still a flavoursome journey.
A Tarquin’s G&T, or Quin & Tonic as their website calls it, is a cracking drink.
The floral aspects of orris and violet, as well as woody angelica, are thrust firmly to the fore, in the attack. The multi-layered citrus boils-forth in a sweet and fresh joy-ride once the florals fade, and there’s a deep resinous foundation that’s scraped bare in the finish. In fact, the finish reminds me of Tanqueray 10 in its intensity.
The only flaw I can find with this gin is that the cork doesn’t squeak when pulled from the bottle. The whole experience is a massive, luscious, thrilling, fresh, refreshing, amazing G&T. Is it worth the £35 price tag? Oh, hell-yes! Go buy some, buy it now!