Gin Botanical: Thyme

Thyme is one of the few plants that I seem to be able to keep alive in the overgrown patch of weeds that I generously call the ‘herb garden’. It’s always there, looking healthy, no matter how much I brutalise it for sprigs.

As a botanical in gin, thyme isn’t exactly common but it seems to be making an appearance here and there; notably Gin Mare and The Botanist.

Thyme: Facts

  • The main constituents of thyme oil is Thymol, which is strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal. Thyme has been used in the treatment of wounds for centuries, if not millennia. Part of its efficacy lays in the fact that is makes antibiotics and anti-fungal agents more effective, by making microbes more susceptible to them. Today, thymol is commonly used as an ingredient in mouthwash, where this synergistic behaviour sees it paired with chlorohexidine.
  • The Greeks burned thyme as incense in temples as they thought it a source of courage. This association persisted right into the Middle Ages, in Europe, when ladies would make gifts of thyme-sprigs to knights, in order to bring them courage.
  • There are about 350 species of thyme, of which the most common is Thymus vulgaris. Some varieties have very distinctive aroma profiles, including lemon, orange, lime and caraway thyme.

Thyme: Nose

On the nose, thyme seems to add a subtle tangy, herbaceous note to the aroma of the gin. Given the pungency of the herb, I was expecting a lot more in the olfactory-department.

Thyme: Taste

Thyme has a similar effect in the mouth as the citrus peels; it brings a heat. Unlike citrus peels, thyme lacks any fresh, breezy zestiness, instead bringing a sharp, savoury herbal note. It’s a very nose-resident botanical, which is sweet in the attack and dry in the finish.


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