A while back the fine people at Warner Edwards started infusing elderflower petals into their Harrington dry gin. Jack managed to get his hands on a bottle and here is what to expect if you end up with a bottle for yourself.
Verdict? Somewhere between a liqueur and their traditional dry gin. Ain’t so bad at all!
In a Nutshell
Somewhat halfway between a gin liqueur and a traditional gin. A (mostly) ‘proper’ gin (however you’d like to define THAT) which has been sweetened, and blessed with some extra characteristics.
Elderflower Alco Power
We Drink It, Stuff Happens
Not so viscous – no legs here. Slightly cloudy in colour, like you’d squeezed some citrus over it. The nose has much more juniper and is much more ‘gin-like’ than I thought.
There’s more fire than you might expect too, it has a bit of a kick. You can tell that they have added some sugar – the liquid is a little on the sticky side for a regular gin.
Yup, that’s juniper (and what else where you expecting?). There’s a little honey under that juniper which comes out more later. No elderflower, unless I’m missing something important(?!). And a sizzly sharp booze note.
After a while and some acclimatisation, the sweetness is much more prominent whilst the burn is not. Eventually there is a herbaceous, woody wine note hidden inside that juniper, it reminds me what you might experience, for example, in certain Cote Du Rhone wines.
Take a swallow… on tongue, sweetness – more than the nose leads you to expect. At this point it’s just honey and maybe elderflower. It’s more mellow, less ‘burny’ than the combative nose donates. Where’s all that heat gone? Do you dare swallow it?
It’s not ’til you swallow ’til the juniper arrives. On the tongue, burn marries with sweet notes – juniper leads the taste parade it a straight line to the back of your throat. At the same time there are some brown sugar sensations and what my tasting notes describe as ‘fucking powerful cardamom joy’. What is even this.
The sweetness of the sugar and elderflower (presumably) marry with the dryness, working together in middle-back of throat.
The finish is long (which is what I find with most juniper heavy gins) and seems centred around said juniper. The cardamom keeps going for a while but eventually tails off.
At the end, citrus and juniper linger, whereas the ‘cardamom grenade sweetness’ does not. Which is a shame, I was just getting the hang of that cardamom.
Well, in this writer’s humble opinion this is a ‘proper’ gin with some added flavours, not a liqueur. Unlike many a liqueur, the additional flavours are quite strong but don’t really undermine the flavours of the underlying Harrington dry gin too much.
So yes, it is sweetened – but not too sweet – nevertheless, like many liqueuer type things I feel I couldn’t drink too much of it.
No particular need for tonic with this one (unless you REALLY want a G&T) it’s quite delicious. Perhaps try it with something more bitter and see how the flavour fares once some of the sugar is diluted…
Not bad at all!