Review: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin / by Jason Hambrey

11 Classic + 22 Foraged Botanicals
Distiller Bruichladdich (Bruichladdich, Scotland)

This classic gin was developed by Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich and has been an important factor to their success. It is brilliant. It is composed of 22 islay foraged botanicals, alongside 9 classic gin botanicals (for a total of 31). The 22 are a fun bunch:

  • Trifolium repens: white clover
  • Crataegus monogyna: common hawthorne
  • Melissa officinalis: lemon balm (balm mint)
  • Thymus polytrichus: wild thyme
  • Mentha x villosa: mojito mint
  • Betula pubescens: downy (white) birch
  • Filipendula ulmaria: meadowsweet or mead wort
  • Ulex europaeus: gorse (smells like coconut!)
  • Myrrhis odorata: myrrh (also cicely or sweet chervil)
  • Trifolium Pratense: red clove
  • Mentha Aquatica: water mint
  • Tanacetum vulgare: Tansy
  • Juniperus communis:  common juniper
  • Myrica gale: Bog myrtle
  • Artemisa vulgaris: mugwort (common wormwood)
  • Mentha spicata: spearmint
  • Chamaemelum nobile: chamomile
  • Galium verum: lady’s bedstraw
  • Calluna vulgaris: heather
  • Teucrium scorodonia: wood sage (woodland germander)
  • Sambucus nigra: elderberry
  • Cirsium arvense: creeping thistle

Also, a terrific bottle.

Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: L16083 16/308 2016 12 08 11:57
  • Bottling Date: 2016

This is nice can tell at once from the nose. Exceedingly complex, with juniper notes at the fore, which is the way I always like my gin. Mint, menthol, coriander, dried coconut, almond, and grass. Sweet, with some confectioners sugar, and yet so shrubby and vegetal – juniper, pine, cedar, orange peel, lemon peel, and marine notes – which I particularly like. I think they’d get lost in cocktail, but those salty, mineral, light seawater notes are in there. Really, it’s worth a try just for that, and this is what excites me about the uniqueness and terrioir of this gin. The palate is easy, with light sweetness and vanilla countering the mineral water and pine/juniper/cedar/shrub notes. The finish is lightly citrusy and spicy. And a touch of salt. This is terrific – a sharp, balanced, complex gin.

If you like dry sipping gins, you need to try this one. It will mix very well too in all sorts of cocktails, though cocktail selection should be careful if the subtlety is to remain. One of my favorite gins. Brilliant!

Assessment: Highly Recommended.