So I stocked up on gins when I was in London last year. The problem is I get really attached to bottles of gin bought overseas, so attached that I don’t want to open them, let alone drink them. I keep them in my gin cupboard, an oak cupboard that belonged to my great great aunt Peggy, and look at them. I take them out and stroke them occasionally, but I’m too awed to drink them.
Then I got a hold of myself and decided there is no point having gin if you don’t drink it and opened my bottle of Blackwoods Gin.
I purchased the Blackwoods from the magical place where I bought most of my duty-free haul, Royal Mile Whiskies in the heart of London. Don’t be fooled by the name, they have an amazing selection of gins. It is also the best compromise ever for the Gentleman Gin Drinker (who should more accurately be called the Gentleman Whisky Drinker) and I. The delightful staff are knowledgable and helpful and even gave me samples of gin at 10.30am; my kind of people.
Blackwoods Gin is made on Shetland Island and features local botanicals. The bottle I bought was one of the 60% ABV bottles that they do a limited run of each year. 22,000 bottles are made, which is apparently the population of Shetland Island (I cannot confirm if this includes ponies). 60% ABV was not plucked out of the air either, the island sits at 60 degrees latitude. Their gins and vodkas are made in a traditional copper still in small batches using a barley-based spirit. There is nothing about water on their website, but I’d hazard a guess it is from the island too.
The botanicals in Blackwoods Gin vary from to year to year based on what is growing well on Shetland Island. There is a list of the standard gin botanicals which remain the same for each vintage.
The rest of the botanicals are listed on the bottle. My bottle is from summer 2007.
Wild water mint
The aroma is junipery and herbaceous, light and clear with clean citrus top notes. On the palate it is very lightly sweet and floral which is offset deliciously with the warm glow of 60% ABV.
Mixed with a good tonic water like Capi the herb notes really come out. With the addition of lemon peel the sweetly floral notes emerge, particularly the elderflower.
Blackwoods stand up extremely well in cocktails, a particularly enjoyed a Hanky Panky, but this is such a good, clean drinking gin that would suggest sticking to martinis (very dry with a twist) or with tonic water.