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The Botanist Gin
About The Botanist Gin
The first things that come to mind when I imagine the Islay region of Scotland are the distinct smoke and seawater flavors of Scotch whisky the local distilleries have spent many decades perfecting. But the Bruichladdich distillery are attempting branch out while still highlighting the natural beauty of the Islays with their relatively new offering, The Botanist Gin.
Introduced in 2011, The Botanist is an Islay dry gin from the historic distillery, Bruichladdich. They’re well known for Scotch whiskies like the Octomore, one of the most heavily peated Scotches in the world but the Botanist is a much less intimidating spirit.
A red number 22 is displayed prominently on label and represents the 22 botanical used to make the gin. So there won’t be any intense smoke notes like other spirits Bruichladdich offer. The Botanist website has an in-depth page that lists all the botanicals. It’s also classified as a “dry” gin because there isn’t any sugar added so any sweetness comes naturally from the botanicals.
The Botanist also puts an emphasis on sustainability. The website has an few pages dedicated to explanations of their efforts to be eco friendly as well as there goals for the future. They currently run programs to help protect biodiversity on their island, changed the distilling facility heating system to be more efficient and use recycled materials for their bottles.
❖ Spirit: Islay Dry Gin
❖ Distillery: Bruichladdich Distillery
❖ ABV: 46%
❖ Moderate Price
My Tasting Notes
❖ Color: Clear
❖ Nose: Strong citrus and juniper. I don’t know exactly what it is but I also get a sweet floral and tea notes.
❖ Taste: Notes are similar to the nose (citrus, juniper, floral tea) but I also get a strong mint flavor.
❖ Finish: Long, Floral mint with a slight bitterness.
Elderflower and Mint Martini
5ml / tsp of elderflower liqueur
10ml Dry Vermouth
Sprig of mint
❖ Add liqueur, dry vermouth and gin in a mixing glass
❖ Add ice and stir until chilled
❖ Strain into a chilled coupe, martini glass or nick and nora glass, and garnish with mint sprig
Despite loving a standard martini, I don’t have any experience with any martini variations. So when I stumbled across the Elderflower and Mint Martini while browsing The Botanist website, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to try something new. I was also curious how the floral notes would work with the elderflower liqueur.
This martini was really enjoyable and could possibly be an entry point for martinis in general. The sweetness from the liqueur balances most of the strong alcohol taste from the gin and vermouth. At first, I didn’t think the mint added much but it slowly gets stronger on the finish. It was a pleasant mint sweetness. But I will say that even with the sweetness, this is still an alcohol forward drink so don’t expect something like a Tom Collins where the gin is buried in the other ingredients.
I enjoyed my time with The Botanist Gin. While I can’t say I’m able to identify all 22 botanicals, I still think the resulting gin has a pleasant flavor and is well balanced. The light floral notes and mint finish were my personal highlights.
The Botanist is also a versatile spirit. It’s well balanced so I could regularly drink it neat or on the rocks, but also works well in cocktails. The elderflower and mint martini is definitely worth a try, but it also worked well in a standard gin and tonic.
The versatility also justifies the price. I’m able to find The Botanist Gin in my area for about $30 at a wide range of stores. That is starting to get a bit pricey if you are primarily looking for just a mixer.
I’m also impressed by how specific they are about their efforts to be sustainable. I haven’t seen many companies outline a specific list of short and long term goals for their facilities. This definitely makes me even more likely to by another bottle and recommend to others.
As always, drink responsibly.
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