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N: Juniper, but also super vegetal like carrots. I'm sure there's something else here, but I'm really just getting juniper and carrots. Maybe a bit of lemon and juniper too.
P: The palate is tarter with more character than the nose. That carrot flavor is there for sure, but I get quite a bit more of the lemon and also a dash of orange zest and some faint tannic tea (coriander?). The juniper is in there too, of course. There's some nice sweetness, but not a ton of it. There are light floral and fruity elements that flit in and out. I'd love to praise the balance, but that carrot flavor is a bit too much.
In terms of complexity, this could use some work too. Water increases the complexity and brings out some more spices, but it (surprisingly) also adds heat. Aside from that heat, the alcohol doesn't stand out no - there's not much in the way of alcohol flavor.
F: The carrot turns more bitter, then some additional juniper comes out. There's some additional herbal and spicy fullness remaining, but it's hard to pick out the details.
- Conclusion -
This isn't a totally normal gin. Ignoring the fact that it's navy strength, it's floral and kind of vegetal (carrot?). That said, it has a clean flavor with plenty of juniper. It's on the dry, clean side, but it's a solid choice for mixing in most drinks. A bit of water brings out some more fruit and then herbal flavors, enhancing the complexity. It's still a bit funky with those vegetal flavors, but not terribly so. It took me a while, but I finally worked out that the vegetal flavor is woody carrot. In with the woody carrot is substantial juniper though.
I wish that this were richer and less aggressive. As rich as Plymouth would have been nice. The carrot flavor is also odd. I can accept it, but I'm not a big fan. This is more aggressive than Ford's. I think that the character of what it wants to be is more realized here, but the balance is less cohesive and it's a more challenging dram. Yeah, it's substantially better than Sipsmith, but that is far from a strong recommendation. This is fine, but I probably wouldn't buy another bottle. I would give Pacific Voyager the win over this, though their profiles are different, so it's not a 1:1 replacement.
At the end of the day, there is a solid gin at the core here. The problem is that there is this weird bitter carrot flavor that doesn't make sense. Now that I've looked at the ingredients. I think that's some combination of the bergamot and orris root. Unfortunately, those seem to have been poor choices in these particular proportions.
Pitting this against Plymouth,I would probably pick this as the winner I would put the two of them pretty close though. This is also in range of Ford's. Pacific Voyager beats this though.
I'm going to give this a 15. I was considering a high 14 to a low 16, so 15 seems about right.. This will probably go up to a 16 if the bitter carrot flavor ever stops bothering me though.
As a generic mixer though, Ford's or Plymouth might be a better option. For a drink with a more interesting, refreshing character and an extra punch, this could be a good option.
Tasted in a Gin and Tonic. Used Fever Tree Refreshingly Light Indian Tonic and garnished with a small lime wedge with its oils from the peel rubbed on the glass rim and a tad of lime juice squeezed into the drink. First impression is bold flavor with the gin's bergamot orange and juniper clearly shining through in the mid palate and into the finish. The lime garnish seems to marry better over time with the gin flavors as the drink takes its time to come together and settle. However suggest trying an orange peel garnish instead to create a better melange of flavors. The gin's Navy Strength proof is the ticket to stand out in a good cocktail. I'd also suggest trying in a Negroni with an orange wedge if you want the gin to be a more visible actor in the show. Recommend.