Perhaps one of the biggest reasons I love gin (or maybe alcohol in general), is the sheer geekery of it. It’s the perfect blend of creativity and science. There’s a certain amount of innate skill involved, a good chunk of creativity (matching flavours, imagination, artistry) but the process is pure science.
Which is why Batch Innovations catches my imagination. Led by Batch Gin’s Head Distiller Ollie, Batch plan to release a limited edition spirit every month. As you’d expect from Batch, they’ll use the best ingredients to craft a limited run of up to 200 bottles, it will allow them to experiment with flavours and styles not only of gin, but of other spirits, including a rum and a vapour infused vodka.
It’s an easy way for you and I to get in on the creative process and the experimental side of distilling.
Being a big geek at heart, I was all over it.
The first release is their Buddha’s Hand Gin. Showcased in a suitably red bottle, with a design in keeping with the Batch brand, this curious blend of Chinese botanicals promised to be a little bit special. Botanicals include Buddha’s hand (a citrus fruit often used in Chinese medicine), Sichuan pepper, ginger and chrysanthemum.
It was love at first nose. There’s something very ‘Chinese’ about the nose – I think it’s the Sichuan and ginger leaping out, but there are lots of florals as you’d expect with Chrysanthemum in there – yes literally the flower. If you’ve never tried it in a soft drink, I can highly recommend it, it’s distinctive and doesn’t taste at all like you’d think it does (especially if you’re thinking of the scent from the bunches in the supermarket).
There’s also a sweetness to it, that comes in on the finish. There’s a rich mouthfeel to it, the florals hit high, and the pepper gives it a little bite as well as warmth, along with the gentle heat from the ginger.
As a G&T it’s delicious. There’s a sherbet hint on the nose it makes me think of Refreshers, it’s got that fizzy zestiness to it. In the mouth the ginger washes across your palate, the sherbet hint comes through as a citrus acidity and there’s a light sweetness to it.
It’s definitely going in my personal collection, because it’s just a little too moreish for me to share. I’m going to have to drink it all.
(I’m not. Not really).