As always, I have a little gin review backlog, so I’m currently working on clearing it a little bit. To start off, I thought I’d go with one of my more recent gins, one that arrived courtesy of Mr GFB for Christmas. He has a history of getting me Irish gins for Christmas or for my birthday. It was sort of an accidental tradition, started because one of his close friends heads over to Ireland every year. What began as a ‘see what Irish gins there are’, is now pretty much a text message from Duty Free on the way home, asking what I haven’t got.
This Christmas, Mr GFB surprised me. We had decided not to bother with gifts (we had just blown a pile of our savings on a new mattress), but I bought us a portrait and he bought me gin. Yeah we both sucked at that.
One of the gins he bought me was from the Muff Liquor Co. No, you’re not reading things. Whilst my childish brain immediately went below the belt, Muff is a place in County Donegal, home to Laura Bonner, and Muff Liquor is the brainchild of her, and her business partner Tom Russell. Tom it turns out is a native Manc. I was starting to see why Mr GFB picked this one.
As with any good gin, there’s a lovely story behind it. We need to go back in time to Laura’s Granda, Philip McClenaghan. Philip was a potato farmer in Inishowen Co.Donegal, who was also well known for his poitin. And whilst you might automatically presume that poitin is made of grain, in this case, it was made from his crop, potatoes. It obviously did him no harm, as he lived to a hearty 100 years old.
Following in her Granda’s footsteps, Laura has crafted a gin with a potato base – four different types of are involved in the distillation of the spirit – before it’s turned into gin. There are nine botanicals used in the gin, including juniper (of course – and I’m guessing the usual suspects, coriander, angelica and orris), mandarin, rosemary, lemon, elderflower, with a little champagne essence.
Neat, the nose is soft, sweet and juicy – the mandarin leaps from the bottle on opening! On the palate there’s more ‘gin’. A punch of juniper, lots of sweet citrus, then coriander. More earthy herbal notes at the finish. The potato spirit gives it a soft round creaminess that means the finish is soft, rather than dry.
In a G&T, the nose is all sweet oranges. On the palate it’s sweet and soft and juicy. Juniper takes a back seat, but it’s there, that juiciness dominates.
Overall, it’s a soft citrussy gin, that’s very easy to drink. I’m also hoping they release the potato vodka all on it’s own, because I get the feeling that will be delicious too.
More Muff please.