Scotland has long been the biggest producer of gins in the UK, and as of 2017, they can add another couple to that list, Oro and Oro V.
Both are made at the Dalton Distillery in Dumfries, which was founded by the Clynick family and led by the family’s Head Distiller Ray Clynick. They bring a little science to their gin making. Ray is a former scientist who believes that they have created a gin based on a scientific understanding of how different flavour compounds work and interact with each other.
So let’s look deeper into both of the gins.
Oro Gin uses a total of 15 botanicals, including juniper, coriander, orris root, lemon and orange peel, cassia bark, vanilla, Malabar cardamom, pink peppercorns, lemongrass, and another signature botanical that they promise ‘will forever remain secret’. The botanicals are macerated for 24 hours before a one shot distillation in a traditional copper pot still over 15-17 hours, and it’s finally bottled at 43%.
Their second gin, Oro V, includes the addition of lavender, that they suggest acts as a ‘smoothing agent’ for the gin.
At the launch event in Manchester, over at Alston Bar & Beef, we were treated to a tasty little Espresso Martini using the original gin, along with samples of both the Oro, and Oro V Gin.
With the Oro signature, the nose is pretty and floral. The vanilla, cardamom, and piney notes from the juniper play around, along with the sweet finish that comes from a copper pot still. On the palate, the traditional notes hit the palate first, the juniper, angelica and coriander, before the cardamom kicks in with the lemongrass and citrus, and a soft round, spiced vanilla note that lingers.
In a G&T, it’s soft and easy drinking, it opens out the florals a little, and the citrus leaps forward a little more.
Over to the Oro V. On the nose, this is quieter, softer, rounder, more powdery. The lavender and florals sit right at the top, before softening into the sweet copper still notes. On the palate, this packs a little floral punch, that belies it’s nose. All the florals sit in a heap at the back of the palate, waiting for a tonic to open them out. This either needs a mixer, or a little ice to release those florals for me. It’s just tight feeling. With a splash of tonic, everything softens and opens out. It becomes a rather pretty G&T.
Named using the Spanish word for gold, the name and the logo – designed using concentric circles to represent the atomic suborbital structure of gold itself – were designed give it a luxury feel – and perhaps this is where it doesn’t feel quite right for me. This is a good gin, both of them are, but the bottle and design, created to feel perhaps more premium, don’t really do that for me. Perhaps that’s a personal thing, but we’ve got a very crowded market, and I want gins to be their best, so they stand out.
It’s just missing a little… Something.