There’s a history to whisky brands making gins. Bimber, The Lakes and others do it because whilst their primary reason for being is whisky, you make it, and it sits in a barrel for 3 years (minimum). In the meantime, you have overhead costs, people to pay for and well, distillers get bored. Gin is almost instantaneous by comparison.
And for others, everything is the other way around. They’re a brand known for their whisky, they have a very solid foundation in that spirit, but they feel the need to explore, to experiment and move into gin. And well, let’s face it, it’s a growing market, and they’re a company.
The latest to do that are Benromach. With 120ish years of whisky distilling behind them, they’re now stepping into the gin market, hoping to bring their distilling knowledge and expertise to the clear spirited stuff. And as a bit of a fan of their whisky (particularly the peated, and their wood finishes), I was definitely intrigued to see what they can bring to gin.
Say hello to Red Door Gin.
Using an old malt barn on site, they’ve set up their gin distillery with a copper pot still, Peggy and use a vapour method of extraction – letting the heated alcohol pass over the botanicals. The gin takes it’s name from the red door to the building, and given their location in the highlands of Scotland, it’s no surprise that when it came to botanicals, they looked to their surroundings.
And from a visual perspective, it’s a stunner. The design of the bottle, the colour, the box – it’s the kind of design that would have my dad looking at it and naming the inks used in the process, whilst I’ll just admire the colours, and artwork.
Enough about the prettiness, let’s drink the gin.
There are eight botanicals in total, juniper, coriander, bitter orange peel and lemon peel, angelica, pearls of heather, sea buckthorn and rowan berry.
Neat, the nose is juniper first, then the classic copper still sweetness, slightly earthy and green, a little orange – almost juicy orange notes. And to taste, despite using vapour distillation, this is not a shy gin. Juniper, pepper, earthy angelica, and sturdy florals. It finishes with juicy acidity from the orange and sea buckthorn. I knew as soon as I stuck my nose in the glass I was going to like this one.
Then over to the G&T. Some of you may have noticed my lack of gin copa in the images. I broke the last unbranded one and need to go shopping. Instead, I am using my last wine glass. Yes, I’m clumsy as hell sometimes.
As a G&T it’s very classic in style, as you’d expect from a London Dry gin. Hints of florals, and that green earthiness comes through too, along with some of the juiciness. Rather refreshing.