Product Review: JJ Whitley Gin and Whitley Neill Quince Gin
Ah Christmas. You bring all the fun things.
Time with the family, catch ups with friends you haven’t seen all year, an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast lunch and dinner for the next couple of weeks and the best bit?
I’ve got a few delicious ones to tell you about over the next week or so, so if you haven’t yet bought the ones you’ll drink over Christmas, or asked Santa to bring you some, these may tempt you.
First let me introduce you to two new gins from JJ Whitley. If the name sounds a little familiar, it should. Johnny Neill, the chap behind Whitley Neill Gin, is also behind these and two vodkas too under this new brand. I’ve long been a fan of Whitley Neill, it’s an easy drinking gin, a little moreish you could say with the citrus notes from the physallis and the soft sweetness of baobab that form part of the botanicals. I’ve even created a dessert with it.
Where Whitley Neill takes inspiration from Johnny’s wife and her South African heritage, this new range of spirits have their roots much closer to home. Johnny’s family have been involved in distilling for a long time. A century or two perhaps. His grandmother’s family company was Greenall Whitley – originally behind the G&J Greenalls distillery and breweries. JJ Whitley was Johnny’s great grandfather and Managing Director of Greenall’s. And it’s from him that Johnny has drawn inspiration for these traditional style gins.
So lets head in.
First up, the JJ Whitley London Dry Gin. London Dry is a style of gin that tends to have dominant juniper notes, and this is no different, but there’s a very definite floral element to this gin. Parma violets. It’s beautiful and only needs a splash of tonic, or you lose this soft floral. There’s also a good amount of citrus and a little pepper on the tongue too, but I’m just drawn to the floral note.
Whilst both of these have been created as cocktail gins, the most I’d do is add a little tonic, or drink it in a Martini, but I might be tempted to sample it as an Aviation too, as I think it might just hold enough violet to rival Aviation Gin in that particular drink.
The JJ Whitley Elderflower Gin is much softer on the juniper. In fact it’s a great ‘entry’ gin for someone new to the spirit. It’s light, sweet but not sickly sweet, and incredibly floral. Again, don’t put too much tonic in you’ll miss out on the elderflower, and orange blossom notes with the soft citrus finish. It was so good Mr GFB happily finished my glass. And he doesn’t drink gin.
Of course, Johnny’s a busy gent, and so has also released a new Whitley Neill Gin, Whitley Neill Quince Gin. My is this something different.
This gin uses quince juice in it’s production and has an ABV of 43% which is incredible given this is a distinctly sweet gin. It’s so sweet, I struggled with it neat – but the distinctive pear/sour apple quince notes are there, along with hints of juniper. It really comes into it’s own when you add tonic. Tonic brings out some incredible floral and fruity notes. It’s still sweet, but softened by the bitterness of the tonic, this is a bit of a stunner, and I’m curious to see what bartenders will do with this in a cocktail.
I must admit to being tempted to getting a full bottle to play with (especially as it’s only £26 in Ocado/Waitrose!), as I can see this working well in desserts too.
So there you have it. Three new gins that might just tempt you, and all at very good prices currently.
They might just be worth putting in your stocking.