If the name of That Boutiquey Gin Company sounds a little familiar, then that might be because it’s the sister company of That Boutiquey Whisky Company. Aside from the obvious differences (whisky vs gin) the other differences are perhaps a little more subtle.
That Boutiquey Whisky Company is known for it’s sourcing of kooky whiskies. Closed or ‘lost’ distilleries, very old casks, hidden batches rediscovered – yes even whisky companies can ‘misplace’ entire batches of booze. The company then independently bottle these, in the most gloriously designed bottles you can imagine. Those that I’ve sampled/own have been, quite frankly stonking. I have a Mortlach at home that would make you cry with delight, and a Girvan that inspires yummy noises. If I shared them, of course (I don’t).
Where that Boutiquey Gin Company differs (at least currently) is that it’s almost an excuse for gin distillers to experiment. To put on their creative scientist labcoat and ask the question ‘what happens if…?’. Given that gin takes far less time to produce than whisky, it’s not just old forgotten batches of gin that are given new life, but it also is an opportunity for the creativity of a distiller to shine. Again these are then bottled independently, and again, the bottles paying homage to the origins and flavours of the spirit.
The first of these received and indeed sampled by me is Moonshot Gin Batch 1. The press release was received and I raised an eyebrow. For those who don’t know, I work in Physics at the University of Manchester. I admit, my own physics background is shaky. Biology? Yep, got it. Chemistry, a little wobbly, but OK. Physics? My favourite question during seminars is often ‘But why?’
And I never get an answer that satisfies.
Moonshot Gin has been sent into near-space. Not, despite the name, actually to the Moon, but it has been sent over 24KM into the atmosphere, to an altitude known as Armstrong’s Limit, or Armstong’s Line. At this point water boils at the same temperature as the human body. It’s effectively the point at which we cannot survive without a pressurised suit. And to be honest, the manner in which you would ‘go’ at that point in the atmosphere doesn’t even bear thinking about.
However, we aren’t dealing with people. We aren’t even dealing with the gin itself. We’re dealing with a box full of botanicals – see for yourself:
It’s unfortunately difficult to tell whether the box is pressurised, though I suspect not, as pressurisation would mean that the moonshot process would have zero effect on the botanicals. So in a non pressurised environment, and bearing in mindthat the liquid contained within the botanicals is going to be somewhat limited (it’s more likely to be oils than actual moisture) I would surmise (with confirmation from a proper physics bod) that the effect of the moonshot would be: 1. cell walls of the botanicals bursting due to pressure, 2. moisture extraction from the botanicals due to pressure, and 3. cell walls of the botanicals bursting due to temperature change – the higher you go, the colder it gets.
The botanicals – juniper, coriander, chamomile flowers, fresh lemon peel, cardamom, dried bitter orange peel, cinnamon, cubeb pepper, liquorice root, angelica and moon rock are then vaccum distilled to create a London Dry style gin of 46.6%. A pretty hefty ABV.
So, what is it like?
On the nose there’s a good hit of juniper as you’d expect from a London dry, then citrus, sweet and soft coriander notes, lemongrass, hints of ginger. On the palate it’s more interesting. There’s an oily mouthfeel, floral notes all over the place, but with a nice lemony balance and a sweet citrus finish. It’s almost sticky, but not deep enough to be cakey, the florals from the chammomile and citrus acidity keep it from being too syrupy. Those sharp citric acid notes linger long after you finished sipping.
Is it for me? Probably not. I have a bit of a sensitivity to acids, despite my love for all things citrus, and the astringency in this gin just doesn’t suit my palate.
But that’s not to say I won’t be trying more.
In fact, watch this space.
With thanks to That Boutiquey Gin Company for the sample!