If, like myself, you’re struggling to get through lockdown with your sanity intact, you’re probably hitting your booze supply pretty hard. And while I’m not encouraging alcoholism by any means, its fast becoming one of the few pleasures we probably get in current times.
I was therefore extremely grateful to Magnum Wine Shop for gifting me with Cotswolds Distillery’s latest creation; the seasonally apt No.1 Wildflower Gin, at 41.7% ABV. I do have to note that I normally avoid flavoured gins where I can, but if anyone can win me over, it’s probably Cotswolds Distillery. (FYI, if you want to find out more about the distillery and the wonderful products they produce, you can do so here).
First impressions- the bottle alone is immense. I try not to get sucked in by aesthetics and marketing when it comes to the serious business of gin, but its suitably pretty and works perfectly for the change in seasons. My mum liked it, and if Christine approves, you’re usually off to a good start.
The gin itself is a blend of cornflowers, lavender and orange essences, layered over a classic London dry. Rhubarb root gives the gin its bright pink colour, but there’s definitely a touch of sugar in there too- more on this later.
On the nose, you’ll find a strong aroma of lavender, coupled with slight hints of rhubarb. It’s not unpleasant by any means, but its potent. If you’re not a fan of lavender, exercise with caution.
I usually try all gin straight before adding mixers, as I like to see the difference in flavour profiles. This can be a bit more difficult with flavoured gin though. You’ll find that the syrupy texture can be quite thick, which then sometimes masks the underlying notes of the gin’s botanicals. No.1 Wildflower is definitely syrupy when attempted neat, but it’s a lot less gelatinous than a lot of flavoured gins out there. Rather than cramming in an excessive volume of sugar, No.1 Wildflower allows the key botanicals of lavender and orange to really shine, as well as leaving space for that all-important juniper hit.
Predictably, the dynamics begin to shift once you add a mixer. To keep with the floral theme, I decided to go off-piste from my usual Fever Tree collection and opted for Belvoir Elderflower and Rose Presse to really enhance the botanicals (I also added a wedge of lemon to balance the sweetness, and some additional flowers for garnish). This gave some much-needed length to the gin, diluting the slightly syrupy texture into something much more appealing to a dried-up gin traditionalist like myself. Sweet floral flavours work in harmony with prominent fruity tones, combining with a subtle peppery background that adds structure and complexity. It’s really pleasing on the palette, and you find a clean, fresh finish as you would with a classic London dry.
Overall, I have to say I’ve been won over. No1. Wildflower is a solid seasonal, cheeky-back-garden gin that you can really indulge in. I’d struggle to drink a few glasses in one sitting, but it’s a great example of what flavoured gin should be. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a hardcore flavoured gin fan, it serves as a worthy addition to any gin cabinet. Just make sure you stock up on tonic.
Wiltshire readers- if you’d like to place an order with Magnum Wine Shop, visit http://www.magnumwineshop.co.uk or call 01793 642 569. Please note that all deliveries must be over £30.
Find out more about Cotswold Distillery and their products by visiting http://www.cotswoldsdistillery.com