Thursday, 3 April 2014

Ginteresting: Dà Mhìle's Seaweed Gin

So. Gin infused with seaweed. Seaweed gin. Seaweed gin created by a cheesemaker in western Wales. Not your average booze, I can tell you - and not something I'm likely to forget in a hurry.

When I discovered the Dà Mhìle distillery (on Twitter  of all places - see, I told you it's not a massive waste of time, Mum) and heard they've just released a seaweed gin, I knew I just had to try it. Seaweed makes me think of all my family holidays at the seaside, and so mixing two of my favourite things - gin and the seaside - can only be brilliant. Right?

Oh good grief, yes. Being that it's infused with seaweed, I knew it was going to be different, but I had no idea how much. The guys at the distillery have gone to town with this gin, using a variety of botanicals, herbs and spices, and I've honestly never tried anything like it.

As soon as I opened the bottle, I got a massive, herby whiff that was green and inviting, but also very warm. I poured a measure, took a sniff, and was blown away by the heady mixture of vibrant herbs and spices. There's an aniseedy fennel type scent, a pepperiness, delicate lemon thyme, and a gorgeous nose-filling cardamom aroma that really sealed the deal. Maybe it's all in my head, but I felt the seaweed also added a mineral, seasidey element.

This all follows through on the palate, with the addition of a slightly bitter orange, and the hint of something fruitier. It's certainly less sweet than the luscious, gingery Warner Edwards, and warming in a different, spicier way, and lacks the juniper in-your-face-ness (some might say overkill) you can get with better known brands.

There's something luxuriously exotic and invigoratingly free about this gin. It was certainly pleasant to sip, but I found the addition of tonic had a surprisingly (and impressively) small effect on the gin's charm - the flavours aren't backwards in coming forwards, and they seep through ice cubes and tonic (even mine, which was flavoured with lemon), sort of encapsulating the entire drink.

It's the sort of gin that begs for a cocktail, too - I think it's bold enough to make an interesting martini, but I really want to see it matched with like-minded delicate, aromatic flavours like rose, elderflower, ginger or rhubarb. But the bitter, seaside freshness means it will also be perfect with the likes of lime and cucumber. There's plenty it can do.

If you're looking for a new, exciting gin to try, this is SO IT. And it's the kind of gin you'll always want a bottle of in the cupboard to brighten a dull day. Impressively, the distillery sells it in 50ml, 350ml and 700ml bottles, so you can even buy a wee one to experiment - but I warn you, it's likely you'll be re-ordering pretty quickly.

The price is an incredibly fair £30 for a full-sized bottle (the 350ml is £17, the 50ml is £4.95) and you can buy seaweed gin direct from Dà Mhìle's website. If it says it's sold out, keep checking back, it's currently flying off the shelves quicker than they can make it - which doesn't surprise me one tiny little bit.

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