Isle of Islay in Scotland is well known for its peaty, smoky and medicinal whiskies. Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig are just some of those. Another one of those distilleries is Bruichladdich. I have found the chance to taste some of their whiskies such as The Classic Laddie, Octomore 10.2 and Port Charlotte. Experimentalism seems to be Bruichladdich’s motto when you try different spirits from them. The Botanist is yet another beautifully crafted gin from the Islay distillery which offers a great range of local Islay botanicals. The gin actually became the powerhouse for the distillery to keep the lights on!
It makes so much sense why they call themselves ‘Progressive Hebridean Distillers’. In every new spirit they produce, they are looking from a progressive point of view and keep searching for an exciting liquor.
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin was already on shelves with an ordinary bottle years ago. However, with the new bottle, the distillery expresses what they want people to find in this gin. The cylindrical bottle has the Latin names of botanicals embossed on the bottle. On the minimalist sticker, the number 22 is expressed to show the number of Islay botanicals they used.
Bruichladdich took a botanical adventure for this gin and despite the 9 classic ingredients of gin, 22 botanicals were hunted and added into the spirit at the last stage of production.
In 2004, Jim McEwan took advantage of the demolition of Inverleven Distillery and acquired the Lomond still that belonged to the distillery. There were only 5 Lomond stills and Bruichladdich got the last one. Though it was old and ugly. So they named it ‘Ugly Betty’
The chosen 22 botanicals are listed below. It makes the post lengthy but all of these should be known.
- Apple Mint
- Creeping Thistle
- Downy Birch
- Gorse (Whin)
- Lady’s Bedstraw
- Lemon Balm
- Red Clover
- Spear Mint
- Sweet Cicely
- Bog Myrtle
- Water Mint
- White Clover
- Wild Thyme
- Wood Sage
When it comes to tasting, the size of the bottle, embossed words increase the mystery of the gin. Juniper Berry illustration on the neck adds beauty to the bottle.
I tasted The Botanist neat and with a tasting glass first. The second try was with a big piece of ice. Juniper, coriander, cinnamon are the ones to feel at first. Later on, 22 botanicals showed that one nose is not enough for this gin. Mint notes with a menthol feeling, citrus, lemon and white flowers are the dominant aromas.
On the palate, a round, easy drinkable, velvety feeling is existent. The Botanist is totatlly refreshing when it is neat. Licorice, juniper and lemonish tastes coat the mouth with an oily texture. A long and spicy finish makes the last moment of this gin very joyful.
I advice to sip it neat or with an ice. Using thyme is also strongly recommended. Though this gin is also powerful in cocktails.
The Botanist was elected as ‘Fine Spirit of the year 2013-14’ by The Whisky Exchange.
Progressive Is The Keyword !!