Copperhead gin is the brainchild of Belgian pharmacist Yvan Vindevogel, who wanted to create a gin that harked back to the ‘medicinal’ history of the spirit.
Price: ~ £34 (50cl)
It should come as no surprise that I was drawn to this gin by the bottle. I managed to find it on offer in M&S and convince my wife that one more small bottle of gin wasn’t going too far. This was in the earlier days of my collection, so that was much easier to do than it would be today!
So long as grubby fingers are kept away, Copperhead has a gorgeous bottle! Finished in a shiny copper, the bottle is squared and short (as it only has to hold 50cl!) so it’s definitely one to sit at the front of the collection! It also has a lovely little tapered cork stopper.
The label is very much in keeping with the alchemical pitch of the gin, featuring the name in a wonderfully embossed font, above the caduceus and the latin “Consolans potio fortuna inventa” which translates to “Medicinal drink discovered by accident”.
Just remember to polish it!
Copperhead is a lovely, smooth, juniper-forward gin that has a pleasingly sweet and fragrant aroma with no burn. You can really take a good whiff and it’s full of juniper-y goodness as you would hope from the classic, simple list of botanicals. Beneath the pine lurks the gorgeous creamy cardamom I love so much, wrapped in a little orange twist. It smells great.
Sipped neat, there’s a real hit of juniper and cardamom. They’re almost fighting each other for first place on the palate. For me, it’s a tie as to which one wins, but that’s fine as far as I’m concerned. The cardamom is much stronger that in a lot of other gins so you get the real green sourness that comes with it (I know ‘green’ isn’t a flavour, but I defy you not to think of it when tasting the cardamom in this!), but it’s fresh and pungent just like cardamom should be. Coriander sits on the sidelines (literally, on the sides of the tongue) but it’s easy to find if you look for it. All of this is lifted by the orange, without which I can imagine it would be on the sour/pungent side.
Add a drop of water and the juniper pushes through. Everything else is still there, and there’s still loads of cardamom, but the juniper is king here. It’s a very gin gin. Yum.
Finally, I fixed myself a G&T using Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic. Oof! It’s good. There’s still plenty of cardamom there and with the tonic it does start to become almost medicinal, but in a fun way not an ‘it tastes like hospital’ way! I think it might pair well with a flavoured tonic like clementine/yuzu, or something else to help cut into the cardamom a bit.
As someone who was beginning to doubt I was as big a fan of ‘classic’ juniper gins as I perhaps should be for someone in charge of a gin blog, this has reminded me how great that juniper flavour can be when done right, and Copperhead throws the juniper in with gusto. Other than that, I would say that even I, as a huge cardamom fan, was getting a bit ‘cardamom-ed out’ by the time I’d finished my review, so do beware if it’s not something you’re keen on!
Having taken the time to really get to know this gin, I honestly hadn’t realised how good it is until now. It’s not cheap though considering the price is around average, but for the smaller 50cl bottle size. On that note I feel like I have to take away some points for pure ‘value for money’, but if you ever see it on offer, or find yourself particularly flush, it’s definitely worth getting.
Remove up to one feather if you’re really not keen on cardamom.
Add half a feather if money is no object!
Copperhead is available online and in some retailers
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.