Marylebone gin is brought to us by the Whitley ‘family’ of gins (which includes Whitley Neill and JJ Whitley) and harks back to the Pleasure Gardens of 18th century London (particularly Marylebone, hence the name).
Price: ~ £40
This was the first gin I ever received from my subscription to Craft Gin Club, and it helped start my love affair with them, but that’s another story! It’s sat on my shelves for some time now so I thought it was about time we got reacquainted!
As you can see, the bottle is a beautiful blue, with white, gold, and pale blue labelling. The design is a lovely nod to the pleasure gardens that were the inspiration behind the gin, with a spiked gate featuring a lock, above a plaque design with the name of the gin. Below are floral and decorative designs including roses, cockerels, and lions in a nice symmetrical design. The font is lovely and very much in keeping with the period design, especially on the back label. You can almost imagine it as a poster.
My only issue with it is that the bottle feels ‘chunky’ which takes something away from the design a little.
At 50.2% Marylebone gin can be forgiven for smelling fairly alcoholic! It’s light, with the juniper rising on both floral and citrus notes. There’s no pungency at all, it’s all very clear and crisp until eventually a mild, sweet spice comes through. It smells good, but there’s a fair amount of burn there so you can’t breathe it too deeply!
Sipped neat, it packs a bit of a punch as you’d expect from the higher ABV. For me, it’s the herbs that actually come through with the juniper trailing along. The chamomile is a nice baseline for the rest of the flavours, which are predominantly earthy and citrusy. It’s quite different to what one would expect, and at the very finish I get slightly bitter, sour, coriander and angelica notes which aren’t really all that welcome.
A dash of water brings out the citrus nicely, which pulls back that bitterness into much more palatable territory, but still, the herbal, earthy tones come through from the angelica and it’s this for me that begins to dominate and sour the taste.
Finally, I poured myself a double, threw in some ice and added some mediterranean tonic and a thin slice of lime, hoping to sweeten some of that citrus flavour. With the higher ABV the gin holds up well to the tonic and all the sweeter flavours all come together to break away from that earthy bitterness. Instead they form a soft bed for the lighter citrus and sweet notes of the cassia and orris to shine through. This is more like it!
Upon getting to know this gin better, I must admit that I was disappointed with the bitterness. I don’t seem to get those lighter floral notes that others have found, but then my bottle is from batch 001 (don’tchaknow!) so there’s a chance things have been adjusted ever so slightly since then! I want to like it, and I definitely do in the G&T, so I’m thinking this one might make a good cocktail gin rather than, as I like to do, a neat sipper!
All that said though, it is on the expensive side (even after having come down in price since it was released it seems), and I can’t say I’ve found anything in the taste to justify that cost, other than branding.
Marylebone is available online and in some shops
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.