Opihr oriental spiced gin is an exciting, bold contemporary gin bursting with spices and flavour.
Price: ~ £20
Tellicherry black pepper
The pitch of this gin is to take you on a journey to the legendary, lost region of Opihr during the reign of King Solomon, and its prosperity as part of the ancient ‘spice route’. It all sounds very exciting and exotic, and it is. But. One quick check will tell you that the region is actually known as ‘Ophir’. So what are we to think? Is it a play on the name (why?) or a simple typo that somehow made it to the end product? I daren’t ask…
Opihr has a very standard bottle shape, and while a lot of the bottle is uncovered, the label is a very nice design with the name between two elephants that beautifully capture the ‘spice route’ theme that runs through the brand. The neck features a red and gold rope tassle that I personally find a little tacky, but it all helps to make the bottle stand out (as if the liquid inside doesn’t do that enough already!)
As you should expect, there’s a whole lot of spice going on in this gin, and you can smell it right from the start! When you first smell Opihr, the juniper is there to greet you, but before it can even shake your hand, the cardamom and cumin burst through the door to announce their arrival. It’s a curry-like scent, sweetened by the citrus and given a hint of pepper at the back. If the bottle didn’t make it clear to begin with, you’d be forgiven for wondering what the heck you had set yourself up for. But embrace those spices and it’s a real treat
Neat, the spices dance on the tongue in a bid to gain your attention. The cardamom comes out king, but the cumin flits around, poking at its crown (occasionally stealing it and making a nuisance of itself) while the peppers sit on the sidelines with the angelica, not invisible but cheering on. Finally the coriander and citrus are there in the background, making the whole thing more palatable, but asking for no credit. Suffice it to say there’s a lot going on!
Add a drop of water and things are much the same, except the orange gets a bit more of a look in this time which adds a lovely sweet citrus taste to what can only be described as an onslaught of spices.
Finally, I served my Opihr with ginger ale and a slice of lime, in a tumbler no less. I know, crazy, right? But what else are you going to do with all those spices? It works well and brings out the cardamom while easing that hit of cumin that has a tendency to overpower at times. It’s a little odd, but then this is an odd gin!
Another option is tonic and ginger, or orange (my third review in a row that suggests orange so I promise I’ll get some!) but I’ve not been a huge fan of this gin with tonic. I would be very interested to hear cocktail suggestions for it though!
There’s a lot to be said about this gin. Firstly is whether you can really call it a gin, it is so very different to what a purist would describe. However I’m happy with it. Opihr makes no bones about the fact that it is a spiced gin. Do the spices (in particular the cumin) get a bit too rowdy? Yes, and I think that’s a limiting factor, you have to be very much in the mood for this particular gin, otherwise it’s not going to work for you. But if you are in the mood for it, well, it’s pretty great. It’s a totally solid, tasty choice and the fact that you can regularly get it for as little as £18 just means that this is a gin that’s worth having on your shelf. So long as you know what you’re signing up for, you won’t regret it.
Awarded a half feather bonus for price. Deduct up to two feathers if you don’t like spicy, curried flavours.
Opihr is available online and in supermarkets
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.