Xoriguer is a gin from Mahon, Menorca and, now that Plymouth have allowed theirs to lapse, I believe is the only gin with a protected geographical indication (PGI).
Price: ~ £24
A well kept secret!
Pronounced ‘Sho-ri-gair’, Sr. Miguel Pons Justo named the gin after the emblem of the family’s centuries old milling business: the old windmill, built in 1784. The family have continued to make the gin, where it has grown in popularity, though 60% of it is still sold within Menorca. The gin is made from a grape spirit and is actually distilled and cut at bottling strength, rather than being diluted.
With no list of botanicals to help me sound like I know what I’m talking about, this one is going to be a challenge! ;o)
The bottle is unique (in my experience) in that it includes a handle like the old stoneware crock jugs. It’s a classic ‘bottle green’ colour which isn’t all too common in gin, and the label is in a very rustic, authentically ‘continental’ style with an image of the family windmill in Mahon. It’s not as stylish as most these days, but it definitely gives a sense that the gin has been around for a long time.
The claim is that the spirit retains none of the flavours of the grapes, and obviously I have no idea what the botanicals are that go into this gin, but I must confess that alongside the prominent juniper aroma, which is waxy and creamy, there are definite wine notes to it for me as well. At 38% there is no burn, and you can take a nice, deep breath where there are some nice, herbaceous, almost medicinal notes.
Neat there’s a rich, earthy pine to the juniper and I’m going to assume there’s angelica and coriander in there too. There’s a good level of green herbal flavour in the mix and from what I can tell very little citrus to speak of. Primary flavours are definitely juniper and coriander, and as I know this is a very traditional gin, that’s not surprising.
Water brings out the pine flavours even more, and now at the very end I’m getting a little zing of citrus that might suggest lemon peel. The flavours move more into the medicinal realm, and there’s a touch of bitterness too. Finally, there’s a peppery aftertaste with a pleasant sourness that borders on aniseed. Curious.
Rather than a G&T, I served this up in a traditional Pomada, a 50:50 gin to lemonade mix with plenty of ice. Sadly I’m not a fan. There’s still plenty of juniper in there, but something else isn’t working for me. Whether it should be a particularly sweet lemonade, I’m not sure but I don’t think this is the right drink for me with this gin, and based on everything so far, I’m not sure what would be.
Despite apparently being a ‘cult favourite’ amongst gin drinkers, this one doesn’t really do it for me. It’s too much on the bitter/medicinal side to my tastes, and in that way I also don’t know what to do with it. I think for me it will need to go in a sweeter drink (the website has a cocktail called the Xoriguer Royal which does actually sound great!).
Add up to one feather if you like a very traditional gin on the bitter end
Xoriguer is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.