Brecon Special Reserve is a Welsh gin, bottled at Penderyn Distillery using water from the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Price: ~ £18
Orris root powder
There’s not a whole lot to say about this gin really. It’s easy to get hold of, and it’s very well priced. It also has a sibling, Brecon Botanicals Gin, which is slightly stronger and, despite the name, has fewer botanicals than the special reserve.
The bottle is very plain and ludicrously tall, so beware if you lack for shelf height! It’s simple, and I like the way the botanicals are listed down the front of the bottle. Other than that though there’s very little to say! It stands out purely by being taller than everything else!
On the nose, Brecon is very clean with a sweet juniper aroma leading into a pleasant blend of coriander and cinnamon. There’s no burn whatsoever, instead it treats you to a lovely warming spice with finishing notes of citrus.
Neat, the juniper is bold and quite pungent, carried along by heavy notes of coriander. It’s crisp and clean, with sharp citrus notes around the edges. The heart of the flavour, beyond those initial notes is that of the spices, though they are more cool tasting than the smell would suggest. I think the citrus works a bit too hard and some sour tones begin to creep through, but it’s a good strong ‘gin’ flavour.
Water brings out the spices a little, with the bite of the nutmeg coming through over the cinnamon and cassia. The lemon gets a boost too, intensifying the flavour but holding back the more bitter notes which is good. There’s still a good hit of juniper and coriander and these are still the primary focus of the flavour. It’s still all very clear and crisp, though a touch uninspiring for me.
Finally, I served up a G&T (Franklin & Sons Natural Indian Tonic) with a lemon wheel to garnish, and I was pleasantly surprised! The tonic seems to bring out all that sweetness I was getting on the nose but not so much on the tongue, and the gin feels transformed. There’s even more freshness here, and the citrus that, for me, was prevously taking the gin down a bitter path, has now lifted and provided me with a beautifully refreshing drink. This is much more like it.
It’s clear in my mind at least that while this is not a sipping gin, it’s a great gin for long drinks. I know I might be overdoing it on the term ‘clear and crisp’ but it really is crystal clear both in appearance and taste (no doubt thanks to that Brecon Beacons water!). While there wasn’t much in the flavour to really tickle my feathers, the fact that this gin is easy to get hold of for under £20 makes it most definitely worth trying, even if only for a great quality party cocktail.
Brecon Special Reserve 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.