Jawbox gin comes from the 300-acre Echlinville distillery just outside Belfast, that dates back to the 16th century.
Price: ~ £28
Black Mountain heather
Grains of paradise
This gin gets its name from the focal point of many an old Irish home: the Belfast sink. It was around the deep, boxy sink that conversation would take place, eventually earning it’s nickname of the Jawbox.
The grains are grown on the estate, then triple-distilled before botanicals from further afield are added and the gin is made. ‘Slowly.’
The bottle is a straight sided cylinder with a few pleasant ridges around the neck and lip, along with the name of the company embossed on the shoulder in script. It’s topped with a black screwtop that actually fits perfectly with the design and overall it’s a nice sturdy affair that matches the quite industrial label which is a deep black/brown with bronze artwork and lettering, with the key wording in white to help it stand out. It’s quite a busy label, but nothing is unclear or cramped. Around the neck is a nice collar giving a little more detail about the gin. It’s pretty cool, and with the name on the dark background, definitely stands out.
On the nose, there’s a very pleasant body of warm spices mingled with a little citrus and at the back end a peppery kick. The juniper is there nicely, but there’s also a fairly strong alcoholic burn, so it’s not one to sniff too deeply. There’s a sweetness with the spices, a hint of herbal notes and a pleasant tang from the lemon peel. If you can get past the burn it’s a very nice smelling gin.
Neat, there is a surprising amount of burn right up at the front, followed by a gorgeous juniper and lemon flavour that fills the mouth. Following hot on the heels of the piney, citrus taste is a hot little nip of pepper and spice that has a pleasantly sour tone to it. It’s a little pungent, but it’s a fairly classic profile that’s full-bodied.
Add a drop of water and a much more herbal element is introduced with the spices, which take on a slightly more earthy, savoury tone. There’s still a nice zing from the lemon, and the cardamom and coriander retain their prominent roles in the mix.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Schweppes 1783 Indian tonic) with a sprig of rosemary and the gin comes alive for me. The classic profile blossoms beautifully and all the sourness I was getting earlier has disappeared, replaced by fragrant herbs and spices and a lovely level of sweetness from the liquorice. Everything is there, working together perfectly. It’s a totally different gin and, for me, yet another example of why this blog is such a great experience for me to learn. It’s not all about the neat taste!
Jawbox was a gin I was fairly ambivalent about until this evening. Neat, there’s too much burn for me, and the flavours didn’t seem to make it stand out (which to be fair is, I suppose, the aim of a ‘classic’ style gin), but this makes a really really great G&T and proves that when served the right way, gins that might not impress from a sampling point of view, can truly excel.
Awarded a half feather bonus for the G&T!
Jawbox 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.