Kew organic gin is made in collaboration with the London Distillery Company, who also produce Dodd’s gin.
Price: ~ £30
Packed with an impressive 24 botanicals (the above are what’s listed on the Kew site, but I understand the list also includes: Bergamot, Bilberry, Bitter Orange, Black pepper, Galangal, Kaffir lime leaf, and Passion flower) this gin is nonetheless marketed as a ‘quintessential’ London Dry. The team at the distillery work with the botanists and archivists to develop this organic gin.
Despite not really knowing much about the gin itself, I had been wanting a bottle for ages as I am a fan of Kew, and of organic produce. A few months ago our neighbour popped round with a gift as way of apology for the disruption from ongoing work they were having done on their house, and the subsequent mess on our shared driveway. He smiled and handed me a bottle of Kew Organic gin.
It was a bittersweet moment as I had bought myself a bottle just days before! Of course I didn’t tell him that!
The bottle comes in a lovely printed box with beautiful floral artwork all the way around. Because this is Kew gardens we’re talking about, even the box is ethically produced, with a small paragraph on the side stating the print work uses vegetable oil-based inks and water-based varnish.
The bottle itself is an elegant squared shape, with cut corners in the base that taper up to the shoulder, along with a nicely shaped label front and back printed on textured paper. The front label tells a little about the gin’s provenance, and of course bears the seal of the Royal Botanic Gardens, and the back tells a little about the history of the gardens, as well as providing the usual information. It has a nice wooden stopper and tamper label, all simple and clear, and the labels are also back printed in a red and blue liquid paint mix type design (I’m sure there’s a name for it but I’m not big on art history!). It’s classic and classy.
On the nose, this is indeed a quintessential London Dry with a beautiful, sweet juniper rising from the glass. Alongside that comes a strong sweet spice and crisp citrus, adding to the sense of the classic gin profile. Further in, some herbal notes, with the eucalyptus peeking out, fresh and bright. Finally a slight savoury tang gives a little bite. It’s well rounded and very appealing to the olfactory.
Neat, it’s smooth and full. There’s a lot going on here! Much more than the aroma would have you believe. The savoury flavours come out heavy and strong on the tongue with a rich mix of earthy and fresh herbs. It’s got a little peppery kick too, with a tangy citrus that’s warming, rather than sour. There are elements of sweet candy florals, but also bright spicy herbs as well. It’s hugely complex and while it feels like you can taste everything individually without being able to tell exactly what it is, it also works in real harmony. There’s absolutely loads of flavour.
With a drop of water, things calm down a bit, but for me not in a great way. The more sour/bitter/savoury aspects of the herbs and spices come through more strongly, along with a lot more citrus. Flavours are moved around with some brought forward and other set back a little, but I preferred it neat. It’s lost some of its warmth and verve, instead tasting a little more languid and unsure of itself. Now it feels a bit more like a crazy botanical experiment, rather than a well balanced gin.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Fevertree Mediterranean tonic) with lemon peel and lavender to garnish. The result is delicious. The sweet florals from the tonic really work well with those already existing in the gin, and there’s the perfect level of tang from the lemon to make sure things don’t get too flowery. Even better, the spices from the gin come through and work beautifully. They’re not explicit in flavour, but they add a beautiful warmth to the mix. Finally those savoury herbal notes that were so rich when tasted neat, bring a wonderful juxtaposition to the flavours, rounding everything off perfectly. This is a superb G&T with great depth.
I am very happy that fate gifted me with two bottles of this gin. It manages to marry all the flavours of a classic gin with so much more, without getting lost on the way. There is so much going on in this gin, I almost feel it could be a slightly different experience each time you taste it, but based on what I’ve had so far, it’s an absolute winner and one I think will hold up well in all kinds of cocktails. Highly recommended.
Kew Organic Gin is available online and at Kew Gardens
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.