Rhamanta is a special Valentine edition from the Gower (or GŴYR) Gin Company for the Craft Gin Club’s February box.
Price: ~ £40
Pink grapefruit zest
Red rose petals
From the Welsh peninsula of Gower, in a microdistillery overlooking the sea, Siân and Andrew Brooks are the folks behind The Gower Gin Company. With several gins already under their belt, they’ve now produced this special edition for Craft Gin Club, and with February being all about Saint Valentine, and with Cupid indiscriminately firing arrows every which way, there was no other direction this gin could go really was there?! Dubbed ‘Rhamanta’, which was the ancient Welsh tradition of finding out your true love, there’s no prize for guessing what one of the key botanicals is, but there are plenty of others in there that suggest this isn’t just going to be the gin equivalent of some petrol station flowers!
The bottle matches the rest of the brand’s range and is a simple round affair with a light wooden stopper. The label matches the brand too, with strong horizontal lines of alternating white and red replacing the regular black and white. On the left side of the label is a rose printed in gold. The back label has plenty of information about the gin and the distillery in both Welsh and English, as well as the usual information. It’s simple and a little uninspired for my liking, but it’s certainly striking and easily recognisable.
On the nose, there’s a lovely fresh herbal and pine aroma mixed together that softly climbs from the glass. The fennel grows as the juniper fades, and is replaced by a soft tang of citrus that works beautifully, expanding beyond the olfactory to the point where I actually find it relaxing. The orris begins to come through at the back, giving an earthy yet floral note, almost almond-like when considered with the lemon. Finally, a hint of tangy pomegranate suggests itself. It’s a gorgeous smelling gin.
Neat there’s a lot going on right from the start with citrus, herbs, and sweet earthy florals coming through all at once. Despite the initial rush though, nothing feels out of balance. There are no gaudy elements vying for your attention like a shiny helium filled balloon here, this is an ensemble piece. If I had to name a lead, it would be the fennel, but the part is played so well it’s impossible to complain. Really, the fennel is lifted up by everything else and it works very well indeed.
Water brings out a lot of richness in those more earthy, pungent flavours, though adds a level of sweetness too. The orris really comes through strongly here, even taking the lead at times I think. The fennel is still there, but as it’s a subtle flavour to begin with, other notes begin to come through including the pomegranate and rose, though the latter is very subtle. It’s quite different to how it tasted neat, but still lovely.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 The Artisan Drinks Co. Pink Citrus Tonic) with dried lemon and rose buds to garnish. The result is fabulous, though I worry lightly that the tonic is a touch too strongly flavoured for the gin. There’s so much going on here it’s almost difficult to keep up! Such wonderful sweetness, but with a very pleasant tag from the citrus, and lightness from the florals. The fennel has to fight a bit here, but it’s still there adding a fresh herbal backdrop to the more up-front sweet, tangy citrus notes. It’s a very different G&T but it’s a very nice drink. To contrast, Mrs Raven has Fever Tree Light tonic, and I have to say the gin really shines through in that a lot more than it’s able here. Both great drinks though.
Well, if this is anything to go by (and I firmly believe it is), I’ll be adding GŴYR to my list of ‘must try’ gins. There’s such a wonderful range of flavours to this, and all the elements work together so beautifully that it becomes so much more than the sum of its parts. You could be forgiven for thinking this was going to be rose heavy, but while somehow staying true to that element, it’s almost the least important part of the flavour because everything else in there is so good. I don’t know if this will be widely available at any point, but if it does I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to try more from GŴYR!
GŴYR Rhamanta is, at the time of writing, available exclusively through the Craft Gin Club
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.