Martin Miller’s classic is a multi-award winning gin distilled in England and blended with Icelandic spring water.
Price: ~ £24
Bitter orange peel
Dried lemon peel
Dried lime peel
Martin Miller’s is the world’s most awarded gin of the last 10 years, so says their website, and you can see a number of them adorn the label. What at first appears as a flourish of gold underlining the word ‘gin’ is, on closer inspection, actually a grouping of nine awards. It’s an impressive list.
Named after the man himself, Martin Miller lived a somewhat interesting sounding life (can you sense the level of understatement there?) until, in 1998, having grown bored he and two friends challenged themselves to create ‘the best gin in the world’. This is the result.
The bottle is a tall (though not too tall for a standard shelf), tapered number with the absolute minimum of labelling. On the front is a small label with the name, above the crossed flags of England and Iceland, the awards, and brief description. On the back is another small label with a blurb giving the values behind the brand, as well as the usual legal info. So far, so standard. Where this bottle stands out though is the screen printing on the back of the bottle that is visible from the front, depicting a section of a globe and a red travel line linking the two key locations in England and Iceland. It’s a lovely touch. The front is also printed with a little more, but in reality it’s nothing not already evident and is barely noticeable. It stands out, and is instantly recognisable.
The first thing that hits me on the nose is warm spice and citrus. It is an aroma that positively screams for you to dive right in, making it genuinely difficult not to simply start sipping. There’s a beautiful citrus from the coriander, warmth from the cassia and nutmeg, and slight zing from the peel, but all with an underlying sweetness that’s utterly divine. The sweet spices give an almost bubblegum note, as well as a touch of cola, backed up by the citrus. The iris provides a powdery fragrance, which mingles with angelica to provide depth and body to it all, eventually drifting into some earthy notes. There is a lot going on here and it’s wonderful.
Neat the liquid is smooth, clear, and clean, with a good deal of floral and earthy tones hitting the tongue, quickly followed up by some bitter citrus. The juniper is more present, but not in a way I feel as familiar with as I might. There’s no viscosity, in fact it’s almost ‘thin’ in texture, but I imagine this is deliberate given the significance the Icelandic water plays in the branding. The flavour is more dry citrus and pepper, so there are far less sweet and spicy notes than I was expecting based on the nose, which for me is a little disappointing, but there’s still a lot of flavour to work through. The lime I think plays a larger part here, as well as the angelica resulting in a sharper, drier flavour.
With water, those warmer spices and orange notes come racing back in. I get the iris, with it’s pale pastel tones, and warm, earthy cassia and nutmeg. Still with a lot less sweetness than on the nose, but vastly different to drinking it neat. This is again a much drier flavour, but for sure with more orange and brown tones to it. It’s softer, fuller, and more rounded. Overall though there is a definite coriander citrus, backed up by the peels, and with a touch of pepper.
Finally, G&T (3:1 Fever-Tree Indian Tonic) with a slice of lime, as recommended by the website. My first thought was that the lime garnish would amp up the bitter flavours too much and it would be too dry a G&T for my tastes. How wrong I was. This is an incredible G&T and I have to admit, I can’t really understand how it’s this good. The reason I say that is because my favourite experience from the gin so far was on the nose, not the taste, which was more dry and bitter than my personal preference. Yet there are flavours here that are entirely unexpected. I get strawberry, almost peach levels of sweet fruit here, long with the perfect balance of sweet spice, followed up by a delicious tang of lime. I would be remiss if I did not say that this is one of the best G&T’s I’ve ever had.
Well, I feel like this review was a bit of a roller-coaster! I was utterly, utterly in love with the aroma, it had everything I love (with the possible exception of cardamom) on the nose, but then neat it was definitely too dry for me which I must say gave me a little concern. Adding water definitely helped, and I began to see where things were going, enjoying the softer touch that it provided which let me delve a little deeper. And that was where I thought it would end. I honestly thought the G&T would be very similar to the flavour with water, but it really isn’t. This gin is absolutely sensational with tonic. Sensational. I can’t wait to try it in other cocktails.
Martin Miller’s is available online and in shops
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.