Cotswolds dry gin is distilled using around 10x the average quantities of botanicals, in a hand made copper pot still.
Price: ~ £32
Pink grapefruit zest
You might think that using such a large quantity of botanicals, Cotswolds would be a multi-shot gin (this is where the botanical mix is high enough to create an intense distillate that is then cut with pure grain alcohol before diluting to bottling strength with water, in order to get a higher yield with a single distillation run), but you would be wrong! It is still a single-shot gin, and the distillate is also non-chill filtered, meaning that all the essential oils and extracts from the botanicals remain in the final product. This results in ‘louching’ (pearlescent cloudiness) when the gin is mixed with water or tonic.
As you might be able to see from the image, there’s a World Gin Awards sticker on the bottle, for the 2016 best London Dry gin.
The bottle is a very deep antique green that essentially looks black until held up to the light. It’s rounded, with a lovely delicate taper towards the base and a couple of nice labels on the front. In the centre is a shaped, dark label with the name of the gin below the distillery emblem of what I think is a grouse, but can’t be sure. Beneath that is a swish little diagonal label in grey that gives a little info on the non-chill filtered process, as well as the batch number, date, and size. On the back is a label giving information about the production of the gin, information on the distillery, and the usual legal info. It’s a classy bottle, that stands out in it’s dark colour.
On the nose a rich, spiced and earthy juniper drifts up slowly, as though weighted down. It’s a heady aroma full of fresh, earthy notes of pepper and citrus, but lifted by the lavender which provides a beautiful creamy texture. There’s a big punchy bouquet, finished off with a spark from the fresh citrus. It has a touch of burn to it if you get too close (which is easy to do as it’s an inviting aroma!) but it’s a great smelling gin.
Neat, there’s a big hit of juniper that expands and intensifies, then tails off just at the right moment. Pepper is evident, kicking things up a bit at the back, while those zesty fruits play at the front. The other spices seem a little more transient, but in a way that makes chasing them enjoyable, and there’s not as much lavender on the palate for me as I thought there might be. There’s a fair amount of bitterness, but it’s well balanced and full of flavour.
A touch of water transforms the flavour, giving new life to the lavender, coriander, and cardamom. The citrus is taken way back, allowing some delicious bittersweet earthy notes to come through. It still tastes lovely and fresh, and I prefer this to drinking it neat, but I’m more of a warm spice guy than zesty citrus mostly.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Lamb & Watt Original Tonic) with dried lavender and lemon peel. Firstly, there’s definitely some louching going on! It’s a lovely pearlescent drink, and it tastes absolutely fantastic. The citrus once again takes a bit more of a back seat, and the juniper shines nicely, along with some wonderful spiced and peppered flavours. Everything is working together really well here, the pepper is bright, the bay gives a lovely warm spiced herbal note that gives the overall flavour a lot of depth, and the cardamom adds a little sour spice to compliment the citrus. Though lavender isn’t present in a floral sense, I do think it does a lot of heavy lifting in keeping some of the other botanicals from getting out of control. This is a really great, full-bodied G&T.
Cotswolds is fantastic gin that’s full of flavour, body, and texture. It’s has something for almost everyone too, hitting strong on the citrus, spice, and (to a lesser extent) floral side. It’s rich, makes a great G&T and I’m willing to bet works very well in a variety of cocktails (which I look forward to finding confirming!). It also does a great job of being a classic London Dry, whilst also being different enough to be worth seeking out. I would definitely recommend it!
Cotswolds is available online and in some shops
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.