Ramsbury is one of the UK’s few single estate gins, using their own Horatio wheat to create the base spirit.
Price: ~ £33
Dried lemon peel
Dried orange peel
In the heart of the Wiltshire countryside sits the Ramsbury estate. It’s here that Horatio wheat is harvested and used to create the base spirit for both Ramsbury Gin and Vodka. The botanicals include juniper locally picked on Salisbury Plain, and quince grown in the grounds of the distillery. Made in a 160L still the gin is cut using water from the estate, then chill filtered before being bottled.
Twelve months and two weeks ago, this bottle arrived in the post; a birthday present from my best friend, Hannah, and her husband Ben. I thought it was about time I gave it a proper quaffing!
The bottle is a lovely shape, though difficult to describe! At the base it is a fairly narrow oval, which gently balloons out in all directions before tapering back in to the neck. Round the front of the base the name ‘Stockclose Farm’ is embossed above which sits a green and off-white label with a description of the gin and details of the distillation including the address, batch, when the base spirit was distilled, as well as when the gin itself was distilled. Up top on the front there’s a round indentation in which sits the main label in deep green, with the name of the gin, ram’s head logo, and finely detailed illustrations of wheat and leaves all in silver, which offsets against the green well. Above the label the word ‘Ramsbury’ is embossed. On the back is a transparent label giving more information on the gin, and the stopper is topped in what seems like pewter, also embossed with the ram’s head logo and the name, which is a nice touch. It’s a lovely bottle, let down only by the fact that the barcode on the back label can be clearly seen from the front.
Tangy quince springs clear of the glass, with a fruity punch that has a definite dry, wheaty edge; a clear testament to the base spirit. The fruitiness falls away to a pungent, earthy tone that I would say is the angelica, though woody citrus and powdered floral swell and fade alongside. Hints of citrus drift around the edges of the quince, but be in no doubt a backdrop of juniper runs throughout.
Neat the flavour is absolutely classic gin, but there are two extra elements that really take the flavour in different directions for me. The most obvious is the extra layer of fruit from the quince, providing a full-bodied tangy flavour, but delve a little deeper and once again it’s the base spirit that sings. Horatio wheat is commonly used to make biscuits, and thanks to the sweetness from the other botanicals I get a beautiful cereal, biscuit note. There’s a slight spice kick too, which provides a nice relief from the fruit.
Water brings out the more earthy, woody tones of the classic botanicals in the mix, bringing the overall flavour down into slightly more bitter territory. The cinnamon is more evident, as is the coriander, but juniper remains, as does the wheat.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with thinly sliced apple and lime to garnish). The result is lovely and refreshing, with a delicate, yet complex flavour. The lime cuts through nicely, bringing an added sharpness to the fruity flavours, but the tonic also compliments the base resulting in a bittersweet classic flavour, but with a hint of that biscuit/cereal taste. It feels as though the gin is walking a tightrope between classic and contemporary, keeping a steady balance throughout, and as the flavours develop, that balance only improves.
Ramsbury is a really interesting gin and one that is definitely worth spending some time with. The first sip positively screams quince, and while it’s very well done here, it’s only a small part of the story this gin has to tell. Go beyond and you’ll find a very classic gin profile that’s not afraid to take a tumble with some more unusual flavours, especially that of the base spirit, which is exceptional (and is making me seriously consider getting their vodka!). It successfully blurs the line between classic and contemporary flavour profiles, so I can see it appealing to a lot of tastes. Definitely recommended.
Ramsbury gin is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.