ELG No. 1 is a Danish gin based on the science of craft, and the craft of science.
Price: See below
The mind behind ELG gin is that of former biochemist Henrik Elsner. After retiring, he and his wife Lona moved to Fredensborg, near Copenhagen, and decided to set up a winery-cum-distillery ‘nNamed Stone Grange (after the stony landscape of the fields) with the intention of making wine and brandy. Unable to stop himself from expetimenting, Henrik soon began using juniper, and from there the search for complimentary botanicals to make gin began. Henrik’s method was to distill every botanical separately, and in the end, after distilling just about everything he could get his hands on, he settled on just two to blend with the juniper: coriander seed and local carrot. The methods he uses to distill each is different, and the carrot is only distilled when in season between July and August. As you’d expect from a biochemist, attention to detail is key!
ELG No. 1 was Craft Gin Club’s gin for March 2018 and, as suggested by the name, there are a number of gins in the range, as well as other spirits, but of course No.1 is the original.
The bottle is shaped in the pharmacy style with a rounded shoulder and wide lip, though the base does not have the deep dimple present in similar bottles. The wooden stopper, slightly more narrow than the lip of the bottle, is nicely engraved with the name of the distillery. The front label is an oval design on white textured paper, with ‘ELG’ written in large green letters as a background to the dark grey text that provildes a little detail about the gin including vol. and ABV, as well as the awards the gin has won. On the back is a rectangular label with batch number and a little more info, as well as the usual. It’s a lovely clean and classy design in a nicely shaped bottle. It stands out for it’s lightness, simplicity and of course the giant letters!
The first thing this gin does is surprise you with its aroma. Bright, crisp juniper abounds, and coriander seed pops at the fore, while sweet and chewy bubblegum notes roll around. There’s a beautiful fruitiness too, wrapped up in a creamy texture. I get pepper and cola cubes, with a little bit of bark to add some woodiness. It’s absolutely amazing.
Neat, and right alongside the big piney notes of juniper, coriander seed packs a big, bitter-citrus punch. It has a bit of burn to it, I won’t deny, but then it’s quite a high ABV so that’s fine. There’s still a creamy taste for me, but it’s contrasted with the very crisp juniper that almost fizzes. There’s a definite dark peppery bite, but beyond the initial impact I can’t distinguish many other flavours, though that’s not to say there’s a lack, not at all. The longevity is really impressive and I can taste it long after each sip. It’s a very classic, dry gin with big flavour.
Water creates an explosion of the already existing flavours, bringing everything down to a level that makes it a bit easier to appreciate. The juniper dives down into a fuller, earthier flavour giving the overall taste a much greener feel. The coriander seed levels out and gives off big citrus, cola vibes for me. It’s different, and for me much improved. It feels like I’m sat in the middle of a forest of pine trees and my glass is being filled with its essence by kindly sprites. It’s fantastic.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with dried kumquat to garnish). The result is absolutely delicious but… I had to add a little more gin for it to really shine, so it’s probably closer to 2:1.
A very classic though surprisingly sweet G&T, I get glorious notes of fresh pine, earthy citrus and still for me a tiny hint of smokey, woody cola. It works perfectly with the tonic, and the cloudy, pearlescent drink is a testament to the quality of the liquid. This is an exceptional G&T.
ELG No. 1 is a truly great gin. For its simplicity (purely in terms of botanical makeup) it delivers more flavour than a lot of the competition and just gets better with water and tonic. It’s perfectly balanced, but still packs a punch. In fact there’s almost nothing I can say against it… except… it’s very difficult to get hold of. Having looked (in order to confirm average price) you basically have to order it from Denmark, at which point you’re almost doubling the cost for shipping, making the total for a UK order around the £60 mark. That’s a lot. Otherwise, if you can get hold of a bottle, I would absolutely recommend it!
Add half a feather if you can get hold of it
ELG No. 1 is available online, but mainly only from Denmark
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.