Aquine is a Scottish dry gin from the Glasgow Distillery Company, made exclusively for Lidl
Price: ~ £20
In response to Lidl’s successful Scottish Gin Festival, the company decided to work toward having their own exclusive Scottish gin. Named by combining the words ‘aqua’ and ‘equine’, Aquine is produced by the Glasgow Distillery Company. The name may be familiar as the distillery not only produce whisky, but also the Makar gin range.
The bottle is a fairly standard cylindrical shape with round shoulder and a medium length neck. It’s topped with a nice wooden stopper and around the neck is a dark green label listing the botanicals, which is nice. The main label is a full height wrap-around transparent plastic (sadly not the most sustainable approach) and features a unicorn front and centre. Beneath the body of the unicorn sits the name of the gin, volume and ABV. It’s fairly eye-catching, but not so well done that it truly stands out. On the back is a little blurb about the mythical unicorn, followed by tasting and serving notes, and the usual info. It’s nice enough but feels a little lacklustre.
A slightly odd combination of citrus and bramble leads the aroma, along with a pungent juniper. It’s zesty but with leafy, berry notes which feels a bit of a contrast, though not unpleasant. Rosehip forms a big part of the follow-up, giving earthy, light woody notes. It’s quite different in many ways, but it’s fresh and clean. After the initial fruity notes, I think the juniper and rosehip end up taking charge, with a very dry orange working in the background along with the leafy bramble notes. It’s nice, but a little strange to my senses.
Neat, the juniper roars with a deep, earthy flavour that anyone who has tried the Makar gin will instantly recognise. For my tastes, it’s a very distinct juniper flavour that I’m not sure I’ve found anywhere else yet, and I would say it takes a little while to get used to. Here though, it’s warming, pungent and has a definite sting in its tail with a little peppery kick at the end. The other botanicals very much play second fiddle to the juniper, with orange-oil coming through for me nicely, a leafy green note from the bramble, and a fruity, floral note from the rosehips. There’s a long-lasting flavour, and as it sits more of the florals from the rosehips develop, as well as a hint of spice.
Water brings out a bit more of the earthy tones for me, with more fruit from the bramble coming through and still plenty of juniper. The citrus seems a little more noticeable, almost as a binding flavour rather than a distinct one, like an afterthought. It’s still got huge amounts of flavour, but overall I would say it’s on the heavier, darker end of the spectrum with stewed wood, earth, pepper, and leaves.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Ridge Valley Indian Tonic with fresh lemon peel to garnish). The result is really great, with those huge juniper flavours working wonders with the tonic water. That’s what this is all about really, the juniper. It’s thick and heavy, but when lightened and sweetened with the tonic it really comes alive. The rosehip brings a fresh hedgerow floral to the show, and the citrus peels round things off nicely. This is a bold, full on G&T with an almost treacly hit to it which I think would work even better with the advised orange peel garnish (thouhgh I confess I’ll be tempted to try a full slice of orange next time).
As someone who regularly drink spirits neat, Aquine is a gin that reminds me that not all gins should be judged too strongly on that premise. This is a gin that is made for mixing. The G&T is really good and I can very much imagine this working well in a Negroni too. So yes, while it’s not one I love neat, it does make a fine G&T. The price is good too, and I definitely think fans of Makar would enjoy this. I’m not sure how readily available it is in Lidl now, but if you’re looking for a bold juniper-y mixing gin I’d recommend it.
Add up to one feather if you’re a big Makar fan
Aquine is available from Lidl stores
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.