Whitby gin have created a special edition for Craft Gin Club named after the ship that brought Dracula to our shores!
Price: ~ £ N/A
In 2017 founders Jess and Luke took a trip around Scotland and the Hebrides, and found themselves wondering why, with its rich history, Whitby didn’t have its own distillery, when there were so many other places with one. Before they returned home, they decided they were going to be the answer to that question, and ordered a small pot still in which to start making their own gin.
From a small utility foom in Luke’s parent’s house, the first batch of Whitby gin was eventually born, and since then the brand has gone from strength to strength, including winning best British London Dry 2019 at the World Gin Awards.
I had the pleasure of taking part in a small tasting event with them both via Zoom recently, organised by our friend David who owns a local wine and spirits merchant in Otley called ChezVin, and can say that they are two of the most lovely, passionate people I have met in the industry.
For this exclusive Craft Gin Club edition, they took inspiration from a fictional part of Whitby’s history: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Named after the ship that brought the infamous count to our shores, they added fresh and dried black plum (a favourite food amongst bats) to their recipe.
Whitby have just rebranded their bottles, and whilst their old bottle was nice (I’ve got their original gin in the old design) the new one is incredibly striking, and from what I understand they basically designed it themselves! I distinctly remember Luke telling us that some manufacturers told them it could not be done, but thankfully they found someone who was willing to try! They’ve put a lot of thought into the design, and it shows.
It’s a medium height cylindrical bottle with curved shoulder and wide lip. The whole bottle (except in a few little places for the labels) is embossed with an irregular ripple effect designed to represent the waves of the sea, which crash up the neck. It’s a wonderful texture to hold. Front and centre is an elaborately shaped label with the name of the gin amongst a swirling black line design (with metallic purple for this edition) that includes the silhouette of Whitby Abbey. Below that is a narrow dark grey label that runs around the fron half of the bottle and is topped with a wave design. The label describes the edition and includes a lovely little illustration of a ship, as well as the distillers signature. On the back is another narrow grey label with information on the way the gin is made as well as the usual info.
But thats not all! Hiding beneath the surface (see what I did there?) is, for me, the most spectacular aspect of the bottle. The base is no ordinary glass bottom, it’s a gorgeous ammonite! One of the fossils found to the Whitby coastline.
A fresh, maritime juniper rises from the glass with sweet herbal notes of heather. Warm citrus and floral notes are also apparent, with vanilla giving it a faint creaminess than ends with a faint bite of pepper. It’s a wonderfully balanced aroma, though there’s still lots going on. It really does have a ‘land and sea’ feeling to it, which is absolutely what the team are going for, thanks to the pepper dulse lending it a salty tang. Faint notes of deep hibiscus also float around in the background with the aromatic spices, but for me it’s the lighter citrus and floral notes that win through.
Neat, the juniper comes through beautifully, along with a slightly unexpected tang of sour fruit and spice. There are definite salty notes which I enjoy hugely, and a woody, earthy, herbal element to the floral flavours which I think comes from the rosehip. The citrus is muted, and cardamom comes through nicely with a peppery bite at the end. Overall it’s very nice albeit a little bitter for my tastes.
Water softens a lot of the flavours, and citrus comes through for me a lot more now, with peppery spice following. There are still some earthy notes bringing to mind the heather and rosehip, even perhaps the hibiscus, which I always find has a very deep flavour.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with dried orange and black peppercorns to garnish). The result is… in need of more gin. So at 2:1 the gin comes through a lot better. It’s dry, though sweetened by the tonic, but with a pleasantly juxtaposed saltiness. It doesn’t come through as much as I would like here though, with, to me at least, fairly indistinct bitter notes being second to the juniper. Let is rest a little and more of the flavours start to come through much better.
Whitby’s Demeter Edition is an interesting deviation from the original, but for me it’s not quite as good. To my tastes, there are a few too many bitter notes in there to make it truly exceptional, though that by certainly does not mean that it isn’t good. Whitby make excellent gin, and this is no exception. The quality is top notch, and it’s a real treat to get a special edition for Craft Gin Club. I have no idea whether this edition will go on general sale, but if it does, I would still recommend you give it a try.
Add half a feather if you enoy bitter flavours.
Whitby Demeter Edition is exclusive to Craft Gin Club at the time of writing.
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.