Gin Mare is a Mediterranean gin distilled in a 13th century chapel in Spain.
Price: ~ £34
The distillery where Gin Mare is made is housed within a thirteenth century chapel located in an ancient fishing village between the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada, and the makers were keen for the liquid to reflect the Mediterranean. As such, classic herbs, and even olives were used as botanicals. For better or worse, the star ingredient in Gin Mare, the arbequina olive, changes every year depending on its acidity levels. This means each distillation is unique, though I imagine fluctuations are kept to a minimum, and indeed this is done through a delicate maceration process and the independent distillation of each botanical, under the watchful eye of the master distiller.
Gin Mare was one of the first gins, certainly in my experience, to be described by sellers as ‘super premium’, and the website contains an amazing amount of detail relating to the flavours created by the botanicals. It’s definitely worth checking out.
The bottle is a conical affair, with a pale violet-blue coloured base that has a smooth cut-out giving it a nice flowing line. The colour diffuses through the liquid giving the whole bottle a clean and clear feel, which is nicely offset by the white screen printed front label. The label is a lovely design of leaves (Juniper? Thyme?) that come halfway up the bottle, and inside is the name of the gin with a list of the star botanicals. Around the left side is a little blurb about the gin, and higher up the front, as if we didn’t already know, we’re told it’s a Mediterranean gin ‘Coleccion de autor’. The lid is a big silver cap, which it may interest you to know also serves as a 50ml jigger! It’s a nice bottle, if slightly spoilt by the lid in my opinion.
Crystal clean, fresh notes of juniper, herb, and citrus rise from the glass, sweet and with a little spice. It’s a wonderfully crisp aroma, but with plenty of body bringing to mind sprigs of freshly picked herbs and, for me, even a little mint. Sitting behind those herbs are fleshy citrus notes. A bright lemon mixes with a fuller, more warming orange, which brings through a sense of aromatic spices like cinnamon and clove, and a final little sour touch from the cardamom. It’s a fantastic smelling gin. Classic but with plenty of other things up front too.
Neat, the liquid is clean and bursting with flavour, though it is far more savoury than the nose might suggest. Juniper is very much front and centre, but for me the cardamom comes through beautifully, carried along with zingy citrus notes and heady, green herbs. I must admit I’m struggling to get any basil, but the rosemary and thyme give a pleasant, savoury, edge. In all honesty I’m not an olive fan so I’m not sure how to identify what elements of the flavour profile might be attributable, but I do get the feeling the fleshy, slightly bitter notes might have something to do with it. It’s a great tasting gin.
Water enhances the herbs, brings out other aromatic flavours, and softens the citrus and juniper. Interestingly the herbs brighten up with perhaps the barest hints of basil, while the spiced notes become a little richer for me, with more clove and cardamom flavours. It’s less bright overall but I think it might be even better for it. It feels more complex, mature and sophisticated.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Lamb & Watt Original Tonic with a sprig of rosemary and black peppercorns to garnish). The result is absolutely wonderful and so surprising. It’s sweet and savoury with lovely, clean herbal notes that mingle nicely with the tonic. It’s got a bitter tang, but it works perfectly with the sweetness from the tonic. It’s less of a classic G&T than I would have expected, but a lovely, fresh one nonetheless!
Gin Mare is much better than I remember. It’s exceptionally well made, with the liquid itself absolutely oozing quality in every aspect. So too do the flavours, with everything tasting fresh and clean. It’s a gin that wears its heart on its sleeve, and despite being around since before the boom, it still holds a significant place in the market. I can’t think of many gins that match the style of Gin Mare, so if you’re looking for a savoury, herbal gin with fresh citrus, look no further. Highly recommended.
Add half a feather if you love herbal gins
Gine Mare is available in shops and online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.