Swedish Rose Gin is made by the geniuses at Hernö, for those quirky folks at That Boutique-y Gin Company.
Price: ~ £38 (50cl)
Dried rose petal
I’ll be honest. I know nothing about That Boutique-y Gin Company (though I’m confident they’re the same people behind all the other Boutique-y spirit brands!), and indeed their website gives little more information than that they are a mysterious group whose mission it is to bring masses of interesting spirits to the masses. They have no fewer than 56 gins under their brand, and this particular one is made by Hernö, one of the most awarded gin makers in the world.
The recipe behind Swedish Rose is two-fold. Taking cues from their incredible Juniper Cask gin, they take some of their neutral grain spirit and rest it in those very same casks. The standard Hernö recipe is then used, but with the meadowsweet and lingonberries dialed down and, as the name suggests, the addition of dried rose petals, which are added straight to the pot still just before it is heated. Once the distillation is complete, a little of the juniper cask neutral spirit is blended in, giving that wonderful texture and woody finish.
As with all TBGC offerings, the bottle is not the story, being a totally bog standard cylinder. Instead, it’s the labels that make the gins stand out, though they’re not to everyone’s liking! They are always interesting though, and are designed to tell the story behind the liquid inside, and often include little in-jokes. For this edition, the label shows David T Smith (all-round gin expert and advisor for TBGC) and Jon Hillgren (founder and master distiller of Hernö) fighting over some freshly cut juniper wood (from the tree in the background). Jon wants it to feed the fire under the still, whilst David is interested in making another barrel. The onlooker in the background is Pontius Partridge (no idea), sipping on a garishly-coloured cocktail. The artist behind the labels is Grace J Ward.
A lovely resinous juniper rises from the glass, ensconced on a bed of subtly scented fresh rose petals. It’s light and floral, but with some mild earthy tones and a pleasant creaminess from the vanilla, then slowly a dry pepper emerges. Finally, the meadowsweet comes through with it’s powdery, green floral tones. Overall it’s a fairly classic aroma, and certainly familiar to drinkers of Hernö, but there’s also a good dose of florals in there too. I really like it.
Neat the juniper is dominant, fresh and full of flavour, no doubt aided by that blend of juniper-cask-rested spirit. The pepper provides a pleasant little bite, and the citrus element comes through here, adding to the freshness of the experience. Once it’s sat a little, the berry comes through with a tartness that reminds me a little of dark chocolate, before those wonderful floral elements come through to add a sweet, powdered taste. Right at the very end, there’s a strong, slightly sour flavour from the cassia that actually comes as quite a surprise! It’s complex, with a lot going on, and I’m enjoying it a lot.
Water brings out the pepper a little more for me, but also the sweetness of the rose and meadowsweet, which balances very nicely. The juniper remains dominant and delicious, with the cassia coming forward quite a bit, changing the balance and pushing the citrus back. The profile feels less fresh, but enjoyably rich and spiced.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with rose petals to garnish). The result is absolutely fantastic, full of flavour and sweet floral elements. The juniper soars with the overall sweetness, flying high with sweet citrus, subtle aromatic spice, and fresh but full floral flavours. I’m absolutely loving this. The cassia comes in as a very pleasant aftertaste, rounding off the overall flavour that has just about everything I enjoy in a G&T. This works a lot better than I was expecting.
I’m not sure it’s possible for Hernö to make anything other than fantastic gin. My first impressions of this, when I took my first sips, were that it was fine, but didn’t stand out, but spending some time with it I have come to the firm decision that it is a great gin. It has pretty much all the elements that makes Hernö great, with added rose petal (which I am a fan of). It’s got loads going on when sipped neat, and does with water too, though in different ways. The G&T genuinely took me by surprise though. I wasn’t expecting a floral gin to work so well with Indian tonic, but it’s absolutely delicious. Highly recommended.
Remove half a feather if you’re not a fan of floral flavours.
Swedish Rose is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.