Nordés gin heralds from Galicia in northwest Spain, and is named after the wind that heralds the arrival of fine weather.
Price: ~ £35
As with many good stories, the tale of Nordés gin begins with a group of friends enjoying a meal. These friends, a renowned sommelier, a Galician winemaker, and a master distiller, made them ideal partners in imagining a Galician gin, created using local ingredients, that would make it truly different. However, such expertise does not always guarantee instant success and a period trial and error ensued that, finally resulted in the discovery of their perfect combination of ingredients, and one they felt captured the essence of Galicia.
Using a base made from the native albariño grape, the botanicals are individually macerated for different lengths of time, then the liquid is distilled and bottled.
The bottle is a fairly squat, round affair with a bold blue and white design, the inspiration for which comes from the traditional porcelain products made by hand in Sargadelos, in Galicia. It’s a little deceptive as I often forget it’s a full 70cl, making it a very tidy bottle indeed. The front is printed with a map of the world made up of dark blue dots, with the location of Galicia made prominent with a red dot and stylised arrow to make it look like an exclamation point, which is subtle and very clever. On the back a detailed description of the gin and botanicals is provided in what I believe to be Galician, Spanish, and English. It’s instantly recognisable, and very cool.
Right from the start, it’s clear this gin is different. Fans of dry juniper notes will be entering unfamiliar territory, for ahead lies an unmistakably grape-based spirit, full of perfumed floral tones and subtle herbs. As an aroma it is quite remarkable, and one I imagine tending in different directions based on the predilections of the person behind the nose. For me, beyond the grape is a bright, almost sharp hit of hibiscus, with hints of ginger, perfumed herbs, and even a little saline. It’s bright and crisp, clear and fresh, and while juniper is difficult to locate, it still feels like a gin, albeit a very contemporary one, but a lovely smelling one at that.
Sipped neat, Nordés is exquisitely smooth, and while all of those aromatic notes come through in the flavour, it’s here that the essence of the juniper comes through. There’s no burn whatsoever, making this dangerously easy to drink, and the flavours really carve out their own space, making it a very interesting experience. At the fore, herbal juniper notes give way to hibiscus, ginger, and eucalyptus, mingling into a fairly strong perfumed flavour that I imagine may not be to everyone’s taste. After sitting for a little while, a mellowing occurs, introducing a little buttermint to the profile for me, which is a pleasant addition to what I would call a large number of ‘high notes’.
With water, the taste undergoes a degree of change, bringing it more firmly into herbal territory and away from the heady perfumed notes from before. The juniper is more prominent here too, though for me it is still very tightly woven into the sweeter herbal notes. Shades of verbena and cardamom begin to emerge, along with a mild bitterness that reminds me of tea without quite getting the taste of it. It’s less bright, but I think a little better for it.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with dried hibiscus to garnish). The result is absolutely gorgeous. All the distracting perfumed notes are gone and what remains is a lovely and crisp, refreshing drink with plenty of sweetness. It works really well with the tonic, which brings out some more classic gin elements, while at the same time bringing an almost tropical feel to the drink.
Nordés is a fantastic spirit that, for me, very much skirts the furthest edges of being a gin. While its classification may be contentious, one thing in my mind that is for sure, is that it is absolutely delicious. I can’t think of another gin I have ever tried that comes close to the flavours on offer here, and while I would recommend caution to those who are not keen on bright, perfumed flavours, for everyone else I would strongly recommend it.
Half a feather deducted for not really being a gin.
Nordés is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.