Eden Mill’s Hop Gin is the result of someone asking the question: What if the arts of distilling and brewing got freaky with each other?
Price: ~ £26 (50cl)
Australian galaxy hops
Eden Mill is Scotland’s first single-site distillery and brewery, making gin, whisky, and beer. Based on the banks of the River Eden and the site of an historic distillery, they were the first to make spirits in the region for 150 years, using copper pot-stills and in their gin both locally and internationally sourced botanicals.
The brand is keen on sustainability, and is aiming to build a carbon neutral distillery by 2022, set within the University of St. Andrews’ Eden Campus, and this is the reason you may not be as familiar with their ceramic bottles, which are being phased out and replaced with a new lightweight glass bottle. I don’t know whether this will apply to the entire range, but it’s a good start!
For their hop gin, the team decided to combine their knowledge of brewing with that of gin making. My understanding is that the gin is macerated in the hops after distillation, giving it a golden hue.
Now, before we begin, a disclaimer: I hate beer. I hate ale, lager, bitter, stout, porter, IPA, pilsner… you get the picture. This gin was actually a gift from friends who shall remain nameless.
The bottle is a classic ceramic, slightly squat, swing-top bottle in black. On the front the printed label simply states the distillery and name of the gin, along with a nice little illustration of some hops. On the back is a little blurb about the inspiration behind the gin, as well as the usual info. It’s black, minimal, and somewhat uninspiring, but perfectly functional.
A warm, slightly lemony juniper drifts up from the glass. Given my dislike of the usual liquid products made from hops, this is actually really pleasant. There’s a sweetness, as well as a touch of bitterness, but for me it definitely has the aroma of a gin. It has the suggestion of a shandy for the first instant, then the juniper comes through and makes its presence known. There’s a good body on the nose I find, and the warm lemon works really well with the juniper. The hops are there, but not as dominant as one might expect.
Neat, it’s a slightly different story. First on the tongue is bright lemon oil and juniper, along with a flash of alcohol that fades to leave a distinct bitter hop flavour. There are hints of violet at the fore, but the aftertaste is very hoppy, and for me little else remains. As a gin lover, not a beer lover, this is not particularly pleasant and I find it lingers on.
Water removes the flash of alcohol that accompanied the juniper and citrus flavours, allowing them to last a fraction longer before the watered down hop flavour barges in and takes up a whole table to itself. Again, I find there is little else for me to explore and that it’s like drinking a very mild but alcoholic beer which for me is the last thing I want.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Ridge Valley Indian Tonic with a pair of lemon wheels to garnish). The result is like a cross between a G&T and a weak shandy, but I feel probably succeeds in being neither. The tonic certainly lifts the juniper and citrus, but again only for a moment before the bitter hops claw their way up from the depths and wreak their havoc on the land. That said, Mrs Raven likes it, showing that it’s all relative at the end of the day!
As an experiment, it has its pluses for sure and I think folks who enjoy both gin and beer will almost certainly enjoy it more than me, but I would argue the other side of that argument is that ideally anyone who likes gin should be able to enjoy this, and I don’t think that’s the case. It has far too much hoppy bitterness at the end and it lingers too long to be enjoyed as a gin in my opinion. I think it’s an interesting idea, but it’s been overdone and results in a liquid that goes beyond what can reasonably be called a gin. I imagine this is probably quite a marmite gin, you either love it or hate it.
Add half a feather if you really like hops. Remove half if not.
Eden Mill – Hop is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.