Cotton Garden Gin is the latest edition from Otterbeck distillery and was Craft Gin Club’s September gin of the month.
Price: ~ £33
Cotton gin comes from a distillery fairly local to me, and one which I’m looking forward to visiting! Otterbeck distillery is located near Skipton, North Yorkshire and was founded by three friends Nicola, Alexa, and Geri. The distillery is located in a once derelict and now converted cotton (hence the name) and silk mill which is part of the property Nicola and her husband Dougie own. Through a somewhat complex story of friends sharing ideas, husbands bumping into each other, and conversations over a G&T, fate eventually brought them all together and Cotton Gin was born. Produced in a 450l copper still named Eliza, named after the mill owner’s wife, the distillery are consistently growing their range with other editions, including one made for and with Captain Sir Tom Moore.
The bottle is a tall cylinder with shallow angled shoulder and a fairly long neck. The label is printed onto the glass and is composed of a plain white centre, featuring the name of the gin, distillery, volume and ABV. Surrounding this and wrapping around almost the entire bottle, are dozens of nicely illustrated cotton flowers. This particular edition is white and green, but the original is a copper and white. It’s a nice, simple design that’s eye catching and has a natural, fresh, and clean feel to it.
Subtle leafy greens emanate from the glass along with a hint of dry spice and earthy warmth. It’s classic but with a twist, the citrus playing a muted role allowing the herbs to shine through a little more. There’s a pleasantly clean aroma, with plenty of mid-tones nicely balanced between bright and rich, and though nothing stands out particularly, this does mean the gin presents a harmonious profile. To me, it doesn’t come across as a gin with one or two elements that the makers want to highlight or show off, it comes across as a well-planned, carefully considered gin. It may not have a ‘wow’ factor in that sense, but as someone who appreciates a well made gin, it definitely impresses.
Neat, the liquid is incredibly smooth, even soft on the tongue. There are some lovely herbaceous notes, along with some classic pine tones, but perhaps most interestingly is a mild, sweet aftertaste that almost puts me in mind of toffee. Hints of rich dried lemon come through nicely, helping brighten the greener notes. The spices too are a little more evident, for me working together to give provide a backdrop to the citrus, herbs, and classic gin flavours. Everything feels like it’s working together really well.
Water brings out some softer flavours, but retains the sweetness. I definitely get more of the rosemary, sage, and thyme, even the yarrow begins to expand amongst the flavours. My fist impression is that I’m really impressed with how this works with the water. It changes the flavour but somehow loses little too. There’s a lot going on here, with soft herbs, dry spice, and warm citrus all revolving around a core of classic gin flavours, but the fact that it retains that sweet, colourful vibrancy is what I find most impressive.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Ridge Valley Indian Tonic with a sprig of fresh rosemary to garnish). The result is a lot sweeter and almost sherbert-y than I was expecting, and the gin isn’t coming through as much as I would like, so I’m going to add a good glug extra… which helps, but not much. It’s light and clean, refreshing, crisp, and very pleasant… but in honesty I’m not sure how much of that is coming from the gin. It’s a bit of a conundrum really as there’s a strange lack of flavour here. Perhaps it’s the tonic, but as this is one of my favourites it’s hard to say.
I was really impressed with this garden edition and had high hopes, but was really quite disappointed with the G&T. Don’t get me wrong it was fine, but it really didn’t stand up to the expectations the gin sets itself when tried neat or with a drop of water. I’ll be keen to try this in other cocktails, but part of me thinks I might end up saving it for drinking neat, which to be honest is a regular choice for me! So all in all I think this is a good gin that maybe needs a little more to it in order to stand up to other flavours.
Remove half a feather if you really need your gin to pop
Cotton Garden Gin is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.