In The Welsh Wind is a dry gin that attempts to capture the essence of Cardigan Bay, Wales.
Price: ~ £42
Bitter orange peel
Early grey tea
Sweet orange peel
Founded by Ellen Wakelam and Alex Jungmayr, In The Welsh Wind is their homage to the country they love, particularly after they spent three months traversing the Welsh coast and countryside. The actual inspiration to make gin came from a later trip around Scotland where, like so many before them, a glass of G&T got them thinking about making their own. From there they invested in a 50L still, set up a micro-distillery in a barn on Alex’s parents’ farm and, a year later, ended up buying a local pub as the home of their distillery in Cardigan Bay.
Sadly Covid-19 hit shortly after and the couple spent months making hand sanitiser for the local community instead of gin, but their plans were not to be curtailed. On a trip to nearby New Quay they spotted an old billboard with information on the kinds of imports that would arrive at the Welsh coastline and from that the idea of their recipe was born, full of citrus but also a key baking ingredient in Wales: tea.
The bottle is fairly tall, round, and made from very dark antique green glass that looks black when not backlit. It tapers ever so slightly out from base to shoulder and overall is reminiscent of a very old fashioned bottle you could imagine sitting on a shelf in an apothecary holding some kind of tonic inside. On the front the label is metallic blue text embossed on textured black paper in the shape of a sort of folded-over-ribbon design with the name of the gin and a few other details covering most of it along with a ribbon-edge pattern. There are also some patterns embossed into the paper which is a nice touch. On the back is a similar, simpler label with some more information on flavours and botanicals in the gin. It stands out well and looks good… but the decision to put the words ‘premium gin’ upside down was, in my humble opinion, a mistake.
A powerful aroma rises from the glass full of heady spice and citrus. It’s thick and heavy, with rich & fruity coriander tones alongside the juniper, giving me a feeling of potency that makes me want to sip this gin whilst reclining in a dark, incense-smoke filled den. Delve too deep though and there is a definite burn, right after a flash of bright orange peel. Overall it has well balanced spices and citrus, alongside classic dry gin notes, though it’s the nutmeg that leads the way for me, with orange and galangal following behind. It’s a lovely aroma, and quite distinct in its profile.
Neat, the liquid is not nearly as viscous and flavoursome as the aroma suggests and for me it’s missing many of the sweeter notes I was expecting. There are plenty of citrus oils on the tongue, though they are perhaps a little on the bitter side, and overall the flavour does not seem to hang around for long, leaving behind as much of a burn as a flavour profile. I get a nice hit of spice and much more lemon-y flavours on the tongue, with the galangal pushing it almost towards hints of lemongrass, but overall it’s perhaps a little too much neat.
Water does surprisingly little to separate the flavours and I would in fact go so far as to say that it almost feels as though the gin has closed up a little. There’s still a lot of flavour there, but it almost seems more difficult to make sense of the elements that make up what I’m tasting. It’s vaguely gin-ny, spicy, and citrusy, but beyond that it is honestly difficult to describe.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian tonic with a wedge of orange to garnish). The result is a little wanting, so I’m immediately adding an extra shot of gin to make it 2:1. The louching is clearly evident, giving it a lovely pearlescent quality and the taste is much improved. The tonic brings the sweetness that I was looking for, while also diffusing the spice a little, helping make the profile a little fresher. It’s an enjoyable drink, but still very short lived in my opinion, and at this ratio it really lacks anything to make it stand out.
I thought I would enjoy this a lot more based on the nose, with aromatic spices leading the way and plenty of orange to speak of. Unfortunately the aromas did not translate to the palate for me at all, and I was left with a bit of a hot mess on the tongue which, no matter how much I wanted it to, didn’t ever really expand and provide the taste I was looking for. Even in a 2:1 G&T I felt the flavour was very short lived, though much improved. I think it might work better in other cocktails, but not necessarily ones where the gin itself needs to shine, which is a shame. For the money I would say this is definitely a ‘try before you buy’ gin.
In The Welsh Wind is available online.
X is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.