Filliers

Filliers gin was started in 1928 by Firmin Filliers, and was the first Belgian gin recipe, made on the family farm.

Price: ~ £32 (50cl)
ABV: 46%
Known Botanicals:
???

Firmin Filliers developed the first Belgian gin recipe in 1928, though the site was licensed from 1880. Though the family started out as farmers, there are now three distilleries residing on their old stables, watched over by five generations until 2018 when the first CEO without the Filliers name joined the company. Firmin’s original recipe that still forms the basis of the current gin, but in 2012 it was (re)launched after a number of years of tinkering and perfecting. The number 28 is used in the branding as it refers to both the year of the original gin, and the number of botanicals used in the current recipe. Unfortunately this recipe is a closely guarded secret, and I can find very little information on which botanicals are used! An entire range of spirits and liqueurs are produced there, including a range of gins beyond the ‘Classic’ 28.

Design

The bottle is an antique brown pharmacy style bottle, with a nice wooden stopper and the Filliers ‘F’ logo embossed on the shoulder. The label is uncoloured and opaque, with the name of the gin in white script front and centre, and other text in gold. There really isn’t much more to say about it, but overall I think it’s well done for what it is and stands out for its colour and the pleasant font on the label, which does add a sense of ‘premium’ to the overall package. I like it as it’s a little different to most gins out there.

Nose

There’s a lot to take in here, which isn’t very surprising given the number of botanicals. For me the initial aroma is full of fresh herbs, citrus fruit, berries, and pine. It has that very rich but fresh tone of dark fruits and berries picked from the side of a field, leaves, soil, and all. Beneath that I hints of sweet, almost caramel notes, perhaps a touch woody. It’s still a gin, with some crisp juniper and bitter citrus, but there’s so much more going on. It’s hugely complex, but not at all overpowering.

Taste

Neat, that fruit comes across in a rush of sweet and tangy flavours that instantly make me think of sherbet. There’s a slight burn that spreads across the tongue and leaves behind a good dose of citrus, as well as some quite earthy but fruity flavours. There are also some woody flavours that put me in mind of hawthorn, and herbal notes that I can’t quite put my finger on. Overall it comes across very dry and fairly bitter, but held up well with the fruits and perhaps a touch of cardamom.

Water brings out more of that woody and fruity flavour for me, while also ramping up the herbs, giving it a greener, more vegetal tone overall. That said, there’s still plenty of fruity sweetness to keep it from getting too much. There’s also a really really familiar aroma and taste in there that I just can’t put my finger on, which is frustrating, but the addition of water definitely improves the flavour for me. I feel like the gin has a lot more room to expand now, though citrus definitely does its part to take up some space! There’s still a lot to explore, but I am definitely looking forward to trying it with tonic.

Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian tonic with dried kumquats to garnish). The result is delicious, full of flavours ranging from sweet citrus to bright woody, fragrant tones that fluctuate between floral and herbal. It’s wonderfully refreshing, but also has a dry edge to it that I think many will enjoy. There are citrus overtones, and heck, undertones too, but again nothing overpowers. This is a drink that has a huge amount of complexity, without pushing anything too far, instead the tonic provides enough space to enjoy some different avenues of flavour.

Overall

Filliers Dry Gin 28 is a big, bold and complex gin that covers a lot of ground in terms of flavour profile. It has a good foundation of classic dry gin flavours plus plenty of fruit (citrus and berry), earthy/woody tones, and a good amount of herbal flavour. Despite all that though, it never comes on too strong, the flavours never feel confused, which I think is a risk when you’re dealing with such a large number of botanicals, and it allows you to shift your focus onto different elements.

4 / 5 Feathers

Filliers is available online

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All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.


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