This is an interesting gin with, guess what, quinine, or to be precise cinchona bark as a botanical. It sounds obvious and simple, however ideas that after the fact appear simple are oftentimes the most inspired. It has taken some time for a quinine gin to actually happen and for reasons that will become apparent I’m glad it finally has.
Firstly and most importantly this gin is working with Malaria No More UK a charity whose aim is to help realise the vision of a Malaria free world. Over £5 is donated for each bottle sold, enough to buy, deliver and hang a mosquito net to a family in Africa, protecting people whilst they sleep. The relevance of 1897? This was the year it was discovered that Malaria was transmitted by mosquitos.
Secondly this is a very nice gin indeed. It uses 13 botanicals of which 10 go in the still: Juniper and a collection of classic gin botanicals, coriander, angelica, nutmeg, cinnamon, cassia , orange, lemon, licorice and orris. Added afterwards as single distillates are cinchona bark, pink and white grapefruit and lemon peel.
On the nose 1897 is quite subtle with pleasant citrus and light earthy notes.
Tasted neat it leads with a lovely citrus and moves quickly to a juniper, spiced dryness. This yields and rounds out to sweet notes, which then transforms to a most interesting and quite unique linger. A pleasant pepper-style activation which tingles the tongue and the roof of the mouth that is accompanied by a quinine dryness, which is quite different to the angelica / herb dryness that is typical of most dry gins.
With tonic the fruity citrus really opens and rounds out and the pepper notes are quicker to arrive onto the palate. The sweetness from the cassia and licorice fleets past and yields to a fantastic crisp snap. Subsequent sipping builds the dry notes and you realise that the gin and tonic you are drinking is very crisp, and handsomely dry and clean. This is a gin that works with and enhances the dry and zesty aspects of tonic rather than against them.
This gin is right up my street, it packs a lovely dry punch which elegantly balances an array of perfectly complimentary botanicals. This is a great gin and tonic gin, garnished with a good honest slice of lime. It also, as a bonus, has a most beautifully designed label.
Truly a life saving gin.