We have had a slew of new gins in recently, so determining what to review is quite tough. First of all a gin has to get through the ‘Gins got Talent’ judges that are the LGC staff. They work hard each night to bring you the best G&Ts in London, after a shift they act as judge and jury to the latest arrivals. One gin that made its way through this red-hot scrutiny, and that may well appear on our next tasting menu is Blackwater No.5.
This is an interesting gin as rather than look at local ‘terroir’ as inspiration, they have looked at the history of the area – West Waterford in Ireland, which was a center for spice imports in the Victorian period. White’s of Waterford were one of the largest importers of spices in the Kingdom, and so the gin is made exclusively from spices imported by White’s – as identified from research in local archives. Blackwater is made for 12 botanicals. Distillers being a frustratingly secretive bunch don’t tend to reveal what they all are, but the Blackwater folks disclose that they include juniper, coriander, cinnamon, liquorice, nutmeg and zesty lemon but also hint at 2 ‘lost’ botanicals that lie at the spicy heart of Blackwater No.5.
So, enough chit-chat and onto the tasting.
On the nose, this gin is fragrant, floral and heady. It has a lovely nose – coriander and lemon notes with, we thought something perfumed and pungent, it could be the juniper (some having lavender notes) or orris or some floral aromatic (cubeb?).
Tasted neat, floral and zesty lemon leads. Juniper kicks in with bitter, pleasantly earthy bass notes – to be honest we could not place them – spice notes, we know not, but what maybe cardamom, clove, cubeb – they are accompanied by a crisp, dry juniper that yields to a long creamy sweet finish. This gin has a long finish, it is very pleasant sipped on the rocks and would make a very good Martini. The citrus notes would mean a twist is redundant – garnished with a nice big fat olive – you would be a very contented Martini drinker having the best of both worlds.
With tonic the nose is still present (which is good) and the profile opens out – the citrus really shines, the juniper spine is clear and coherent, the dry bitter is slightly dialed back, and the underlying sweetness remains. It makes a great gin and tonic, we’d call it a very good citrus dry gin.
Blackwoods No.5 is a gin that is not shy, but not bolshy – it’s confident, balanced and great to drink. This is a clever gin, we raise a glass to Blackwater Distillery.