Review: Cotswolds Dry Gin

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England has no shortage of gin distilleries, but southern England-based Cotswolds wants to be at the top of your list. Cotswolds is one of the “smallest but prettiest” distilleries in Britain, and if the pictures do it any justice, they’re not wrong on the beauty claim.

Some details:

The expression of the traditional London Dry style comes from the maceration into our pure wheat spirit of juniper, coriander and angelica root, which have been left for 12 hours to allow their flavour characteristics to fully infuse. We then add our unique botanical mix of Cotswolds lavender and bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper, and cardamom seed into our bespoke Holstein pot still for distillation before finishing with naturally refined Cotswolds water.

As the production notes indicate, this is predominantly a London Dry style gin, heady with juniper up front, but with clear bay leaf notes also showing on the nose. The lavender is quite present on the supple and silky body, which folds in lime zest and a bit of pepper, plus an earthiness (driven by coriander and angelica) that lingers for quite a while on the finish. Other than the lime, there’s not a lot of citrus to find here, which may come as a disappointment to those who prefer more fruit in their gin, but the focus on less common herbs and aromatics in the mix — particularly the fragrant lavender, which manages to avoid coming across like something you put in your bathwater — makes for a unique and engaging experience. The gentle body — despite the relatively high alcohol level — only adds to the appeal.

92 proof. Batch #02/2015. 4800 bottles made.

A- / $35 / cotswoldsdistillery.com

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