Previously we brought you coverage of the (solid) Irish whiskey of Grace O’Malley. Now we turn to another category of booze named after Ireland’s pirate queen: gin. Botanicals (14 in total) are not entirely disclosed, but include “the defining flavors from the west coast of Ireland including wild thyme, red clover, blackthorn, wild bilberries, and rock samphire.”
It’s an exotic, unusual gin — but the unrelenting emphasis on local botanicals seems to do the spirit a disservice. The nose is evocative and unique, showcasing a mix of green herbs — heavy on thyme — with lots of cardamom backing it up, evoking, bizarrely, a fresh bowl of Indian curry. The palate is a bit astringent, and again doesn’t feel particularly “Irish” but rather initially Asian, more of that cardamom making a heavy impact. Dusky and earthy as it pushes toward the finish, the conclusion goes darker and darker, evoking notes of black pepper, moss, and overbrewed black tea left out overnight. Overtly woodsy, it overpowers even the juniper in the mix, the gin culminating in an almost acrid, brambly character that retreats relentlessly back into the earth, never to return.
Slightly off-putting, and not my favorite gin to date.
C+ / $40 / graceomalleywhiskey.com