Iceland doesn’t make just vodka anymore. The global craft distilling craze of the past decade has brought us all types of Icelandic spirits, most recently Himbrimi Gin. Distilled at Brunnur Distillery in the tiny island nation’s capital city, Reykjavik, this gin, named for Iceland’s loon bird, comes in two styles, Old Tom (which remains something of a rarity) and the bottle we’re reviewing today, Winterbird London Dry. Distilled using Iceland’s abundant geothermal energy and local spring water (said to have an unusually high pH), this gin incorporates a variety of unique botanicals including wild Angelica flowers and Arctic thyme, in addition to the required juniper (which is organic, for what it’s worth). Thoughts follow.
Poured into the glass, a burst of juniper immediately presents itself, but things coalesce quickly into an elegant bouquet that’s more herbal and floral than juniper-forward. Sweet forest floor notes are paired with fresh herbs, honeysuckle, licorice, and lavender. There’s enough juniper berry in the mix to keep this one clearly London Dry, but the complement of aromas adds a complexity you don’t always get with this style. The palate is also a welcome departure from typical form with fresh notes of pine and sweet sap devoid of the characteristic earthy bite. The mouthfeel is nicely rounded, almost creamy, and it’s impressively approachable with just a mild bit of peppery heat on the finish. Gentle notes of eucalyptus, thyme, angelica root, and rosehip give things an ethereal quality. The finish is clean and accented with a bit of vanilla and wintergreen. A very enjoyable gin, but it’s perhaps a little too fragile for some of your bolder cocktails.
A- / $40 / himbrimi.com