Earlier this year, we reviewed Brunnur Distillery’s Himbrimi Winterbird Gin, a delicate but enjoyable expression of classic London Dry distilled with a unique mix of Icelandic botanicals. According to the folks at Himbrimi, their founder Oscar Ericsson was inspired to get into gin-making so that he could have something to take with him on his fishing trips in Iceland. The very first gin he designed for just such trips was not Winterbird but this bottle, Himbrimi Old Tom Gin.
Himbrimi Old Tom Gin relies on the same mix of botanicals as Winterbird, including organic juniper, wild Angelica flowers and Arctic thyme. Where things differ is the addition of organic honey for sweetness and the absence of redistillation. The botanicals are instead cold infused – essentially steeped – for a period of two weeks with the grain-based distillate, a traditional production method for Old Tom style gins dating back to the 18th century. After multiple filtrations, the gin is sweetened with honey and bottled. Let’s see how it compares to its sibling.
Turns out, it’s quite different. And the golden color is just the beginning. The aroma showcases a more pronounced herbal element, grassy with straw and fresh cut flower notes. It comes off as a bit brash when married to the raw spirit undertones. The honey, dark and sweet, helps to round those edges somewhat, but things never really find the same harmony as Winterbird. The honey has really beefed up the palate with a syrupy, sugary mouthfeel. Winterbird was delicate, almost too much so, but this is thick and mouthcoating. The sweetness is well-balanced, however, allowing plenty of bright, green botanical character to emerge. The juniper is most pronounced, raw and resinous. A bit of dried lavender and whole spices are also woven into the profile but in small doses. A bold, somewhat biting licorice note steals the show heading into a bittersweet finish of overbrewed tea, with mint and, or course, plenty of honey.