Gin is indisputably going through a revival. The juniper-flavoured spirit isn’t just clinching popularity as the modern tipple for its soaring demand that shows no sign of slowing down; spirit-focused bars around the globe – including Malaysia – have also been riding on its prominence, spotlighting this diverse and versatile spirit whether within ingenious out-of-the-box cocktails or kicking it back with classic G and Ts.
That said, how exactly is gin made? Most gins go through a two-stage distillation process – the first involves crafting the base neutral spirit, usually a fusion of grains and botanicals in spirit, and the second distillation then flavours this neutral spirit with other botanicals so the essential oils are infused. Finally, the concentrated liquid is saturated with water to be reduced to the appropriate bottling strength.
The process is done similarly for the artisanal Islay gin – The Botanist – created by the Scottish Bruichladdich Distillery. Spirit is heated until hand hot before nine core gin botanicals are loaded into the pot to be steeped for 12 hours. The steam pressure is increased for vapours to form and only the purest vapours make it to the following vessel whereby 22 locally foraged botanicals permeate the vapours before the condensation of the final product occurs.
What makes Master Distiller Jim McEwan’s The Botanist, Islay’s first and only dry gin, discernible from the rest is its complex mingling of 22 hand-foraged, locally sourced botanicals which flavours lay atop the spirit’s core botanicals of juniper berries, angelica root, cassia bark, cinnamon bark, coriander seed, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice root and orris root. While the mishmash of botanicals seems off-putting, the flavours are anything but.
At 46% ABV, The Botanist first introduces a sweet and floral gin nose of juniper, lemon and orange with meadowsweet and woodruff. On the palate, the gin is intricate yet subtle with a zesty but delicate spice at the end. It also boasts a well-balanced effervescence as the 31 botanicals individually shine instead of battling for attention, extending an aromatic gin that is harmonious in flavours while remaining gentle in astringency.
Should you be keen to taste The Botanist gin, look no further than the following locations: Mercato, Pavilion KL, Atlas Gourmet, Four Season KL, Jason’s Food Hall, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara, Shangri-La Hotel, Hotel Majestic, MAZE Gin Parlour & Coffee Saloon, W.I.P Café & Restaurant, Suzie Wong, Troika Sky Dining and PS150.