Aber Falls – Orange Marmalade Gin; has our old ginger Tom been reincarnated?
The distinctive orange colour and gutsy nature of this marmalade flavoured Welsh gin immediately made me wonder if our old ginger tom cat had returned as a spirit to haunt us?
Hobbs surrendered to cancer back in 2001 after a relatively short life in which he offered no quarter to any other living creature. Humans, and canines in particular, were put on this planet for Hobbs’ amusement, and even now he is affectionately referred to by all who knew him as the “ginger bastard”. On the days when he got bored with tormenting our two dogs, he would go next door and settle himself on the neighbour’s open plan stairs, ready to cuff anyone who passed by.
Aber Falls then is a gin with attitude – lots of it- and like Hobbs its strength is part of a very distinctive personality. The broad shouldered bottle containing this day-glow liquid is a hint at what is to come, while the striking smell of oranges is quite different to the citrus bouquet offered by many other gins.
And then that first sip of the neat spirit delivers the unmistakeable bittersweet taste of Britain’s best-loved breakfast spread. Allegedly the name derives from Mary Queen of Scots, when poorly, of being tempted to eat with a preserve made of Seville oranges, which the cooks and courtiers referred to as ‘Marie est Malade’. Mary is ill.
While alluding to the Welsh water having been filtered through the rock strata of Snowdonia, the distillers of this very unusual concoction – judged to be 41.3% – describe the flavour as being a mix of sweet and bitter oranges with a Juniper hit.
Humans and canines in particular were put on this earth purely for Hobbs’ amusement
Now I’ve consumed many jars of whisky flavoured marmalade over the years, but with Aber Falls I was actually reminded of a slightly less sweet Benedictine – or a Benylin cough remedy rendered more subtle by fruity additions. I have no doubt though that this marmalade gin could stand side by side with many continental liqueurs.
While Fever Tree’s Pairing Wheel does not mention Aber Falls in isolation, the company recommends that Sloe and other sweeter gins are drunk with its Lemon Tonic. Not wanting to confuse my taste buds, however, I added a slice of orange rather than lemon or lime and Fever Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic. I am also sure that the robustness of the Aber Fall’s flavour would make it an ideal base for a variety of cocktails, but I have something to report that surprises me greatly.
For the first time ever I think I have discovered a gin which I actually prefer neat than with a mixer; so that I can enjoy all that orange, Hobbs-like attitude and exuberance.