Arber Gin review


Arber Gin – a tribute to Agnes the botanist.

Some might consider that gin makes them philosophical, but on a recent trip up to The Kestor Inn on Dartmoor, co-owner James introduced us to a gin actually inspired by a philosopher and botanist: the late Agnes Arber.

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Born back in 1879 – when Queen Victoria was only two-thirds through her reign – Agnes acquired stunning drawing skills from her artist father, putting them to good use in her studies of plant anatomy and helping her become the first woman to be awarded the Linnean Society’s Gold Medal in 1948.  It was a career which extended up to her death in 1960 and which inspired the premium gin made using the Langley Distillery’s aged copper still, known as Jenny.

Craft gins, cask ales and carveries draw customers to The Kestor

The label to this 41.6% ABV spirit is every bit as colourful as those decorating the Copper in the Clouds we bought in Brixham, but displays a level of detail that reminds me of a William Morris wallcovering.  Vibrant yellows, blues and red tones dramatically depict the citrus, spice and floral constituents which blend to create a smooth London style gin; an ideal pre-dinner drink.

There are actually nine botanicals in total with orange, lemon and grapefruit adding citrus to the coriander, cassia, angelica and juniper.  Liquorice and iris are the final pair though I suspect the latter is too subtle for all but experts to detect.  Overall, I definitely found this accolade to Agnes offered more depth of flavour than The Botanist – containing double Arber’s plant count – but we can’t rank it in amongst our favourites like G-Gin or Black Dog.

The Arber label is as colourful as any we’ve seen on a gin bottle.

While the latter is pretty much a fixture on The Kestor’s back bar, any gin enthusiasts visiting the pub along with walkers and regulars, can also choose between craft gins such as Wessex, Limehouse and Empress 1908 (a purple coloured spirit from British Columbia).  It’s an interesting selection we intend to sample again soon.