Snatching your breath away like an Arctic gale –
Juliet came home with a bottle of Blackwoods 2017 vintage dry gin 40% after finding it on offer at our local supermarket and, being almost six on a Friday evening, it would have been rude not to sample what was a new spirit to both of us.
For the assistance of other uninitiated drinkers, Blackwoods is a small batch gin from the Shetlands: that group of 100 or so islands on the same latitude as the southern coast of Greenland. And I have to say that my first sip of the neat spirit snatched my breath away like an arctic gale – but what a stunning aftertaste. Subtle as a hill-farmer’s handshake – that you can still feel five minutes later – but leaves you in no doubt about all the hard work which has gone into building that strength. The smell is strong too; like a shot of grappa straight out the barrel in an Italian cellar.
The makers list the Shetland botanicals gathered to make their 2017 vintage as Wild Thyme, Meadowsweet, Cowslip and Eyebright (a group of flowering plants traditionally used to treat eye infections). Certainly from the documentary clips I have seen about the Shetlands and their climate I’m mildly surprised anything grows there apart from heather, but the quartet meld together in a flavour that has breadth and subtlety as well as initial impact.
Personally I think ‘cocktails’ are for Del Boy or dancing round a pile of handbags, but the makers of Blackwoods reveal that their vintage offering is considered by mixologists to be ideal for practising their wet witchcraft. It is definitely a distillation that has cast a spell on me.
“And I have to say that my first sip of the neat spirit snatched my breath away like an arctic gale – but what a stunning aftertaste.”