Junimperium “puts the wood in the hole”
Our roundabout route to tasting this distinctive craft gin goes all the way back to Northleach in the 70s – not far from where they now make Cotswold Gin – but takes in half the Globe for its infusion of four different varieties of juniper, as well as the other half dozen botanicals; though it is possibly the maker’s decision to plug the bottle with a cork cut from juniper wood which really is unusual.
Junimperium might have the ring of ancient Rome to it, but this 45% spirit is actually the flagship product from a business which was established just three years ago in the Telliskivi Quarter of Tallinn in Estonia. And we were invited to try it by Claire Boughton, the one-time Head Girl at Westwoods Grammar School, when Gin Lover One and myself, met up last month with her and another old friend – Tim Hillier.
Back in my school days, despite having a weekend job in a pub called The White Hart, gin really wasn’t on my radar, but your tastes change, and I’d now say that Junimperium ticks a lot of the boxes for what we think makes a really lovely G&T: with plenty of impact when you take you first sip, and an earthy warmth which lingers over your palate.
Claire’s bottle which had come to her as a present from a family member living in Eastern Europe, bore the batch number 019, and the claim that it is made from “the world’s best Juniper berries.” And as they apparently sampled some two dozen varieties before settling on one Estonian and three other species, they should be credited with some degree of expertise on the subject. Contained elsewhere in the experience are coriander, cubeb pepper and thyme, along with two secret ingredients which I suspect might be orris root or something pertaining to pine trees.
The label also informs us that Junimperium has earned a Gold from The Global Spirits Masters while, with its chemistry very much leaning towards the myriad other classic London Dry types, it’s difficult to imagine many Ginthusiasts not enjoying an Estonian inspired sundowner, or even a cocktail based on it.
“We had ours with ice, orange and a simple Indian tonic; and if you don’t happen to have an old friend with a bottle in their pantry, the likes of Masters of Malt can deliver a bottle to your door for a little over £40.”