Staggeringly good gin from Exmoor
Most of the brands we’ve reviewed lately have been discovered by our well-travelled gin scouts, Bill and Lesley, or picked up on our own forays around the Southwest. Such recreations, of course, stopped when Wuhan’s ‘wet market’ set loose its contagion – and shopping has become mainly a miserable scramble for basic foodstuffs.
Unsurprisingly, we Brits have fortified our spirits – well – by buying spirits, as well as beers and wine: with John from Dartmoor Distillery doing a mercy dash last month to deliver us a pin of his real ale and a bottle of Black Dog Gin. But we also spotted an advert on Facebook from one of his local competitors; subsequently ordering a bottle of Northmoor Gin directly from the distiller’s website.
Given the circumstances, I can’t criticise the fact that the well-packaged 70cl bottle arrived five days after the Dulverton based Exmoor Distillery told us it had been dispatched; and can also report that it was worth the wait.
At 44% ABV this traditional style London Gin lives up to the maker’s claim of having a punchy, three-dimensional taste: the juniper being really strong on the nostrils as well as the tongue, but it is nuanced by both citrus botanicals and notes of spice which linger in the mouth. It doesn’t offer quite as many sub-branches in its armoury as the stylised stag’s antlers pictured on the label, but most gin enthusiasts will think they’re getting their money’s worth.
Accordingly, it makes a very pleasant drink mixed with Fever Tree Indian or Clementine tonic; along with the selection of garnishes we’ve tried. I’ve also enjoyed a small tot neat and could imagine Northmoor nestling down nicely in different cocktail recipes if that’s what lights your campfire.
Ranging it alongside its near neighbours then, we felt it was more robust than Wicked Wolf but couldn’t quite match the pace or more characterful performance of Black Dog. While we’d certainly drink it again in the future, we were surprisingly underwhelmed by Northmoor’s supposedly stronger big brother, as Juliet will soon reveal in a special report.