Ruby has got proper staying power –
By chance, this week’s review follows on from the similarly flavoured distillation which Gin Lover One revealed to you last Friday: with mint very much to the fore. However, while I fully endorse Juliet’s opinion of Daffy’s as a special and really quite subtle spirit, this 40% offering from our friends at Lidl isn’t so much in your face, as initially giving the impression that “Ruby of Rangoon” intends to sit on it.
Even before you open the bottle there’s the image of a bull elephant in ceremonial armour on the label, and the name which could equally well identify an exotic dancer or a dodgy East End curry house. But the blatant behaviour actually begins when you pop the cork and have a snort.
It wasn’t the normal blend of citrus and juniper which you expect from a London Dry, but mint – in fact full on spearmint.
The raw spirit is supposedly infused with “Fine Asian Botanicals”, including coriander, pandam and Thai basilicum, but for me they were all – including the juniper – overpowered by lashings of the peppermint herb. And I’m not talking about the Wrigley’s spearmint characteristic, which rapidly recedes as you chew. No; Ruby of Rangoon has got proper staying power, which may or may not be a good thing.
I reckon this gin would have been ideal for the cocktails served at Silvio Berlusconi’s Bunga Bunga parties, but instead of having Ruby the Heartbreaker strutting her stuff, the former Italian premier would have needed Ruby the Pacemaker.
We actually served this to some friends as a pre-dinner drink and while they were polite about it and agreed it had a refreshing taste, one of them remarked that it “didn’t taste much like gin”. I’m reluctant to be too harsh about young Ruby as it’s clear the German distillers have sought to ensure it “expresses the true soul of Rangoon” and creates “a very special taste experience”.
I might even try it again some evening when the warm summer weather returns, but next time I’d probably drink it long, with lots of tonic and ice. And I mean as long as a lap dancer’s legs, to distract me from the thrusting spearmint.