Colombo No.7 Gin - 70cl - 43.1% ABV
When Sri Lanka-based Rockland Distillery released Colombo No.7 Gin in May 2015, it unleashed on the Gin world a most intriguing tale of war, resourcefulness and regulation. You see, Colombo No.7 Gin is based on a 70-year-old-recipe, one created when trade channels became blocked during the Second World War.
Founded in 1924, Rockland Distillery was the first commercial distillery to be established in Sri Lanka. The distillery was built to produce Arrack, but along with many others, a decade or two after it launched it was asked by the British Government to stop what it was doing and begin making spirits for the war effort. Rockland founder Carl de Silva Wijeyeratne not only obeyed, but quite accidentally made a spirit that he was sure would make a great base for a gin.
Colombo No.7 has landed at a funny time in our gin drinking history; when it was first made 70 years ago it would have been unimaginably alien with its citrus absence and curry leaf presence, but tasted next to gins created in the last couple of years it almost cries of tradition. Juniper leads the way to taste, with liquorice and angelica lending an earthy, almost dusty sweetness and a soft mouth. Cinnamon sings loud and bright, though doesn’t whip at the tongue in a typically barbarous manner, instead conspiring with the ginger and curry leaf to bring a fragrant warmth and depth. Coriander seed rounds out the flavour, bringing a hint of citrus and nuts and prolonging the finish.