Warner's Lemon Balm Gin - 70cl - 43% ABV
The craft distilling movement is slowly, but surely gaining traction outside of London and with it fantastic new distilleries are emerging. Created by Tom Warner, Warner's Gin is made in a 200-year-old converted barn in Harrington, Northamptonshire.
Warner's Lemon Balm GinEstablished by Warner’s late mother, Adele, an endeavour that has launched a whole new venture for the brand – the Botanical Garden range. The first release is Melissa Gin, named for the Latin name of lemon balm. The recipe itself is a new recipe in its own right, not just the addition of a botanical to their usual Harriton Dry formula. Moreover, it is made as a concentrate – more in this in bit… The star botanical grows in abundance at the farm, and provides a unique twist on citrus, adding a leafy, lively gentle taste.
To nose, a mossy green comes to the fore, reminiscent of a sprawling garden after a much needed rain. Juniper holds firm, but it’s achingly sweet, as though the pine had drowned in a lemony honey.
To taste, that sweetness rushes the tongue, bringing with it an unexpected, though minor, hint of chocolate. There is an undeniable underlying spiciness here brought about by nutmeg and cardamom, but it never seeks to overwhelm the gin. Rather, lemon balm’s minty genealogy is well felt, which adds a cooling counter to the spices that lead to an all round well-balanced drink. A citrus twang comes through stongly on the finish, as though the lemon balm had bided its time to sing, knowing it was the headline act.
In all honesty, this isn’t a gin that would work particularly well in many cocktails as its flavour profile is so unique that it could easily overpower other ingredients. In a G&T, though, it’s big, bold and brilliant and as such fully deserving of the dual-garnish copa glass treatment. In particular, the sherberty quality of lemon balm as a botanical really comes through stongly. A small handful of juniper berries along with a twist of lemon and a simple tonic makes for a very tasty G&T.