GIN REVIEW: Wixworth Gin
It always fascinates me when fashion makes a full circle. A few years ago Gin was very much on the decline, and Vodka was everyones favourite drink and mixer for cocktails. Did you know that a Martini is originally made with Gin and not Vodka? Thinking about it makes so much sense as to why Mr. Bond loves is Martini.
Adding Gin to a Martini, adds gorgeous botanical flavours to the drink. If you are looking for a real classic Dry London Gin with a slight South African twist? I would say look no further! – Wixworth Gin comes highly recommendable! If keeping it “old fashioned” is what you are looking for – this is your Gin.
I was over the moon when I received a bottle of Wixworth Gin to taste. As I open up my parcel, you can immediately see that Wixworth is not your average bottle of gin. The tall dark green and handsome bottle definitely whispers to you that this is going to be distinctive and exceptional. The more you admire the bottle, you start noticing the delicate shimmery silvery white renosterbos and sprigs of juniper that hugs the dark green bottle.
The next thing you can’t help to notice is upon opening the bottle – it has a cork based cap instead of the normal screw caps. Immediately there is no stopping you, but to take a sniff. Unlike other gins you get an enticing aroma on the nose instead of a strong alcohol smell. You get perfect marriage of spice and piny juniper, the vibrancy of citrus, and in the distance, the floral, earthy scent of fynbos-covered veld. A perfect smell of a summers afternoon in the South African bush veld.
Wixworth wanting to follow the footsteps of London distillers in their quest to perfect their Dry recipe and Gin craft. After a painstaking investigation, they unearthed some of the oldest Gin recipes in Southern Africa, including some family recipes dating back to the early settlers.
This obsession led Wixworth on a journey to understand how the ingredients used in gin might have changed over time. Wixworth wanting to know if climate change has had a major impacted to the flavours of the botanicals, or if sourcing the ingredients from new origins would alter the old recipe style. If so, would all these changes still create a harmonious balance of flavour?
During a very long and lengthy investigation, interesting botanical discoveries about the Renosterveld is discovered. For example, a small piece of Renosterbos (Elytropappus Rhinocerotics) had long been used to take the brackish flavour out of river water to make it more refreshing and pleasant to drink.
The legend goes of how using small sprigs of Renosterbos being placed into stone gin jugs to add a gentle floral note. It was these discoveries that lead Wixworth Gin to explore the marriage of the classic gin recipe with this indigenous shrub. Creating the perfect gin recipe: a classic dry gin subtly infused with Renosterbos!!
The Wixworth Tasting Notes
Wixworth foundation to their “London” Dry Gin is using a neutral spirit alcohol. Once perfected… it is time to add the botanicals. All carefully selected to give you that classic taste.
As discussed, obviously we will find renosterbos. This we can say is Wixworth secret ingredient – (well not so secret) Wixworth used the sundried leaves of the Renosterbos to give the gin a fresh, herbaceous heart and refreshing floral pineniness. Because each leaf is packed with flavour, a little goes a long way.
What would gin be without Juniper Berries?! Juniper the only spice that comes from a conifer tree. It mostly grows in the colder climates of the northern hemisphere. The ripe, dried berries is mostly used in cooking, and the key signature flavour of every gin. The word gin comes from the Dutch word for juniper, ‘jenever’. Wixworth only uses the very best berries for their gin. Here you find a fruity/piny, somewhat peppery backbone and adding subtle herbal notes to the Wixworth Gin.
As you may recall in my Boozy Garden Series, I mentioned Angelica. One of the most oldest herbs, especially when it comes to flavouring booze. It is also used to flavour Vermouth. Wixworth used the dried roots to give their Gin a heavenly touch.
Coriander needs no explanation. The fact that Wixworth searched for recipes as far back as the settlers, it makes sense that Coriander seeds are included as it used in so many traditional South African Dishes. Adding Coriander seeds to the Wixworth Gin you immediately get those gorgeous spicy, fragrant, and citrusy notes. Perfection!!!
Also known as either Chinese or Bastard Cinnamon. Cassia comes from the same family as cinnamon, just from a different bark. It is also milder and more delicate than Cinnamon. Wixworth Gin harvests the bark from young shoots and sun dried. These delicate curls impart a warm, sweet-spicy flavour similar to cinnamon.
Probably the first note you’ll notice with your first sip of Wixworth, and what gives it its refreshing lightness, is the bright, sunshiny scent of the sundried peel of Valencia and navel oranges.
What are my boozy thoughts?
Firstly I love Wixworth Gin, and I am not saying because I received a bottle to taste. I have tasted many different gins but honestly, this gin is so smooth, I actually enjoy it the way I would enjoy a whiskey. Neat, and on the Rocks.
If you are not brave enough to do gin neat, then I highly recommend that you do a really old fashioned gin cocktail recipe. This one originates from the 1920’s – I mean we are keeping it all classic here. It is called a Gin Rickey. It is perfect for those hot summer evenings! So refreshing. Best yet it is such a simple recipe:
Using a highball glass, add 50ml of Wixworth Gin, a good squeeze of lime juice (use the lime instead of lemon – I promise you it makes a HUGE difference) and then top up with SODA water (that’s right Soda water and NOT Tonic Water!!) Garnish with a lime wedge. That’s it! Well Done Bartender!!
It is clear like most gins, and it has a very slight blue tinge. It is not an intense blue like Bombay Gin.
Immediately, you can smell that strong alcohol, but once you pass that you get the clear spice fragrant from the juniper berries. I also get to smell the orange peel. Oddly enough, I can pick up on the warm notes of the cassia. I haven’t smelt Renosterbos before so I can’t say that I can pick that scent.
As mentioned earlier, this is an incredible smooth Gin. Most gins, you dare not try to drink neat, as the alcohol is just to strong, that it takes your breath away and not in a good way. Wixworth gin however, ok yes there is that kick, but what do you expected it is 43% alcohol? Yet it is as smooth as an Irish Whiskey.
You immediately get the juniper, you also pick up the coriander. Hubby said he immediately gets biltong/droewors 🤣🤣. When I mentioned it is the coriander he is tasting he immediately clicked. He was reminded of biltong because it was the coriander seeds he was tasting. You get a little hint of pine needles and the boom you got that orange peel coming through that lingers and lingers. There is also a hint of wood towards the very end.
So what is your thoughts on Gin? Is it something you enjoy? What is your favourite gin?
Stay tuned, as there is a real classic cocktail recipe coming up…
Juniper Image by Raymond De Laat from Pixabayy
Angelica Image by Just killing time from Pixabay
Coriander Seeds Image by PDPics from Pixabay
Chinese Cinnamon Image by Fathima Shanas from Pixabay
Orange Peel Image by esudroff from Pixabay
Gin and Lime Image by Ernest_Roy from Pixabay