Phil Whitwell of Batch contacted me some time ago to request I take the time to try his new gin and write a few words. What an absolute pleasure. Soon after, bottle #123 of batch #12 arrived. The numbers are written lovingly in gold pen, onto a gorgeous and very elegant bottle containing a gin that won Silver medal in the San Francisco World Spirit Competition 2015. For good reason too, as it has one of the most distinctive flavours I’ve tried yet and it will certainly have a home on my shelf.
The micro distillery of Batch Brew Ltd is nestled up in Burnley, Lancashire. Although the family based company started brewing beer, they soon moved into spirits and they’re aiming to put the North West on the map. Only launched in Dec 14, they are already making good headway and are looking to set up a cooperative to allow the local micro distillers to work together and become a stronger force in today’s growing market.
There are 12 botanicals listed on the bottle (if you’re new to gin, notes on flavours can be found in my previous post Tell me, what’s your flavour). In addition to core flavours, such as orange, clove, nutmeg, allspice and cardamom, there are the trademark frankincense and myrrh that puts it well into the spicy category and also slips it into a deep and earthy realm that invokes naked feet in land and grass. Quite rightly, the juniper is not overridden by the heady mix of warming spices. More so, they are dancing together in the sunset of the beautiful bitter orange finish.
Starting out as brewers of craft-ales, Batch’s idea to instead focus solely on gin production came about in Spain where Phil –on a business trip– found himself exploring Madrid. After experiencing so many gins and garnishes amongst Spain’s rich drinking culture he sought to find a unique blend of botanicals that were inspired by the ancient Turk and Moor spice caravans, and it is inspiration well found, as it makes for a fabulous sipping gin, and that is certainly my favourite way to drink it.
That said, it was only right to try it with a few mixers and I’m partial to Fever Tree. The delicate flavourings and high quality of ingredients do a gin justice, really bring out certain flavours and can create an entirely different experience. I took the time to drink it with each one. Indian tonic, ginger ale, bitter lemon and elderflower and I enjoyed every one.
As to how the flavoured tonics worked, the spices disappeared into the ginger, the elderflower disappeared into the gin and the bitter lemon came out on top. The warm spices bring out a delicious lemon meringue flavour that I found very hard to put down. What a combination!
With this gin however, Indian tonic works best. With such a definitive taste, it’s best to give it the limelight. Speaking of lime, lime and raspberries work incredibly well as a garnish and are featured as the perfect gin and tonic from Batch themselves, although we are all encouraged to experiment (which as we know is part of the fun of gin drinking).
One thing’s for certain, one of my favourite aspects of this gin is its versatility. A gin launched in the depths of colder months with botanicals echoing of Christmas, that can be drunk as a fresh G&T in the summer and as a cosy sipping gin in winter, only promises to be a favourite all year round.