One of the first gins I bought, when first I ventured beyond Tanqueray, was Whitley Neill. I bought a bottle for my sister and her husband for Christmas circa 2013 and they seemed impressed so by the time spring had sprung I bought a bottle for myself. At the time I remember being a little disappointed, returning to Tanqueray when making my next purchase in Sainsbury’s.
But I’ve often been tempted to buy another one (I very much like the matt black bottle and simple styling) and so recently I did just that. Whitley Neill is a juniper lead, handcrafted dry gin that is distilled in Birmingham using an antique copper still. The unique factor in this gin is the inclusion of two African botanicals – Baobab fruit and Cape Gooseberries, and I have to say, you can certainly tell a Whitney Neill apart from other gins.
Distiller Johnny Neill’s signature appears on the label, along with a batch number and a legend that reads “Distilling gin for 8 generations since 1762”. There is also a gold medal from the 2014 San Francisco spirits awards. Not short on experience, craft or recognition.
Bottled at 43%, you can safely invest in Whitley Neill without being disappointed, or wowed. It is a good gin, I’m perfectly content with my Copa Balon filled with Whitley Neill, Fever-Tree Indian Tonic and a garnish of orange peel. Their web site looks incredibly expensive and is aesthetically pleasing, although not very easy to navigate, but it has some good suggestions for other drinks that I will explore at a later date.
Will I buy another bottle after this one has gone? Probably not. Would I be pleased to unwrap one on Christmas morning? Certainly! And if they are going to make one of those ‘try before you die’ books about gin*, then I’d certainly recommend Whitley Neill be contained within the pages.
Whitley Neill Handcrafted Dry Gin – £24.50 for 70cl
Gin & Tonic Rating – 3/5
*note – there is one of these books! I will try and find out if Whitley Neill is included.