Something that never ceases to amaze me about the gin revival, is that some of the most amazing gins are so brand-spankingly-new. Brighton and Cotswolds are two such examples of gins that have gone from 0-100mph in astonishingly quick time, and I sit down and tuck into my bottle of Rock Rose I am flabbergasted to find that a mere 2 years and 1 month ago I could not have been writing anything about them, because they did not exist.
Rock Rose lends its name to more than one variety of gins distilled by this Scottish distillery, and the bottle I have is the standard bottle – a white glazed stoneware (I think) bottle with a blue design, which puts me in mind of another great Scot – Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Each bottle would appear to have a hand written date and initialling on the reverse, which lends to the ‘handcrafted’ description.
No shrinking violet or wallflower, this Rock Rose is 41.5% and is very punchy. You get a real flavour burst from the initial ‘on the nose’ floral notes, to the piney and citrus flavours that mingle in the mouth. It is distinct, without being too flowery or remotely harsh. The trick they have managed to pull off, is that it is also unmistakably a good juniper gin too. Not cheap, it is £33.65 at The Gin Box Shop, but worth every penny.
I experienced another gin this week – Saffron Gin from Gabriel Boudier in France, and it was almost the polar opposite – it was harsh, it was repellent on both the nose and as part of a gin and tonic. At a Forest Hill Gin Club event this weekend I sought the opinion of others, desperate to find someone who could add a positive note to a review for it, but I could find no one prepared to defend it more than to say it was ‘ok’. So I’m not even going to bother reviewing Saffron Gin, it is the closest thing to nail varnish remover I’ve had so far, and that is that.
In the 140 or so years that Saffron Gin has been going, they have missed a trick that Rock Rose has pulled off in under 2 years, and while I am sure people will continue, and perhaps even enjoy products like Saffron Gin, I’m going to be flying the flag for the new guys – vive la revolution!
Rock Rose – £33.65 for 70cl
Gin & Tonic Rating – 4.5/5
(Gabriel Boudier Saffron Gin – £29 for 70cl – Rating 0/5)