If you read my blog last week about Blackwoods gin, then you’ll know that I spent a gloomy Sunday afternoon drinking gin and wine with the bestie. The second gin on the menu from that afternoon was Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin. I have seen this gin in a few bars before, the distinctive bottle draws your eye towards it but I have never been brave enough to try it.
Spiced rum I understand. Spiced gin is a bit more unusual. The adventure of something new is important to their brand – check out their website and go on the journey with them to discover the flavours and inspirations. Pronounced “o-peer”, the London Dry Gin is made using traditional botanicals from the old spice route starting in Malacca, Malaysia, for cubeb peppers before venturing round the Bay of Bangal to south-east India for Tellicherry black peppers aka The King of Spices. Joined by Turkish cumin, Venetian juniper, Moroccan coriander and Spanish oranges, Opihr gin creates their distinctive and unique taste. Seriously, check out their website. Great stuff.
The bottle was a slight challenge to get into. The stiff cork took me more than one attempt to wrestle out, leaving Catriona worried I was about to throw the bottle across the room once it popped. The second we got it out, the smell hits you. Normally at this point, it’s all about the juniper and citrus. This is different. Rich, spicy, warm flavours waft out of the bottle hinting at winter tipples and aromatic curries.
Poured into Granddad Anderson’s glasses, the water brings out the subtler flavours. Pepper. Turmeric. Dark bitter chocolate. It is a strange flavour, and one that doesn’t taste the best with water but it feels as though it would work brilliantly in a mulled, spiced gin cocktail.
Not one to give up at the first hurdle, we make a g&t and the flavours mellow out and it becomes more palatable. I admit that this isn’t my type of drink. This feels heavy, whereas I like my gin light and refreshing. But we were able to agree that of a cold evening, in a mulled cocktail under a blanket, this would be perfection. The mix of spices feel slightly overpowering, which is perhaps why spiced gin isn’t particularly common. I imagine swapping the tonic for ginger beer would compliment and enhance the flavours, whereas the bitterness of tonic seems to bring out the harsh edges of the botanicals. We had made banana muffins and even the cinnamon from them took the edge off the gin and made it easier to drink.
I will happily drink this again, but in a cocktail or as a warming winter’s drink rather than as an evening g&t. I realise this blog sounds rather negative, but I believe that by pairing this with the right mixer and the right food, this will be a wonderful drink. Different to the usual G&T, this will appeal to those looking for something out of the ordinary, a taste adventure if you will.
The 40% proof gin is available on Masters of Malt for £23.26 making a good mid-range gin, and the distinctive elephant adorned bottle can be found in Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons. You can also check them out on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.