Colombo No.7 Gin

Note: I emailed Colombo 7 to ask for a sample for the blog and they kindly sent me a WHOLE BOTTLE. Big fan already, but as always I’ll let you know if I don’t like the taste.

Colombo No. 7

Colombo No.7 is a London Dry Gin with a Sri Lankan influence. Using seven botanicals – four of which are native to Sri Lanka (Cinnamon Bark, Curry Leaves, Ginger Root and Coriander Seeds) which combine with a base of juniper, liquorice and angelica to “create a beautifully balanced, subtly spiced gin”. I’m hoping this is a good type of spiced gin, not a bad one. 70 years ago, this shocked British Export Officers into passing a law allowing gin to be made in South Asia, and now the recipe is being used to make small batch gin.

GinCracking open the seal and popping open the cork it smells like cardamom – slightly spiced. As cardamom is not apparently a botanical, I imagine this is from the curry leaves and cinnamon. It smells warm and comforting. In the glass, the smell mellows slightly and mixed with water it has a good flavour to it. It is earthy but not too deep, quite refreshing. You know that feeling when you have a mint then breathe in and your tongue goes a bit tingly? Imagine that. But more cinnamony.

Gin and TonicMixing it up with some Fever Tree Indian Tonic (I’ve just run 5 miles so I’m allowed the full sugar version), the bitterness from the tonic helps bring out the juniper taste and it tones down the curry-like flavours. It has a slight sweetness at the back of the throat which helps to balance out the flavours. It was slightly jarring at first, but now I’m a few sips in I’m quite enjoying it. I’m not certain this would be my gin of choice on a gloomy evening in Hove, but this would go down a treat on a hot afternoon in the Asian sunshine.

A 43% bottle of Colombo gin is currently (sold out) £32.95 on Master of Malt. I’m not sure I’d pay over the £30 mark for this, but it’s something a bit different for the gin cabinet. You can follow Colombo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Have you tried Colombo Gin? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.


Opihr gin – a review

Afternoon gin times!
Afternoon gin times!

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.

Opihr gin
Opihr gin

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.

Granddad Anderson’s glasses

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.

photo 4
All the botanicals

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.

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