Reviews / Product Details
by Ian Reilly | Oct 08, 2012
You may remember our recent experiences with Knockeen Hills. They distill a mighty fine Irish poteen at a whopping 180 proof as well as an easy-drinking heather gin . Well, it turns out they also make a less-fiery 120 proof poteen (some bitters are steeping as we speak), plus the subject of this post: Knockeen Hill Elderflower Gin.
A little research confirmed my suspicion - the five-times distilled "Irish Spirit" is indeed a whey distillate. For the uninitiated (or the un-Irish), that means it's a cow product. In this case, it's the thin liquid that remains after curds are removed during the production of cheese. It's said the Irish began distilling whey during the centuries when poteen was illegal. The government hotly pursued stills, but whey wasn't quite as risky or obvious as a malted barley-covered floor; and I've heard some say that it produces less smoke when distilled, thus making it harder to track. Any cheese burners among us? Please weigh in.
Where were we... oh yes. Whey is a potentially exciting spirit to base a gin on, mainly because of how naturally sweet and floral the aroma and flavor of poteen is. Whey aside, this is a true London cut, London dry gin. So how does it hold up? On the nose, well... on the nose I'm giddy. Because bold alpine and floral notes dominate, with a hint of melon and orange flower water, and I'm salivating at the thought of this slowly mixing together with dry vermouth over ice. But take a sip and the dynamic subtly changes. It's not that I get different flavors. In fact, it's almost more interesting that I don't. Instead, the performers have just played a round of musical chairs. The melon and citrus leap to the front to join the floral notes, while the alpine hangs back. Gin sippers and martini swillers alike, take note.
I also mixed with it, choosing something I thought it would fall naturally in line with, and found that it holds up quite well in a cocktail. Meet one of my favorite cocktails, the Blue Moon. I have a special affection for daisies, and this gin-based daisy tops the list. No muddled habanero peppers or mezcal rinses here, dear comrades behind the stick. Simple, elegant, and refreshing, this is what I want to drink after a long shift. Ted Haigh's recipe uses Rothman & Winters Creme de Violette, but I'll also provide my edit, which favors Creme Yvette. The latter shies away from the syrupy sweetness of the Violette while still offering the same flavor and nuance.
Ted Haigh's Blue Moon
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz Creme de Violette
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Cocktail Enthusiast's Blue Moon
- 2 oz Knockeen Hills Elderflower Gin
- 3/4 oz Creme Yvette
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
Shake and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.
- 47.3% Alcohol by Volume
Elderflower is one of Knockeen Hills' super-premium traditional 'London Cut' Dry Gins which has uniquely achieved a very noticeably softer delivery of spirit on the palate by additionally using Irish Whey Distillate at every stage in its production. This process also involves natural Elderflower and exclusively other natural botanicals, steeped in the spirit for 24 hours. This clear, clean, transparent, distillate contains only a minute amount of congeners at 0.024%
Under constant supervision only selected small batches are produced at a time to ensure maximum quality. The mix of the botanicals selected, make the addition of a lemon slice unnecessary for many drinkers, who find the wonders of them sufficient, when mixing Elderflower with a premium tonic water, such as Fever Tree®.
To preserve the full taste of the ingredients, try occasionally keeping the bottle in a fridge, to avoid the unnecessary dilution of the taste through the use of ice cubes.
Nose: Strong juniper overlaid with elderflower notes.
Taste: Juniper balanced by elderflower and hints of spice.Very dry palate but a delightful soft spirit.
Finish: Long, soft, dry and clean
Charles Maxwell, Master Distiller, London Dry Gin, London, England.
Aroma (Neat): Definite robust spirit.
Aroma (With Water): Delicate perfume botanicals with subtle elderflower notes.
Palate: Definite spirit with pronounced herbal, saline and bitter notes with an enduring delivery.
Taste (Diluted): Given the strength and composition, this Gin would probably be most appreciated as a cocktail base given the subtleness of the Elderflower flavouring.
'Extract from' Derek Strange, former Head of Buying, Wines, Beers and Spirits for Waitrose plc. Chair of the International Wines and Spirits Competition.
Nose: Definite though very subtle elderflower, juniper prevalent, with awareness of strong spirit.
Nose (With Water): Smooth, summer elderflower notes and juniper flavour.
Palate: A remarkable light and smooth delivery of the spirit on the palate with delicate summer flowers spreading and elderflower notes.
Finish: Very long, soft, dry, clear, and clean
Overview: Ideal as a light summer cocktail base. in view of the soft tender notes provided by the elderflower.
Producer, Knockeen Hills Elderflower 'London Cut' Dry Gin.
Tonic Update: Fevertree Elderflower
From the articles of the last few weeks, it's clear that the gin industry is a lively and growing industry, but what about gin's perfect partner, tonic water? As you can imagine, some individuals have decided to focus their attention here, rather than with the juniper spirit itself, and I applaud that. So, today, let's look at one of these new products: Fevertree Elderflower Tonic.
This follows on from the boutique brand's Original, Mediterranean and Lemon Tonics, and is made using oil essences from hand-picked elderflowers. Tonic connoisseurs may recall that we reviewed Thomas Henry's Elderflower Tonic here, and it's surprising to me that, given the fondness of the British population for this flower, that there hasn't been a British elderflower tonic before now.
Large bubbles and a medium-level of fizz. Sweet elderflower to start with, then citrus followed by clean, dry bitter notes of quinine on the finish. Good balance of flavour.
With Knockeen Hills five-times distilled Elderflower Gin.
Absolutely superb: rich and juicy, and very flavourful. The elderflower comes through strongly, but there's an additional freshness to the drink from the citrus. Lovely and smooth, too!
I think Fevertree Elderflower is a great addition to the Fevertree Mixer range and is also one of the nicest tonic waters to drink on its own as a soft drink.