A little while back I review the London Distillery Company’s Testbed Gin selection and I also mentioned my visit there for the WSET’s Gin Ramble. SO it was with anticipation that I tried their first flagship products, Dodd’s Gin.
But who was Dodd?
Ralph Dodd is described as a serial entrepreneur, but, more importantly, he was the founder of the Intended London Distillery Company in 1807, whose aim was to “manufacture Genuine British Spirits and Compounds”. Although many preparations were made for the business, no distillation took place and, by 1812, the company had been disbanded. That was, until 2011, when Darren Rook resurrected the company at its new home in Battersea.
At least three of the botanicals being used are unique, to my knowledge at the time of writing* (I have a record of the botanical make-up of about 200 gins), which is very exciting. That said, they don’t stand out as gimmicks; they all make perfect sense.
I quizzed distiller, Andrew MacLeod Smith, about his use of cardamom and he said that he simply likes the taste of green cardamom (I, too, am particularly fond of the flavour) and that the black cardamom seeds add a menthol note. I can also confirm this, having tried a black cardamom distillate from Sacred’s Ian Hart on the Gin Ramble back in February. The London honey comes from bees kept in the city and is added to the pot pre-distillation to primarily enhance the mouthfeel of the spirit.
Nose: Some interesting salty notes meet my nose to start, as well as some smoky elements, making this particularly unusual. There are some green cardamom notes, too.
Taste: This is a good, smooth spirit with plenty of spice, with the green cardamom in the middle and the menthol of the black cardamom towards the end, which is mixed with dry, piney juniper and a spiciness reminiscent of freshly cracked black pepper. This is a spicy and savoury gin and is, truly, something very different; no-one is doing anything like this in London or even the UK.
On a second sip, more of the classic gin notes emerge, with coriander and citrus upfront. I also note that the spirit is 49.9% ABV and, although the flavours are strong and bold (carried by the higher proof), the texture is smooth until the spicy finish. This is potentially due to the impact of the London honey.
I can see how this gin builds upon the work of the Testbed range and it truly is a Anglo-American or Trans-atlantic/Cary Grant Gin**, starting off classic in flavour and becoming contemporary.
Gin & Tonic
Just superb; very fruity, with some jammy berry notes. It’s exceptionally smooth, with a little creamy sweetness in the middle that then gives way to some spice from the cardamom, as well as a leafy note. Some coriander is in there, too, all concluded with a dry, juniper finish. All in all, this is a complex and engrossing drink and a spin on the classic flavour profile of a Gin & Tonic, whilst remaining wonderfully accessible.
Sweet and spicy with a real pow of flavour thanks to the high ABV. Very smooth nevertheless with an exceptionally balance, I’d suggest no garnish for this so that you can really enjoy the full impact of the flavours.
A good Negroni, with lots of bitterness and deep spice notes, as well as some hints of cocoa and coffee. As such, describing it as dark and intense seems fitting. A long juniper finish is paired with an earthy bitterness. Drinking this, you sit up and take notice; but, at the same time, there is a nonchalance to the drink, which makes it a bit of an enigma!
Dodd’s really is something different and I’m sure it will appeal to the palate of both traditionalist and revolutionaries of the gin world; if you like cardamom, you will love this. We’ve had a bit of a wait to finally get to try Dodd’s, but, boy, was it worth it.
* A few gin distillers add honey after distillation, but not before like Dodd’s.
** A mix between Classic (UK) and contemporary (US) styles of gin – named after the British-American hybrid accent of actors of the golden era of Hollywood such as Cary Grant.