Black Death Gin is owned by the Spanish Company, Central Hisumer, although it is actually produced in the UK. In edition to this gin (bottled at 40% ABV), the brand also has a vodka, a dark rum, a silver tequila, gold tequila, and a beer.
Digging into the history a bit, it seems like the brand has an uncertain and rather colourful past; the suggestion is that the brand “Black Death” originated in Iceland in 1906 as “Svarti Daudi” (the Icelandic translation). It then seemed to experience a boom in popularity in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Although my bottle says that it was made in Essex, on-line sources suggest that the gin is now made by Greenalls in Warrington. The label dates from 1992 and its botanicals are rumoured to have included: juniper, coriander, angelica, orris, and ginger.
On its own
Nose: Very subtle: a little grain alcohol with some oily juniper.
Taste: This is a standard, simple gin; there are notes of juniper, coriander and dry angelica, accompanied by a little citrus and a dry finish. Nothing outstanding, but perfectly acceptable.
Gin & Tonic
Given that all of the drinks that I tried were of a reasonable standard, this Gin & Tonic seems to let the gin down. The spirit is easily dominated by the tonic, resulting in a drink that is too sweet and sickly. The drink can be rescued, however, by using a large citrus garnish or Fentimans Tonic.
Clean, with juniper and citrus flavours. This is average in the true sense of the word: some gins will make better Martinis, whilst others make poorer ones, but for that classic flavour, this does nicely. Either an olive or lemon garnish would work well.
A straightforward, intense Negroni with the classic, dry, herbal bitterness that you’d expect from the cocktail. It doesn’t jump out at you, but it won’t disappoint a fan in a pinch.
Black Death is an average gin, but, given its low price point, represents adequate value for money and the bottle is sure to raise questions and interest by visitors to your home or commercial bar. My favourite drink was the Negroni, but, then, it takes a lot to make a bad Negroni.