I first met Stuart of Shetland Reel Gin at the 2014 Distilling Expo in London. I have to admit, I was excited when he told me about his plans to make gin in the Shetlands, so it was great to recently get a chance to try the product and it was certainly worth the wait.
Shetland Reel Gin is made at the Saxa Vord Distillery on the island of Unst. It is bottled at 43.0% ABV and its botanicals include: juniper berries, coriander seeds, orris root, cassia bark, and citrus peel.
On its own
Nose: A delightful flutter of leafy green notes, followed by crisp juniper, then coriander, citrus and spice. Wonderfully inviting; holding great promise for the flavour.
Taste: A little sweetness to start, which parts ways for an array of fresh leafy and piney notes, as well as some dryness from angelica. Then you get a little aromatic spice from the coriander, which hangs around right until the finish. This is a very smooth and refreshing spirit – it’s really very nice to sip.
Gin & Tonic
A lovely fresh and slightly soft Gin & Tonic: very easy to drink, with some delightful, fresh leafy and floral notes, before a dry finish. This is a Gin & Tonic that will appeal to both traditionalists and gin converts alike. Simply delicious.
Excellent – truly first class. It has all of the crisp and dry elements that you would expect from a Gin Martini, but with a delicate, fresh flourish that adds a refreshing flair. There are also notes of spice, with angelica, juniper, and a leafy succulence add depth and complexity.
This makes a fresh Negroni with light, fresh leafy notes, as well as some spice, pepper, and anise. The gin’s flavours are upfront, followed by sweet vermouth notes and then the bitterness of the Campari. All of the flavours of the ingredients come through well, creating a lovely drink.
Shetland Reel Gin not only comes from the UK’s northern-most distillery, but it is also delicious and – at the end of the day – that is what is really important. It mixed well in all of the above drinks, but my favourite had to be the Martini.