Gin has been popular in Spain for a long time, but, until recently, most of this was produced in the UK and then imported into Spain; the renaissance of gin distilling in Spain was a little behind that of the UK.
Since then, some new distilleries have opened, including Santamania in Madrid, whose gin I had the chance to try in 2014, along with their aged gin. In 2015, they launched a new gin named after their two pot stills: Lola & Vera.
Bottled at 40.0%ABV, Lola & Vera Gin is made using a grain alcohol base and the following botanicals: juniper, lemon, orange peel, cardamom, cassia, liquorice, anise, ginger, sunflower, and apple.
The apple is macerated in the spirit first and is then filtered out before the spirit is distilled with the other botanicals to make the gin.
On its own
Nose: Fresh, fruity, and juicy, with hints of citrus, coriander, and pine.
Taste: This is a very smooth spirit with some gentle citrus from orange and lemon. There are also some richer spiced and chocolate notes, before a good, dry finish.
Gin & Tonic
Flavoursome and jammy, with some lovely plum and berry notes, before a finish of zesty citrus. Crisp and very refreshing.
A particularly citrusy Martini, this is bright and brilliant: juicy, with just a little spice on the finish. It is also wonderfully smooth – an excellent cocktail.
This makes a very solid Negroni: it has an intense bitterness with a good level of interplay between sweet spice and herbal notes, before a bitter citrus finish.
Lola & Vera is a classic and crisp gin with a pleasant flair of citrus that makes it great for mixing. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.
~ Bonus Santamania Gins ~
On its own
Nose: Bright citrus – orange and lemon – as well as notes of fresh tea leaves.
Taste: Quite a light gin, with tea and vanilla upfront and then some citrus – a combination of orange and coriander – before a long, dry, slightly fruity finish
A straightforward but pleasantly refreshing gin tonic, rather zesty with tnags of lemon and lime as well as a light juniper dryness.
Soft and silky, with complex citrus and floral notes. This has an absolutely first class texture and is a pleasure to drink.
A good, solid drink with hints of citrus and chocolate, before some dry notes on the finish. Smooth and well-integrated.
On its own
Nose: Light, woody citrus.
Taste: A soft, smooth spirit with a gradually building warmth. There are notes of freshly cut wood and vanilla upfront with fine, fruity notes. The taste gradually becomes dryer with hints of citrus as you sip.
The smooth vanilla oak notes really come through when frozen, as do the wood characteristics before a very dry finish.
A very clean aged gin Martini: delicate spice and a touch of sweetness before dry, woody and citrus notes.
A rather nutty Negroni with an intense chocolatey, earthy bitterness with notes of peanut brittle on the finish. A little woody, too.