Gin is an interesting thing; a spirit category that is in a constant state of flux with a wide range of flavour profiles covered by the plethora of products available. Recently, the category has been arguably energised by the growing trend for fruitier, sweeter gins, but at the same time gin is generally defined by one thing: the juniper berry.
The Return of the Juniper?
A number of distillers are rediscovering the juniper berry and making it the focus of their new products – such is the case with today’s gin: Brute, Ultra Dry Gin.
Bottled at 48.0% ABV, the gin is packed full of juniper and is described as “Extremely Juniper-y” on its label. To produce this juniper-focused flavour profile, it is made using a combination of pot- and cold-distilled juniper.
On its own
Nose: Pow! Full, fresh, and unabashed juniper. Green, piney resinous. This. Is. Gin.
Taste: For the high ABV, this gin has a pleasant texture that is clean and smooth with a gradually-building, peppery juniper flavour. There’s a rich oiliness to the spirit and, despite the intensity, there is a nuanced complexity; in addition to a spectrum of juniper and pine notes there are hints of smoky cedar, a little vanilla spice, and even a spot of zesty grapefruit.
Overall, this is a great, juniper-forward gin with a rather garden-like flavour full of floral and spiced complexities. Plenty to explore.
Gin & Tonic
Wowzers! This is a powerful drink. The dry juniper and slightly bitter pine flavours works well with the quinine in the tonic. Garnish-wise, I think that something a little sweeter, such as lemon or orange, would complement it well. That said, you could double-down and go for grapefruit peel, too.
Gin & Soda
This is an exceptionally light and refreshing serve: very crisp, clean, and revitalising. It works particularly well with a lime garnish and is a really nice way to enjoy the gin.
I enjoyed this in a 5:1 stirred Martini and it was superb. Rich and oily with a nuanced complexity that is a true celebration of juniper. An obvious choice for a three-olive garnish which pairs really well with the drinks texture.
The clean, green resinous of the gin works superbly with the other ingredients, whilst the gin’s character presents itself with a flint-like crispness. This has a great intensity of flavour and the bitter finish lingers on and on and on, accompanied by a hint of pine jelly. One for hard-core Negroni fans.
Based on a recipe from Waitrose Drinks magazine that has been re-balanced to incorporate Campari.
[1 part Brute Gin, 1 part Red Vermouth, 1 part Campari, 2 parts Advocat]
Combine ingredients and stir to create the Snowgroni Mix.
Taking an iced glass, add one part Snowgroni mix and 3-4 parts sparkling lemonade.
The gin makes a great base for this cocktail, resulting in a deliciously flavoursome drink that is less resinous and piney than the others in this review; nonetheless, the gin does hold its own against the bitter-sweet Campari and creamy Advocat.
Brute is superb. It has a fantastic intensity, but not at the expense of complexity or elegance.
Brute Ultra Dry Gin is available for around £30 for 70cl from Master of Malt.