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Corinthian Gin

Corinthian bottle
13/09/2018
Written by Gin Foundry

Named after a sailing club in Hammersmith, Corinthian Gin is a London-made London Dry with a decidedly German audience. In fact, you’d be hard pushed to get hold of a bottle on its home turf.

Actually, you’d struggle to find out much about it at all. Corinthian Gin is a third-party product made by the expert hands of Charles Maxwell, the 8th Generation distiller and owner of Thames Distillery. It is, if we’re being honest, somewhat anonymous; it’s hard to find the names behind it, to see the people who’ve chosen to bring this story to life. When we asked the team to introduce themselves, we were told “We are Corinthian Gin.” All very Black Mirror…

Still, Maxwell makes a mean gin, and the botanical blend on offer is curious enough to peak our juniper-worshipping interests, so when a bottle arrived through the letter box we were hardly going to not open it, were we? And while information on the ground is scarce, we’ll share what we know…

Corinthian Gin formed back in 2014. The process was a slow one, with its founders’ commitments to full time work getting just a little big in the way. With Maxwell, recipe development is easier than with most, but it still took a while for the concept to become reality. They had a profile in mind from the beginning, though, and the objective was always to create a gin with dancing, fizzing sherbety citrus notes that shone somewhat brighter than the traditional (and requisite) juniper.

The final line up is formed of juniper, coriander seeds, cubeb berries, orris root, pomelo, lemon balm, lemon peel, lime flower, chamomile and jasmine. An intriguing blend, no? The ingredients are all added into Thames Distillery’s stainless steel stills and left to macerate in neutral grain spirit. Each distillation run takes around eight hours, producing “only” 2,500 litres at a time.

The only is a little bit subjective. While Corinthian Gin considers itself to be a small batch product, we can’t quite on board with the concept that something being produced in an industrial distillery at over 3,500 bottles a time is quite as lovingly crafted as, say, the many thousands of gins that are made at less than 500 bottles at a time. And while we’re not snobby about the amount of liquid being produced, for the sake of not misleading the consumer – we do think a certain line has to be drawn. What is small batch and what isn’t will range on for years to come, but in our opinion, this isn’t.

Corinthian Gin to taste…

Before we poke holes though, we’ll taste it. Soft on the nose, the more floral elements of the gin emerge (surprisingly, more of the violet like spices of cubeb and orris than the flowers at first), backed by the fresh twang of grapefruit peel. To taste, it’s a brief gentle interlude of summer flowers and light citrus before the juniper takes over the show, leading towards a satisfying finish. Mild, more subdued flavours overall, and overall – a perfectly nice, clearly well made gin that many would enjoy. We did, repeatedly, and yet in the the most damming of ways, it just seems perfectly ordinary and we can’t help but wonder if this missed the boat, despite all the sailing connections. In 2014, this would have been different, unusual, now it’s quite a mainstream, lighter styled gin. It had us happily sipping it, both neat and in a G&T (we suggest an orange peel garnish), but equally, happy to not write home about it either.

The packaging for Corinthian Gin is worth a double take. It’s a standard Oslo Bottle, but with silver foiling and beautiful botanical images reflecting through the liquid, it makes its mark. Even that, though, is a source of mystique. Who made it we asked? It’s a secret, they answered.

Corinthian Gin was built around one core ethos: the team wanted their spirit to be “the beating heart of a great gin drink.” One that will stand up to tonics, go hand to hand with vermouths and sing much, much louder than anything it is mixed with. It does this, but with not much else to say about it as a brand, it’s about as good as it’s going to get.

It’s clear that we struggle with the anonymity of this brand and the lack of charisma or momentum around it online. There’s nothing wrong with it, the people behind it are quite nice too – but it’s not going anywhere fast either. We cannot argue with its attempts at boldness and genuinely respect the fact that they haven’t gone out to create a ludicrous backstory and pretend it’s something it’s not. This is a tasty gin in a world full of flavoured vodkas. We just wished that someone would hold their hand up and give it some attention as the only thing really holding it back is a little more enthusiasm on display…

The Corinthian Gin