Soft citrus and subtle, cracking in a G&T and a brilliant addition to any gin shelf.
Relative newcomers to the scene (launched in early 2010) Darnley’s View Gin is slowly seeding it’s way onto gin shelves around the world. With a family background steeped in spirits, a beautiful castle, a balanced list of botanicals and some established names adding to their credentials, there is certainly a lot to talk about.
As with any good gin, you need to start with a good story; in this case a family one. Darnley’s View is a creation from the Wemyss Whisky Company in Fife, and the legend goes something like this…
“With renowned expertise for the production of fine wines and spirits, our gin is made from a family recipe and captures the moment in 1565 when Mary Queen of Scots spied her future husband, Lord Darnley, through the courtyard window at Wemyss Castle. From this marriage came a prince who later united the thrones of England and Scotland as James VI and Ist. We like to think of Darnley’s son, conceived through a union that began at Wemyss, as a symbol of our desire to combine the best of England and Scottish distilling to create a unique gin.”
Romance covered, now onto the spirit. Darnley’s View Gin is a careful balance of six botanicals. The ingredients in question are largely a traditional line up, with juniper, lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root, elderflower and orris root all added into the still, but the gin feels lighter than a classic London Dry. Four times distilled and bottled at 40% ABV, the juniper comes to the fore on the nose but much less so on the palate, with the elderflower emerging in it’s own right. Well rounded, smooth and with a warm finish, Darnley’s View never bites, making it a good choice of gin during the summer months. It also offers up some interesting possibilities for fruit based cocktails. To us, Darnley’s View Gin feels like a perfect example of a modern take on the traditional London Dry style – not digressing too far off the classic juniper lead taste, but lighter (softer even) and more floral to suit more modern palates. Delicious.
Working in collaboration with Geraldine Coates and Jason Scott, the Darnley’s View team has shown just how much consideration they place on quality and authenticity. A quick glance at the other spirits in the family business and respected names like Charles McLean pop up as having lent their expertise to improve their whiskies; showing that this attitude is no coincidence. Similarly, the gin itself is distilled under contract at Thames Distillers in Clapham, whose wealth of experience in the gin category needs no introduction.
The packaging, bottle and marketing material all reflect a humble but premium spirit that is reflected in the price tag – around £25. There’s plenty of nice details on the bottle too, from the batch number to the bottle’s tapered body, there is consistency in the attention to detail. We’d expect to see a lot more of Darnley’s View Gin although, we must also admit that for such a quality gin, it’s moved a little slower than expected.
Check out this video on how to make a Darnley’s View Spiced Gin Punch made by Jason Scott:
Two years on from their initial foray into the gin world, in 2012 the Wemyss Whisky Company launched a sister gin, which whether intended to or not, acts as a counterpoint to their original offering.
Darnley’s View Spiced Gin is distilled with a total of ten botanicals, with juniper, cinnamon and nutmeg coming to the fore. Other botanicals include clove, cumin, ginger, grains of paradise, cassia, angelica and coriander.
Darnley’s View Spiced Gin is bottled at 42.7% ABV, which is stronger than the original (at 40% ABV). Notes from the Wemyss Whisky Company mention that they felt that a higher alcohol content brought out the flavours of the spicy botanicals a little more and provided a better balance. This makes a lot of sense and the difference is noticeable – when compared side by side, the increased alcohol certainly doesn’t feature on the top 10 things one would notice. They are radically different gins.
We’ve been going back over and over again to taste it in different contexts and moods – suffice it to say it’s caught our imagination here at Gin Foundry HQ. It has a dry, spicy nose. Much like hovering over the spice rack on a kitchen counter – nothing too specific other than that drying, almost musty aroma. On the palate juniper and citrus notes familiar to Darnley’s View quickly subside to the spicier botanicals. Gingery flavours and an overwhelming warm feeling all over. There is a definite flavour journey here and a good one too. The spice is certainly present but it’s balanced, not too potent that it might put you off. A similar quality to the original Darnley’s View has been achieved, but in an entirely different way. It’s an impressive gin and if you like Negronis (especially if you make it with Carpano Antica) it adds a new layer of complexity. We also like it in a G&T and can’t wait to see how it fairs over the winter season (if there is any left by then!).
Darnley’s View Spiced Gin is a great addition to the range and moreover to the gin category as a whole. A truly innovative product, without being so much so that it alienates gin’s core audience. Well done guys.
For more information about Darnley’s View Gin, visit their website: www.darnleysview.com
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