Niemand Dry Gin
Every time we crane our necks we see a new gin. Every city has one, it seems. Every town, even. Hell, it’s become so prolific that restaurants, bars and boutique shops have even taken to creating their own. As such, it can be hard to stand out as a local gin, never mind an international one. Still, it’s not impossible and us Gin Foundry folk quite enjoy the challenge of peering into a country and working out which of their gins would thrive in the English market. With Junipalooza Hamburg just around the corner we’re focusing our eagle eyes on the German gin scene, and one in particular that has caught out eye is Niemand Dry Gin.
Yes, we know. We’re shallow, but there’s something about an eye catching bottle – especially a really beautiful and eye catching bottle – that has us at hello, and Niemand Dry Gin, with its Art Deco-printed dusky pink glass is something that simply screams to belong on our shelves. It’s a stunner, alright. But what is it all about?
Created in 2015 by German entrepreneurs Sebastian Maria Otto and Torben Paradiek, Niemand Dry Gin is a contemporary take on the category that almost certainly speaks of its artistic background. Otto and Paradiek were running an art gallery in their hometown of Hannover back in 2010 when they happened upon the Gin scene. They were opening an exhibition with some international artists and decided to take them out to explore the nightlife. “We stumbled over Gin and Tonic in one of the clubs just as the Gin hype in Germany started to evolve,” Otto told us. “After researching the Gin market we became fascinated by the different brands creating different recipes.”
The first product they released into the Gin market, back in 2014, was something called ‘Gin Flight.’ It was a set of botanicals – quite commonplace today – with which you could dress up your G&T, taking it in a whole new flavour direction. This was the very top of a slippery slope in seems, though, and the decision to go all out and make their very own Gin took hold quickly. The whole process – from inception to production – moved at speed. After seven months of recipe trialling, Niemand Dry Gin felt ready to go. The chaps’ artistic interests and Paradiek’s background as a graphic designer also meant the bottle design was a startlingly quick process. It all fell into place, basically. Very nicely and very neatly.
Both the bottle and its contents were designed with perfume in mind, so the ingredients selected were designed to give a deep, rich and almost gourmand profile. With that in mind, traditionalists ought to look away now. Juniper isn’t considered a core botanical here, it merely crops up in the line-up to better serve the ‘gin’ title. The stars of the show are rosemary, lavender and sandalwood, with vanilla, apple, cinnamon, ginger, pine seeds, coriander and old faithful supporting from the back. Of course, the pine seed and rosemary element do give a good old lift to the juniper here, but still this is a gin that’s very much doing its own thing, in the Contemporary meets New Wave area of the category.
Distilled by a small distillery in Hamburg, Niemand Dry Gin follows a familiar process. All of the botanicals are added to a neutral spirit and left to macerate for 72 hours. After this time, the mixture is added to a 50-litre copper kettle (along with water) and left to run for 7 – 8 hours. The gin comes off the still at around 80% ABV, so is blended with water to its bottling strength of 46%. Each run produces just 104 bottles, so this is a very rare case of small batch gin actually being… well, small. Tiny, in fact.
Niemand Dry Gin to taste…
Fresh and floral on the nose, the fragrant lavender and rosemary combination is clear here. It doesn’t go too far down the path of super perfumed and floral though, as the profile is brought back by the team’s use of sandalwood to underpin it all. It’s captivating to say the least and reminiscent of smelling a pitcher of cold rooibos tea with an added rosy hue. To taste there’s once again a big dose of lavender and rosemary, which are by far the most significant flavours at the front of the journey, before a massive amount of sandalwood barges its way in, as if you’ve just mistakenly sprayed a bit of aftershave directly into your mouth. Once you return to it again, a certain gingeryness comes through on the finish too, while the white pepper like heat of the 46% ABV remains smooth. Juniper is shy for our classic loving gin souls, although the rosemary and the Provençal nature of lavender does help maintain a fresh green core than means it’s not too far off similar flavours, while the forest floor pine-like sensations do indeed grow on the finish. Juniper predominant no, juniper apparent, yes.
The Niemand Dry Gin team serve their G&T with an apple slice and a sprig of rosemary. It’s a great serve, as the apple note does require a little bit of teasing out and the rosemary adds to the perception of pine. Still, we can’t help but yearn for a big orange wheel whenever we get a particularly floral gin so we’re going to go orange wheel, rosemary and Fever-Tree Med tonic with our serve on this personally.
Of course, we’re going to give our usual complaint that there is not enough juniper here, we will always want more of it to be evident. That said, the pine and rosemary definitely do their part to impart some of that forest-fresh wisdom (especially on the end), which could almost trick the tongue into tasting something along the line of traditional gin. Almost. While for some this will be a deal breaker, in many ways, this is where we feel like Niemand Dry Gin has its biggest strength. It’s a very contemporary profile, yet one that works on a parallel track to gin to give you something familiar yet different, not something that traveled in the complete opposite direction. Besides, when citrus is cast aside for wood, even of the sandal variety, you know you’re getting something quite… revelatory.
The Niemand Dry Gin slogan, ‘Niemand ist wie du’ translates, more or less, to ‘Nobody is like you.’ As far as slogans go, this is one that really speaks to the liquid it carries. “It plays with the fact that each human is individual and very unique and so is our recipe,” says Otto. It’s a complex, floral, loud and bold gin that fills the mouth and hijacks the senses. It looks like nothing else, it tastes like nothing else and as a result we need it, want it, have to have it front and centre of our ever-groaning Gin cabinet.
For more information about Niemand Dry Gin, visit niemand-gin.de
Say hello on Social Media!
Copyright © Gin Foundry