The end of August has come a good week (maybe a day or two more) before the end of my gin collection which means I have much more gin than I realised and I'll have to wait for another suitable occasion to open those bottles. I'm finishing up with Martin Miller's Westbourne because they were kind enough to send me a bottle, and after one quick look at it, D made it clear that it wasn't going to be allowed to sit around undisturbed for very long. I couldn't argue, and given that Martin Miller's was the first gin I really fell in love with it's a good choice.
I've had fun doing this. I started out in the wine trade 17 years ago at a time when gin looked to be on its last legs, so it's been fascinating watching its current revival, learning the history, and enjoying the product. As it's always been my drink of choice there's a feeling of vindication too, and being able to share this particular enthusiasm is great - I really do wish I could gather together everyone who's commented here, as well as on Facebook and Twitter and share the gin. But I can't, some of you are far to far away, so I'll just have to settle for saying thank you, especially for the recommendation (both for books and other gins).
Westbourne is bottled at 45.2% which makes it noticably stronger than standard Martin Miller's and the recipe is slightly different too. Both gins use a blend of two distillates (not an unusual process) one of which places juniper front and centre, the other citrus. The reason for distilling separately is that it allows you to bring out the best in different botanicals - in this case it means the citrus retains a freshness which would be lost if everything went into the pot together. The extra alcohol makes the juniper more assertive and brings out the spicy notes at the beginning, before you get all that lovely citrus (and a hint of cucumber) at the back. It's a gorgeous gin in a G&T, and I'm told it's exceptionally good in a martini or a negroni as well.
We spent some time discussing suitable books for this one, I was leaning towards some Victorian doorstop of a book as being suitably epic to do it justice, but D said the Icelandic saga's, and that made sense (and not just because of the Icelandic connection, or that blogging everyday for a month around some busy times at work has felt like a saga of its own at times).
They're suitably large in scale, absorbing when you take the time to get into them, and reward the slight effort that takes. As every reader knows it's one of life's true pleasures to set aside an hour or so to sit down with a well made drink (from tea and coffee onwards) and a good book and just be able to lose yourself in both for a while. When I hit publish in this post I'll be doing just that with a glass of Westbourne and the 'Comic Sagas and Tales of Iceland'.