Even if you are an established name in the gin world and celebrated your twentieth year in business last year, the ginaissance has spawned so many rivals that you cannot afford to rest on your laurels. Partly as a way to celebrate their twentieth anniversary and partly to ensure that their name was foremost in the public’s mind, Martin Miller released two limited-edition gins, Summerful and Winterful. I have already reviewed the Summerful gin and now it is time to put Martin Miller’s Winterful Gin under the spotlight.
As its name suggests, the gin is supposed to evoke the essence of wintertime. Martin Miller’s marketing differentiator is that it combines the best of England gin with the finest natural Icelandic water in its products and for Winterful they have chosen to use botanicals that are particularly associated with mulled wines in each of the countries. In Iceland mulled wine goes by the deliciously onomatopoeic name of Jóla Glőgg.
For their original gin, Martin Miller uses a twin distillation process, distilling the juniper and earthier elements separately and then the citrus elements separately before combining them. In this way, they claim, they can achieve a better balance between the juniper and citrus, resulting in a smoother more satisfying drink. In creating Winterful there is a third distillation involving cinnamon, mandarin orange peel, and other botanicals including cardamom, the flavours chosen to reflect winter, mulled wine and the warming flavours you associate with and require at that time of year.
This is very much their original gin plus, an impression emphasised by the fact that they use the same tall slim octagonal shaped bottle with a long neck. The differentiator is that they use a maroonish purple colour on their labels. There is nothing wrong with that. After all, if you have made a gin that has stood the test of time, there is no point in throwing it out with the bathwater just to create a seasonal variant.
On removing the silver screwcap, my nose took an intense hit of orange and cinnamon. These were certainly the smells I associated with mulled wine and there was no mistaking their presence. I began to worry that they might completely overwhelm the more subtle and complex blending of juniper and citrus I have come to associate with Martin Miller’s. My fears were somewhat assuaged when I pored the crystal-clear spirit int the glass. In the mouth the first sensation was of sweetness, before more intense spicy and sweet flavours emerged. The mandarin reappeared towards the end of the sip and the aftertaste was long and pleasantly spicy and warming.
The juniper may have got a bit lost along the way, but it made for a satisfying drink that met its brief and did what it promised in the marketing blurb. At 40% ABV it made for a pleasant opener for an evening’s drinking and I could easily see what it has been highly rated. I much preferred it to its sister drink, Summerful.
Until the next time, cheers!