There are more than enough gins produced in this country, thanks to the ginaissance, to be going on without having to consider ones produced from farther afield. But I’m not one to shut my eyes to what is on offer globally, particularly if it fits my taste requirements almost to a tee. It doesn’t do to be a little Englander.
Always one willing to judge a book by its cover, my eye was immediately drawn to the wonderfully elegant bottle housing Puerto de Indias Pure Black Edition Gin. It is tall and black, using brass embossing to fine effect at the front, representing the Tower of Gold, one of the symbols of the city of Seville and around which its trading activities were concentrated. The glass at the rear and below the bottom section of the bottle are embossed within the glass itself. It is stunningly simple in design but highly effective and, if nothing else, is a welcome aesthetic addition to my gin shelf. The labelling is disappointingly uninformative, save for that it is “Sevillian Premium Gin”.
The name of Puerto de Indias takes as its reference Seville’s monopoly status in trading relationships between Spain and its territories in the Americas, the gateway through which gold, other valuable minerals, and unusual fruits and vegetables came into Spain and the rest of Europe. The distillery is located in Carmona and is one of the oldest and most traditional distilleries in Andalusia.
There are, currently, three gins on the market under the Puerto de Indias brand, which was launched in the latter months of 2013; the Black Edition, which we will go into more detail in a minute, a strawberry-flavoured gin and the Classic, which, at an ABV of 37.5%, promises a more traditional flavour, whatever that may mean. The Black Edition, the latest of their gins, was launched in March 2016.
It takes as its inspiration, so says the inevitable marketing blurb that seems to go hand-in-glove with gins these days, springtime in Andalusia. So, we are warned to expect the gentle aromas of orange blossom and citrus, mingled with strains of jasmine and vanilla. It is supposed to conjure up a picture of the province at that time of year. However, we are advised, it is not a flavoured gin and is aimed to appeal to the serious gin and tonic lover. I tend to take this sort of drivel with a sip of gin.
Astonishingly, they were not wrong. Quite simply, this is one of the finest gins I have ever tasted and has bulldozed its way into my favourite handful of gins I have tasted. It is one to be savoured and kept for those special occasions when you want to rise above the humdrum.
Removing the screwcap, a cork stopper would have really finished this product off, my nostrils were greeted by the reassuring smell of pine, courtesy of the juniper, and jasmine but there was also a distinctly floral overtone. None were so overpowering as to hinder the others from getting a look in. In the glass the spirit was crystal clear and in the mouth was a perfectly balanced mix of spiciness, floral notes and citrus from the region’s oranges and lemons. It made for a very smooth drink with enough astringency in the aftertaste to remind you that you were drinking not only a gin but a high-class gin.
It shows that you do not have to have to go too far off the piste in terms of botanicals to produce a distinctive and thoroughly enjoyable gin. Often less is more and simplicity is to be preferred over unnecessary complexity. I’m sold.
Until the next time, cheers!