This week Mr GQ was gifted a bottle of Adnams First Rate Gin as a thank you for introducing a colleague visiting from overseas to The Lui Bar. (What a polite person!)
Adnams are better known as brewers, publicans and hoteliers, having operated in East Anglia for a couple of hundred years. Inspired by the micro-distilling boom in the United States they decided to take the plunge into distilling in 2010 when they built the distillery.
Adnams produce all the base alcohol for their spirits themselves, using locally sourced cereals. This is done by the creating a ‘distillery wash’ (an unhopped beer at 7% ABV) that is then stripped and rectified. If you really want the technical detail, Adnams has it in spades here.
The resulting vodka forms the base of their two gins, Distilled Gin (40% ABV) and First Rate Gin (48% ABV). We were lucky recipients of the latter!
Adnams First Rate Gin has some traditional botanicals: juniper, coriander, cardamom, cassia bark, angelica root, sweet orange peel, lemon peel and liquorice root, together with some less obvious choices, such as vanilla pods, caraway seeds, fennel seeds, and thyme.
On the nose the juniper leads, with some herbal and citrus notes. It’s smooth and well-balanced with a good, bold flavour and a long warm finish. I’m looking forward to this in a dry martini, it really is First Rate!
As you would expect from a higher ABV Adnams First Rate Gin is at the top end of the price scale. While they do not have a distributor in Australia, Nicks do import it.