Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin is an unusual and unexpected gin.
Many distillers focus on using local ingredients in their recipes, but PJ Rigney, the man behind this gin has used only one, meadowsweet. Instead he has chosen botanicals from further afield, in particular, Asia.
The inclusion of the word ‘gunpowder’ in the name also meant I was expecting a Navy Strength gin! Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin is made at The Shed Distillery in the small town of Drumshanbo in Co.Leitrim., Ireland.
Two different methods are used to make Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin. Like Hendrick’s gin, some of the botanicals are placed in the pot, while others (chinese lemon, grapefruit, makrut lime and the gunpowder tea) are vapour-infused. Vapour-infusion is a gentler method to extract flavour from botanicals without ‘stewing them’
Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin contains many traditional botanicals; Juniper, angelica root, orris root, coriander seed, cardamom, plus star anise and caraway seed. There are also three types of citrus; chinese lemon, oriental grapefruit, and makrut lime (kaffir lime).
The chinese lemon or Meyer lemon is a hybrid native to Chinese. It’s a cross between citron and a mandarin/pomelo. The ‘oriental’ grapefruit is pomelo, a thick-skinned grapefruit.
Then there is the ‘gunpowder’ botanical! It actually refers to a type of Chinese tea that is rolled into small pellets that resemble grains of gunpowder.
Tasting Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish gin
The first thing you notice on opening the bottle, is unsurprisingly, citrus with pine notes from juniper coming through.
Tasting neat, there is lots of warmth from the star anise, a flavour a little like the pith of a grapefruit and a hint of tannin that I’m guessing comes from the tea. I then tasted it with Fever-Tree tonic. This opened up the gin to pronounced juniper and a strong citrus backbone. I’m not sure the tea comes through with the tonic, but the warm spice notes definitely did.
It’s a delicious, bold gin well worth experimenting with. I might have a play with my Sencha tea recipes with this gin to see if I can bring out the tea flavours more.
This gin has only recently arrived in Australia is available at Dan Murphy’s and other independent bottle shops.