Tarquin’s Dry Gin from Southwestern Distillery in Wadebridge is the first Cornish gin for over a century and won Gold at the prestigious International Wine and Spirits Awards (IWSC) in 2014, the year it launched.
Distiller Tarquin Leadbetter gave up life behind a desk to pursue a career in distilling, the result is Tarquin’s Dry Gin and intriguingly, a Cornish Pastis (no, not pasties). As the name suggests it’s in the London Dry style, but Tarquin told me “I tried to create something familiar but at the same time slightly different, a nod to the classic London Dry gins that I love (and perhaps my subconscious was utterly unable to ignore) – but the aim was to create something a little bit more modern, and unique.”
Not only unique, but on a very small scale. South Western Distillery’s pot still Tamara (named after the Cornish river Tamar) is tiny by industry standards, and only 300 bottles are created per batch. Unusually, she is fired by flame, which Tarquin believes adds a level of complexity to his gin.
The traditional gin botanicals are all present; juniper, coriander, citrus (the fresh zest of sweet orange, lemon and grapefruit), angelica, orris root and liquorice. However, Tarquin has chosen cinnamon in place of the typical cassia bark giving a slightly sweeter spice note. The surprising botanical is the leaves from Devon violets, a touch of nostalgia for Tarquin’s childhood in the West Country.
On the nose, Tarquin’s is a balance of citrus and juniper and that is mirrored in the flavour with piney juniper notes leading into bright citrus flavours, with a hint of orange blossom. The finish is dry and savoury with a hint of peppery warmth.
Tarquin’s Dry Gin makes a brilliant gin and tonic (I garnished mine with fresh lime peel and edible violets) and a magnificent Aviation cocktail where the citrus notes worked well against the maraschino liqueur. A lovely gin that you should definitely try!
County of Origin: UK