Sceptics will always be quick to jump to their little sayings, like;
. Lightning never strikes twice.
. ‘Getting the band back together’ will never capture the energy of the first time around.
. The sequel is never as good as the original.
And on the face of it, they may have a point.
I mean, whilst ‘East 17’ & ‘Blazing Squad’ may well have long been considered as ‘the song birds of their generations’ at their conception, it’s probably fair to say that their respective comebacks landed with more of a squeak than a bang. And how on earth the ‘Sharknado’ franchise managed to squeeze five movies, let alone one, out of that idea is beyond me. (Note to reader; if you’re ever sat in a meeting & think you have a silly idea. Just remember that someone once put their hand up and suggested making a movie based on a tornado full of sharks…just saying).
But you may be unsurprised to hear that I’ve given this whole thing a little more thought (hey, it was that or empty the dish washer!):
. Lightening can’t strike twice?! Try telling that to Virginia born Park Ranger Roy Sullivan, who was struck by lightening on no less than 7 separate occasions! (nothing ‘shocks’ him anymore…)
. And where faux cockney ‘bad boy’ boy bands may have flopped, I think we can all agree that the girls have had more success at ‘Spicing’ up our lives – I still have a soft spot for Emma Bunton…
. And the sequels always fail? Erm, hello?! It is a stone cold fact that both ‘Home Alone 2’ & the original ‘Die Hard’ trilogy pushed the boundaries of modern film making to deliver a cinematic experience that was superior to each of their previous triumphant releases.
But what’s with the myth busting, retrospection & Macaulay Culkin throwbacks I hear you ask? I’ll tell you! (I suppose I’d better, or this will be a very short blog!).
You see, my good friends over at ‘Pothecary Gin’ have recently launched a new offering from their burgeoning brand, and this time they’re back with a vengeance!…well, they’re back with ‘Pothecary; Thai Blend’, which is kind of the same thing?… and having reviewed their original flag ship gin in early 2017 (which you can read at https://theginshelf.uk/?s=Pothecary+) when offered the opportunity to roll up my sleeves, grab my glass & note pad and give the latest in their series a whirl I jumped at the chance!
But would the latest in the range live up to their own highly set standards I wondered? With my Bruce Willis-esq white vest pulled on, and tonics at the ready, I was going in. Yippee Ki-Ya indeed…
I first heard about Pothecary’s foray in to their proposed Thai Blend when I bumped in to the distilling dynamic duo of Martin Jennings & Lukasz Dwornik at Junipalooza 2017 in London’s Tobacco Dock (Gin Foundry’s gin festival to end all gin festivals!). It was there that Jenning’s, in his charming & enthusiastic style, explained of their ambition to create a gin that could venture in to the bustling eastern restaurant scene. True to his word, and less than a year later, the gin is beautifully bottled and on the market. And this could be a very shrewd move by the Pothecary team. Recent years have seen an increasing level of interest & inspiration from the orient, with some fantastic gins entering the market; Iron Balls, Ki No Bi, Jinzu and Kokoro to name a fabulous few!
So what’s it all about?
The Thai Blend is the latest in the brands trilogy, behind their brilliant original and the Sicilian blend (a citrus forward, marmalade blast in a glass). One thing you are guaranteed with Pothecary is craft & passion when it comes to gin making, which shines through in the end products they deliver. And so holding my new bottle in hand, I felt very much like one of ‘The Pointer Sisters’; I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!
Let’s start with the bottle. I’m pleased to say that there’s nothing new here – in that it is classic Pothecary. Their bottle design has become synonymous with the brand, from its petite and rounded structure, proud wooden stopper & distinctive gold typography across the label. The key defining factor here is the deep green colouring of the labelling, fitting well with the concept it’s delivering.
But, as they say, it’s what’s on the inside that counts! And whilst juniper & coriander act as the consummate & ever present hosts, the Thai Blend has brought some new botanical friends along for the ride. And they’re here to party! Lime, coconut, ginger, roasted pineapple, mango and turmeric may sound like ingredients that would go some way to making a fantastic Thai Curry, but they all play a key role in delivering a gin that is well balanced, between tropical fruits and aromatic spice.
On first inspection, there are hefty waves of juicy mango interlinking with a slight citrus sharpness of lime juice & the sweet fruit notes of pineapple. It all comes together to create a tropical fruit sensation on the nose. There’s a warming herbal background coming from the combination of coriander and ginger, which, combined with the fruit botanicals, delivers an incredible freshness. Most pleasing of all, and perhaps slightly surprising amongst all of the other scents at play, is that I still pick out a supporting cast of pine coming through from the juniper. The vapours are complex and powerful, without being overwhelming.
An initial fruit sweetness on the tongue is replaced by an increasing heat when tasted neat. There’s a lingering sensation of pineapple on the back of the throat, with the spice of the turmeric & earthy warmth of the ginger tag teaming to stunning effect, bringing a slight sense of liquorice to proceedings. Not to be outdone, those citrusy herbal notes from the lime and coriander are still allowed to shine brightly.
With a splash of water, to remove some of that alcohol heat from the equation, you really get the sense of balance between citrus & tropical fruits, perfectly blended against those well rounded and fragrant spices. This really does deliver a taste from the east!
Now in my books, this gin is the perfect bed partner for a G&T, best served with a premium light tonic water and a fistful of ice. And as for garnishing? You have a whole host of options! A slice of fresh lime will draw out the citrus nature of the gin. Adding some fresh mango or pineapple will really help complement the tropical fruit botanicals, whilst a little fresh coriander will really help those herbal inclusions sing! And if you’re inclined to go a little braver, whack some sliced fresh ginger in your glass to tease out some of that delicious earthy warmth, or play on that spice by chucking in some fresh chilli – believe me, this gin can stand up for itself!
For my money though, the Thai Blend (as with the rest of the Pothecary range) is also a perfect candidate for a Dry Martini. When so much hard work and effort has gone in to creating such a fragrant, aromatic and tropical gin it almost seems a shame to lose it against a mixer.
My thinking throughout the tasting was that this is a gin that would work very well in a food pairing, particularly in complementing & being complemented by (in equal measure) the flavours and spicing of Thai cuisine.
And with that I’m left to reminisce further on early 90’s pop culture, whilst pouring myself another Martini…this is a devastatingly good gin!
Now we all know what happened after the ‘Die Hard’ trilogy…they released ‘Die Hard 4’, where the main terrorist crisis to deal with was the disaster of a film that was unfolding on the screen itself (sorry Bruce!). And perhaps this does point to there being a limit on how long the good times can be allowed to roll for after all?…For my old friend Mr. Willis, perhaps. But one thing I am certain of is that if Pothecary can continue to maintain their love & attention to detail when it comes to gin making, then the ‘difficult’ next release will be a trend they’ll surely buck! I’m looking forward to it already…
With thanks to the team at Pothecary for my bottle of their Thai Blend gin! Make sure to check out their website at http://www.pothecarygin.co.uk & follow the team across social media! Distinctively different, decidedly smooth and deliciously moreish.
And don’t forget to stop by @theginshelf across all social media platforms for more blogs, reviews & event updates. Come and say ‘Hi’ & chat gin!