We don’t know about you but we’ve been reading all sorts of studies lately that suggest that drinking gin helps alleviate the symptoms of hay fever! Whilst we at Sated don’t usually suffer from such things, we thought it best to be pre-emptive in such matters and give the curious new Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin a go. You know, for science.
When you think about it, it’s actually a bit of a shock that Dorset has taken up till now to spawn its first gin distillery. The abundance of and proximity to New Forest pickings, the crystal clear water supply found in the area, along with the “Rah” surfeit and glorious profusion of farmland, makes it an ideal home for such a venture. Well, this is certainly what Rupert Holloway thought when he opened Conker Spirit in 2014. Tired of being spoilt for choice for local beers, he asked himself why when it came to gin were they stuck with the industrially distilled brands. Seemingly coming up with no intelligible reason why they should be, he set about opening his own distillery.
Tucked away down the backstreets of Bournemouth, the tiny operation distils, bottles and labels its award-winning gin on-site in batches of 60. Many of the botanicals used are locally foraged, adding even greater authenticity to the moniker ‘Dorset Dry Gin’, and include marsh samphire, elderberries and New Forest gorse flowers. “Wild gorse is incredible”, says Rupert. “On the plant you are hit by a wall of coconut and fresh nectarines. Once dried and distilled through our copper pot still, it brings sweet honeylike notes of camomile and nectar.” These elements can certainly be detected in the smooth taste of the finished product but are far from overpowering.
Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin
Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Oris Root, Casia Bark, Bitter Orange Peel, Lime Peel, handpicked Gorse Flowers, Elderberries and Marsh Samphire.
A cacophony of scents; fresh and dewy with light citric expressions kept in check by a soft sweetness.
The initial sip brings a freshness and the recognisable robing of juniper. However this is quickly overcome by the syrupy fruitiness of the elderberries and sugary yet fragrant gorse. The bitterness of the citrus peels and herbal notes from the Angelica root linger lightly on the palate but the overall expression is one of sweetness.
A classic G&T with a grapefruit peel garnish. If you want to play up the sugary notes of the gin, replace standard tonic with Fentimans Wile English Elderflower or Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic. If you’re looking for something more balanced, Rupert recommends you try it in a Martini (5 parts Conker, 1 part Vermouth).
Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin, RRP £35.95 (70cl) and is available to buy from Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and directly from the Conker Spirit website.