I’m delighted to see the renaissance of gin as a main-player again in the spirits market. It’s always been my white spirit of choice; I love the how blend of botanicals makes such a enormous difference to the texture, sweetness and taste.

New to Calgary is a most unusual gin from England, and one that some may say kicked off the recent interest in gin – Martin Miller’s Gin. Last year alone, the Westbourne Strength was awarded the highest Master Award by The Spirits Business, Gold Outstanding from England’s International Wine and Spirit Competition, Gold at the World Spirits Awards, and was named ‘Spirit of the Year 2014’.

Martin Miller’s gins are unusual for several reasons: most often, during distillation thespirit vapours pass through the botanicals and are infused with the extracts and oils, but in these gins they are steeped overnight in spirit and hot water. Most pot-distilled gins use three pots, but here only pot is used (called Angela, and made in 1898 by John Dore & Sons, the Rolls Royce of gin stills). The pure water comes from Iceland and is not ‘de-mineralized’; and finally, juniper and the earthier combination of coriander, angelica, liquorice root, cassia bark and Florentine iris, are distilled and then blended with a separate distillation of the citrus peels. It’s a messy and labour intensive method, but produces a remarkable subtlety with a soft finish, and no burn.

At 90º proof, Westbourne Strength is ideal for cocktails (mine’s a Martini please), and while you’ll recognize juniper on the nose initially, it’s immediately followed by subtle nuances of sweet citrus from the Seville orange, lemon and lime peels. Focus hard, and you might pick up the clean flavour of cucumber.

Be sure to breathe out down your nose when sipping this gin, to enhance the enjoyment of the complex aromas and flavour.

CSPC 759489, $57-$60

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