Juniper sweeps the senses straight into a pine forest, though there’s a hint of island about it; a faint saline splash on the nose that reminds us of a crisp sea breeze.
To taste, the gin is a flower bomb. The beach rose, burnet rose and borage explode onto the tongue, bringing an almost soapy taste when sipped neat. The saline from the nose is present, too. It’s almost as though a strain of seaweed has been used in the botanical bill, but for a producer to use such an ingredient and not shout about it would be too unusual, so we’re not entirely convinced it’s that. It’s complex overall and unsurprisingly from the listed ingredients, has a strong rosey hue that doesn’t ever become pungent nor ever really dissipates throughout, along with a warming spice underpinning the gin and a hint of something almost smoked lurking towards the back.
With tonic, Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin holds its own; the flavour journey is similar to when tasted neat, with flowers making a loud entry whilst that dark green, vegetal quality creeps up quietly, wrapping itself around the tongue entirely. There is a sweet orangey citrus burst towards the middle of the sip, which seems to elevate the flowers, lifting them above the green taste and carrying them to the end, wherein they blossom across the mouth, bringing with them memories of summer picnics and sticky sweet perfumes. It’s a lovely gin, surprisingly delicate for its robust hometown and evocative of summer strolls and handfuls of poppies, plucked from the beach.
Stephen’s suggested serve is a twist of orange rind (“calamondin fruits are really intense once dried and offer a unique and vibrant citrus edge to the spirit that explodes the moment you add a twist of orange peel to your drink”), which would certainly help to bolster the citrus qualities. We’d follow the same suit, perhaps tossing in a handful of juniper berries to up the piny qualities as well.