When recently browsing for new gins I wanted to try, the unique botanicals of Sibling Gin instantly leapt out to me. Madagascan vanilla and blueberries in a gin sounded utterly delicious and combined with the stunning bottle design (I'm a sucker for a pretty bottle), it went straight into my virtual basket.
Unique not just in its botanicals, the story behind Sibling Gin is a fascinating one too. Created by siblings Felix, Clarice, Cicely and Digby Elliot-Berry, Sibling Gin was born when the four decided they wanted to work together to create something different within the drinks world. Already familiar with the drinks industry having grown up working in their parents' brewery, the distillery was founded in 2014 when the siblings were just 22, 20, 18 and 15 (anyone else feeling old?!). It's not just your usual distillery either - this one is the first of its kind in Europe, made entirely of glass and stainless steel (which allows absolute clarity both during the process and in the finished spirit) with a custom built "upside down" carbon filter to purify the spirit more rigorously.
Felix, Clarice, Cicely and Digby had a desire to create the best product they could, which is why they choose to make their gin entirely from scratch, following a "grass to grain" approach - well if you want something done properly, do it yourself! They ferment their own grains to make vodka before infusing with the botanicals to create the gin. Through developing and exploring the recipe, the siblings learnt through taste tests that subtler and fruitier tones were generally more preferred, which is where the idea of adding vanilla and blueberries first came in, making Sibling Gin very different from your traditional London Dry. The final recipe uses 10 botanicals: juniper, coriander, cardamom, cubeb, Madagascan vanilla, liquorice root, orris root, blueberries, lemon zest and orange zest.
From start to bottle, the whole process takes almost 3 weeks, divided up into 6 stages. Every 17 litres of distillation, the botanicals are switched over to maintain freshness. It's time consuming, but all fresh ingredients are prepared by hand, so that the gin tastes authentic and not artificial.
The design of the bottle itself is beautiful, with design elements all in fours to reflect each member of the team: the bottle is square with a gold diamond pattern, and the four dots above the letters in the logo represent each sibling. The design uses real gold and a lead based ink which is fired onto the bottles at 800 degrees, giving a stunning glossy finish.
I like my gin best in a G&T, and tried a couple of Sibling Gin's suggested serves. Firstly, I mixed a double measure of Sibling Gin with Fevertree Light and a curl of orange peel to garnish. I've seen gins described as creamy before, and it's a word I've never been able to associate with gin until now. Sibling Gin makes a perfectly creamy G&T that's very easy to drink! This serve was super smooth, light and and its flavour was unlike any other. On the nose, the gin is full of citrus fragrance, followed by a delicious balance of vanilla and blueberry flavours on the palate, with a long warming finish complete with a lingering taste of vanilla. From its list of botanicals, you may expect this to be a particularly sweet gin, but you'd be mistaken, as the vanilla and blueberries are perfectly balanced with juniper, liquorice and cardamom - botanicals that frequently pop up in my favourite gins!
The second serve I tried was with Mediterranean tonic and a wedge of fresh lemon. Mixing up the components of the G&T really altered the flavour experience of Sibling Gin, with the initial citrus hit very much removed. The Mediterranean tonic really brought through the blueberry flavours, which surprisingly were more forward than the vanilla, yet this serve tasted even creamier. Overall, this was a fruitier serve - equally as refreshing with vanilla flavours certainly still present, but it was the blueberry that lingered on the palate.
I did try Sibling Gin neat too, wanting to fully appreciate the recipe and balance of flavours. I don't drink gin neat particularly often, but I was impressed with how outstandingly smooth Sibling Gin is without mixer and found it very easy to sip. On the nose, I found blueberries were the most forward, with an overall fruitiness and underlying wafts of juniper and orange zest. On first sip, the warming vanilla flavours hit you first, quickly followed by blueberry, with a long juniper finish.
Overall, Sibling Gin is quite frankly delicious. As it was the vanilla and blueberry botanicals that made me want to buy a bottle, I'm pleased with how forward these flavours are in each of the serves I tried. Aside from the Original Gin, there are plenty of other editions in the Sibling Collection, with four seasonal gins and even a Negroni-inspired gin.
For more information, you can check out the Sibling Gin website.