Martin Miller's Gin Review


There are few gins with a reputation like Martin Miller’s. Mention pioneering brands of the gin revival and Sipsmith and Hendrick’s will probably spring to mind (
read our review of the latter). But Martin Miller’s has every right to be named in the same breath as those. Read our review of one of the best gins of the last two decades.

The bottle for our Martin Miller’s Gin review was purchased by From the Gin Shelf

Euan Harris | 20 March 2019

Martin Miller’s Gin Review

There are few gins with a reputation like Martin Miller’s. Mention pioneering brands of the gin revival and Sipsmith and Hendrick’s will probably spring to mind (read our review of the latter). But Martin Miller’s has every right to be named in the same breath as those. Read our review of one of the best gins of the last two decades.

Story.

Leading the gin renaissance since 1999

It’s a bold statement, blazened on the Martin Miller’s website, but when you examine what they actually did within the category, it’s hard to argue against. Unique and innovative, Martin Miller’s is a classic. While others come and go, it remains as popular as ever.

The story of Martin Miller’s

As with many of the best ideas, Martin Miller’s Gin came about during a lunch between three friends – David Bromige, Andreas Versteegh and Martin Miller. The driving force behind the gin was its namesake, who wanted to resurrect a category which, in his mind, was severely neglected.

Described on the brand’s site as a “bon viveur and connoisseur of the finer things in life,” Martin Miller had a career which spanned many trades; publishing, concert promoter and property, to name a few.

Bromige’s background was in the spirits business, developing products for the likes of Diageo. Martin Miller’s Gin, however, was a labour of love and the aim was to make the best product they could. Commercial aspects such as margins were an afterthought.

In 1998 the three friends set out to create the world’s best gin – one which would taste great “even when drank neat.” And the following year Martin Miller’s was available to the world.

BOTANICALS

juniper, angelica, dried lemon peel, cassia, coriander seeds, dried lime peel, liquorice root, nutmeg, bitter orange peel, florentine iris

Martin Miller's Gin perfect serve

 

  1. Fill a glass with plenty of ice
  2. Pour 50ml of Martin Millers Gin
  3. Quarter a strawberry and add to the glass
  4. Top up with your preferred tonic to taste
  5. Stir gently and serve

After blending two distillations together for ten days, Martin Miller’s transport their gin from Immingham in England to Iceland. It’s here that the final product is cut back to bottle strength with pure glacier meltwater.

The process.

Of England & Iceland

Many a brand’s claim they use a unique process is often spurious at best. Martin Miller’s truly does. It’s a marriage of England and Iceland, symbolised by the respective flags of their logo. For Martin Miller’s, the distillation is only part of the story of what makes their gin so unique.

This part of the process takes place at Langley Distillery – a popular contract distiller which also produces their own brand of products. The distillation itself is a contemporary take on traditional methods, blending two two distillations together.

In one pot they distill botanicals such as juniper, cassia, florentine iris, angelica. The citrus botanicals are then distilled in another pot. The result is two very different types of alcohol – a strong juniper gin and essentially a citrus vodka. After ten days of blending together in a container, the final distillate then makes its long journey to Iceland.

It’s this part of the process which really makes Martin Miller’s Gin stand out. Others use a blended method, including contemporaries Hendrick’s. The long ten-day journey from Immingham on the east of England to remote Icelandic village of Borgarnes, is something else altogether. It’s here that the marriage of England and Iceland takes place, using the pure glacier meltwater to dilute the gin down to its 40% ABV bottling strength. Water that’s been filtered for around 800 years through the mountain.

Tasting notes.

What does Martin Miller’s Gin taste like?

But is all worth it? Is the huge expense of a few thousand kilometres round trip purely a marketing gimmick?

Martin Miller’s describe their Icelandic water as being ‘like no other’; one which means there’s no alcohol burn often associated with spirits. Upon taste, it’s truly as they describe – soft and delicate, and incredibly smooth. There’s a feeling you’re tasting something very special at work here. Is it because of the water? Without comparison, there’s no way for me to say. But the hugely respected Gin Foundry confirms this to be the case. They’ve been to the water source and tested Martin Miller’s cut back with other waters. And it’s “quite apparent to taste.”

Given how it’s distilled, there’s no surprise that heavy citrus and juniper dominate the nose, with a waft of pepper in the background.

Fresh citrus is at the fore of the palate, with juniper not far behind. There’s a sweetness from the liquorice root there too, with a warming and highly smooth finish.

A versatile gin & tonic

Given the nature of its 10 botanicals, Martin Miller’s is incredibly versatile as a gin and tonic and can be taken in numerous directions. From traditional citrus garnishes, to enhance those flavours, or to their recommended serve of strawberry and cracked black pepper, which brings out a little more of the spicier notes.

No matter the endless ways you think to play around with it, it’s a smooth and refreshing G&T – perfect for a warm summer day in the garden.

For their perfect serve, Martin Miller’s recommend either a premium tonic water or to make for a sweeter drink, Elderflower tonic. While the latter works really well, with the strawberries enhancing the sweetness of the gin, a classic tonic is enough for my tastes, leaving the perfect balance against the bitterness of the tonic.

Packaging.

There’s much to admire about the simplicity in the Martin Miller’s packaging. With the Icelandic water being central to the brand, it’s fitting that also the focus of the bottle, depicting the journey that the uncut spirit makes from England to the Icelandic spring.

The tall, slender bottle makes for a sophisticated look, while it’s ergonomically shaped for easy handling by bartenders and mixologists, who were a key target for the brand as they set out.

Despite the amazing array of bottles now on the market, Martin Miller’s remains one of my favourites, further reinforcing its premium status.