Martin Miller’s Gin Review
The bottle of Martin Miller’s Gin for this review was purchased by From the Gin Shelf
Martin Miller’s Gin.
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. But Martin Miller’s has every right to be named in the same breath as those.
Read my review of one of the best gins of the last two decades.
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.
This gin that was already very good, was simply transformed into this totally different experience.
How Martin Miller’s Gin is made
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 its own brand of products. The distillation itself is a modern take on traditional methods, blending 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.
Juniper, angelica, dried lemon peel, cassia, coriander seeds, dried lime peel, liquorice root, nutmeg, bitter orange peel, florentine iris
How to serve Martin Miller's Gin
- Chill a glass in the fridge
- Add plenty of ice to a glass
- Pour 50ml of gin
- Add a quality tonic to taste (either a classic Indian tonic or, if you like something a little sweeter, Elderflower)
- Garnish with a quartered strawberry and cracked black pepper
- Stir gently and serve
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 website, Gin Foundry (now Spirits Beacon) confirms this to be the case. They’ve been to the water source and tested Martin Miller’s cut back with other waters, and state that 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 botanical mix, 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.
For their perfect serve, Martin Miller’s recommend either a premium Indian 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 ideal for my tastes, leaving the perfect balance against the bitterness of the tonic.<
Given the botanical mix, Martin Miller’s is incredibly versatile as a gin and tonic and can be taken in numerous directions…
20 years on, Martin Miller’s remains a gin that can be exciting for fanatics and those new to the category, alike. Its flavour profile is perfect for those who like a traditional gin with more citrus-forward notes, and its balanced journey makes it a perfect ‘entry gin’.
Martin Miller’s set out to pioneer the category and, while it didn’t have the impact of its contemporary, Hendrick’s, it’s a gin I still turn to. Its packaging still looks current and cool, while the versatility makes it great for cocktails as well as the classic gin and tonic.
In today’s market, it’s also great value and can often be found at a price of around £22, depending on special offers. Expect to pay closer to £26 most of the time, however.
20 years on, Martin Miller’s remains a gin that can be exciting for fanatics and those new to the category, alike.
Where is Martin Miller’s Gin Made?
Martin Miller’s Gin is distilled at Langley Distillery in England. The gin is then transported to Iceland where it is blended with glacier water.
Is Martin Miller’s a Dry gin?
Martin Miller’s is not a Dry gin as it adds flavouring post-distillation. It is classed as a Distilled gin.
What is the best way to drink Martin Miller’s Gin?
Martin Miller’s recommend their gin be served as a gin and tonic, garnished with strawberry and cracked black pepper. A classic Indian tonic works well, or if you prefer a sweeter drink, serve with Elderflower tonic.
What botanicals are in Martin Miller’s Gin?
Martin Miller’s uses 10 botanicals in their gin. These are juniper, angelica, dried lemon peel, cassia, coriander seeds, dried lime peel, liquorice root, nutmeg, bitter orange peel, florentine iris.