Disclosure: bottle of Mermaid Pink Gin sent by the distiller for review. Opinions entirely that of the author.

Mermaid Pink Gin

The gin boom shows no sign in slowing down. Central to this is the rise in flavoured expressions, and in particular, pink gins. Following an exciting rebrand of their flagship gin, Isle of Wight Distillery expanded into the pink gin market in June 2019. Read my review to find out all you need to know about Mermaid Pink Gin.

Story.

Mermaid’s Kiss

Situated just off England’s south coast sits the Isle of Wight. The island’s first (and only) distillery was licensed in 2014 with two friends at the helm, Xavier Baker and Conrad Gauntlett. Both had worked in the drinks industry with Xavier being a brewer and Conrad’s experience being in wine production.

Their flagship Mermaid Gin was launched in 2015 and Isle of Wight distillery now produces a range of spirits including whisky, vodka and rum.

A truly stunning rebrand

Mermaid Gin takes its name from the signature botanical, rock samphire (known locally as “mermaid’s kiss”), which grows around the cliffs of the island. And in 2019, the distillery took their identity to a whole new level with a stunning rebrand.

Taking a year to bring to fruition, the bottle design is now truly an extension of the brand, featuring sculpted glass scales across the entire bottle. As well as being a work of art, the new packaging also expanded on Isle of Wight Distillery’s sustainable ethos. In addition to being made from recycled glass, the packaging is certified 100% plastic-free by A Plastic Planet – whose mark you can see on the back of the bottle.

While year-on-year gin sales grew by 55% between 2018 and 2019 in the UK, over two-thirds of that growth was accounted for by pink gin (GCA).

The importance of such a move cannot be underestimated. The gin market is incredibly competitive. With nearly 250 brands entering the on-trade market in the last five years, you need to have something that stands out in order to compete. Do it really well and it can propel you to another level. A few months after the rebrand, the distillery launched Mermaid Pink Gin featuring the same design. Both are incredibly beautiful and up there with anything in the market just now, in my opinion

If social media is anything to go on, the new bottles really caused a stir. And the stats on Google Trends make truly impressive reading – if ever you wanted a visual representation of how important packaging is, have a look at this graph!

According to Gin Foundry, the rebrand and its addition of Mermaid Pink will bring Isle of Wight Distillers into the “top ten percentile of craft producers by mid-2021“. The move to flavoured gins is one many distillers are struggling to ignore. While year-on-year gin sales grew by 55% between 2018 and 2019 in the UK, over two-thirds of that growth was accounted for by pink gin (GCA).

The Process.

Locally grown strawberries

The original Mermaid Gin is used as a base to make the Pink expression. The addition? Strawberries from the island’s Arreton Valley. These strawberries are steeped in the original for four days. Half of the liquid is then redistilled, before adding back into the original infusion. Unlike many pink/flavoured gins on the market, Mermaid Pink has zero added sugar.

To create the original Mermaid Gin, its ten botanicals are steeped in spirit overnight to help release the essential oils and flavours. Column stills are then used in the distillation process and the distillate is rested for seven days to allow the flavours to blend and the high alcohols to evaporate. The spirit is then chill-filtered and cut back with RO water (i.e. water that’s undergone reverse osmosis) to 42%.

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BOTANICALS

English strawberries, rock samphire, elderflower, grains of paradise, organic lemon zest, bodicea hops, English coriander, angelica root, liquorice root, juniper, orris root

RECOMMENDED SERVE

How to serve Mermaid Pink Gin

  1. Add plenty of ice to a glass
  2. Add 50ml of gin
  3. Pour 150ml of quality light tonic water
  4. Garnish with fresh lime, strawberries and mint
  5. Stir gently and serve

For an alternative, Mermaid Pink can also be served as a summer cup fruit cup with ginger ale.

Mermaid Pink Gin bottle sitting in front of a vase of flowers.

Tasting notes.

Mermaid Pink Gin has a subtle pink hue as a result of the infusion with strawberries. And unsurprisingly it’s the strawberry that comes through predominantly on the nose. It’s like summer in a glass!

Go back for more and you get a little bit of juniper and subtle saltiness from the rock samphire – the signature botanical in the original Mermaid Gin, which makes up the Pink expression’s base.

Neat

Sipped neat, the strawberry jumps to the front of the palate – aromatic and full-bodied. With (thankfully) no added sugar, it’s not sickly, and all the sweetness comes from its natural ingredients. The finish is enduring with a slight salinity coating the tongue. At 38% it’s not overpowering, and it’s one many could enjoy neat over ice.

With no added sugar, Mermaid Pink Gin is not sickly, and all the sweetness comes from its natural ingredients.

With tonic

With tonic, the journey is elongated somewhat, but less intense. It opens up the sweetness of the strawberry further and it’s an extremely refreshing drink. The recommended serve is with fresh lime, strawberries and mint, and those flavours work really well. Given the sweetness, I’d go for a light tonic.

The distillery also suggest trying Mermaid Pink as a summer fruit cup with ginger ale.

REVIEW VERDICT.

The rise of pink gin has been like a runaway train but there are few who have done it well in my opinion. However, Isle of Wight Distillery’s Mermaid Pink Gin is one that’s bucked the trend. It’s been created in such a way that will appeal to both gin purists and the mass market alike, with its subtle colour and no addition of sugar.

My preference is always a more juniper-forward gin, but there’s a huge market there who are looking for flavoured gins, so it’s understandable distilleries are tapping into this.

That being said, Mermaid Pink Gin is highly drinkable and I admire the way that Isle of Wight Distillery have gone about their business here. The packaging is absolutely incredible and for anyone looking for a flavoured gin, Mermaid Pink would be on my list of suggestions.

FAQs

Where is Mermaid Pink Gin made?
Mermaid Gin is distilled by Isle of Wight Distillery on the Isle of Wight, England.

How much does Mermaid Pink Gin cost?
Mermaid Pink Gin costs around £35.

What is percentage ABV is Mermaid Pink Gin?
Mermaid Pink Gin is 38% ABV.

How do you serve Mermaid Pink Gin?
Mermaid Pink Gin is best served as a summer fruit cup with ginger ale, or as a G&T with fresh strawberries, lime and mint.