Disclosure: The bottle for this review of Pothecary Trinity Gin gifted by the distiller. Opinions entirely that of the author.
Pothecary Trinity Gin
Since Sipsmith helped opened the floodgates to craft distilling in 2009, the innovation in the category has been incredible. As a gin fan, the variety and quality now available is exciting.
But, in a category which has risen exponentially in popularity, it’s been impossible for regulations to keep up with many arguing that we’re starting to lose sight (or taste) of what gin is due to the divergence in products bearing the label “gin”.
Pothecary Trinity Gin is a counter-punch to this divergence, stripping everything back to just three botanicals and the pillars of gin – juniper, citrus and spice.
British blended gin
Pothecary Gin was created by two friends – distiller Martin Jennings and Lukasz Dwornik. Both had worked together for several years as a Wine Development Specialist and Senior Hospitality Manager respectively.
As with many brands, they were drinking what they felt was a substandard gin and tonic and set out to create one which would be better.
After many months, the name Pothecary was settled upon with an ethos to create high quality, artisan gin using only certified organic botanicals.
Their original ‘blue label’ gin was extremely well received, winning double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards. Other expressions followed including the Sicilian Blend and, the focus of this review, Trinity.
Pothecary Trinity Blend was conceived by Martin Jennings as a counterpunch to what he described to me as the “alarming state of the gin market”
The ‘holy trinity’
Pothecary Trinity Blend was conceived by Martin Jennings as a counterpunch to what he described to me as the “alarming state of the gin market”. His bugbear? The stray from what he felt gin should be with a variety of products of different colours and flavours.
Jennings set out to create a new blend, one which was “the definition of gin” (i.e. takes its predominant flavour from juniper berries). He wanted it to be a classic gin but with a contemporary twist.
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With that in mind, along with juniper, he focused on two other classic groups of botanicals most commonly found in gin – citrus and spice.
Coriander was the obvious choice given its wide use (and the most common after juniper) in the category. But for citrus, Jennings was after something a little different to complete his stripped back, classic gin – bergamot.
Bergamot is an unusual citrus fruit and is thought to be a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. And as is Pothecary’s mantra, only certified organic fruits are used.
A blend of three botanicals
Pothecary Trinity Gin is a blended gin, meaning each botanical is individually distilled before blending the distillates together for the finished product.
The scale at which Pothecary distill is truly artisan with Jennings using three stills to make his distillates – two 60 litre copper alembic stills which are mostly used for juniper, and a 40 litre copper alembic still which he uses for his other botanicals. In Trinity’s case these are coriander and bergamot.
Before going anywhere near a still, each botanical is measured out and macerated (steeped) for several days in spring water and spirit. Depending on the botanical this is usually seven to nine days. This allows the essential oils and flavours to come out prior to distillation.
Once ready, the entire contents are added to the still and distillation starts. When complete, the juniper, coriander and bergamot distillates are blended together and cut back with spring water.
All Pothecary Gins are created using certified organic botanicals which takes some extra effort but it’s central to the ethos of Pothecary Gin.
Where possible, Jennings deals directly with the growers. Seasonal botanicals such as citrus are purchased once a year and the peels are frozen for freshness.
juniper, coriander and bergamot
How to serve Pothecary Trinity Gin
- Chill a glass in the fridge for a 15 minutes
- Add plenty of ice to the glass
- Add 50ml of Pothecary Trinity Gin
- Pour 150ml of quality Indian tonic water
- Garnish with a slice of bergamot (if available). Otherwise lemon or orange
- Stir gently and serve
To sip over ice, piney, herbaceous juniper laces the tongue. It’s oily and creamy; incredibly smooth.
You might think a gin with just three botanicals will be boring and one dimensional. Think again! Pothecary Trinity Gin is a gin that’s more complex than the simplicity of its botanicals suggests.
Sweet, grassy citrus envelopes the nose followed by piney juniper. It’s surprisingly fresh in scent, given its punchy 49% ABV.
To sip over ice, piney, herbaceous juniper laces the tongue. It’s oily and creamy; incredibly smooth. Zingy citrus and coriander join the party for an enduring finish, while the juniper is present throughout.
Despite its high ABV, it doesn’t overpower me. I’d have expected more of an ethanol hit on the nose and burn on the palate, but it just didn’t come.
With tonic, the journey is less intense. Juniper still reigns supreme but balanced perfectly with the citrus more prominent here.
The flavours don’t get lost in a G&T which you’d expect as a gin that edges towards the navy-strength end of the ABV scale (rumour has it there are plans afoot for Pothecary to release a Trinity one of those too!).
There’s quite a bit of louching with Trinity when mixed with ice and/or tonic, and you can see the oils separating in the glass. Some may care but I’d have a gin full of flavour which louches over the alternative every time. I also enjoy that oily mouthfeel.
Porhecarty Trinity is big and it’s bold, but at the same time beautifully balanced. It’s quite incredible there’s so much going on flavour-wise with just the three botanicals.
The full package
I like the Pothecary Gin bottles a lot. While they’re not as beautiful per se as some of the glass you now find in the category, the quaint simplistic bottles work really well with the brand.
Interestingly, the name “Pothecary” was chosen after the bottle was selected. Its old medicinal-style shape, coupled with the botanicals used in the original Pothecary Gin (all of which Jennings tells me have a history of medicinal use), gave rise to the brand name. (It should be noted that no medicinal claims are made by me or the brand).
Apothecaries were, throughout history, the pharmacists of the day. Pothecary is the lesser known version of the word, and was chosen for intellectual property reasons, with the former being commonly used by a huge number of other businesses.
There’s a clear attention to detail with Pothecary gin and this is highlighted by the fact the stopper for their bottles took three months to source, design and produce.
Each bottle is hand labelled by Jennings himself – an end-to-end artisanal process in every sense.
Pothecary Trinity is the perfect antidode for those who, like Jennings, have concerns about where the gin category is at.
A concept-gin with only three botanicals, you wouldn’t expect so much going on. As a huge music fan, Trinity is my “Wish You Were Here” of the gin category. On the cover, seemingly simple (the album has but four tracks), but when you dive in you quickly realise it’s multi-layered and full of character.
At upwards of £45 for a 500ml bottle, it’s at the upper end of the pricing scale. But you’d expect it to be a bit more expensive, given the certified organic botanicals used as well as the small scale at which Pothecary operate.
It’s also important to bear in mind that at such a high ABV, more than £7 of the retail price is spirit tax by my calculation – and that’s before you even get to VAT!
So if a quality, small-batch artisan organic gin is what you’re after, Pothecary Trinity might just be the one for you!