NCN’EAN Botanical Spirit Review

Scotland’s Ncn’ean Whisky Company has launched a new single malt called Botanical Spirit which combines flavors typically found in whisky and gin. I was recently sent a bottle and was quite intrigued by the Botanical Spirit which is distilled twice at Ncn’ean’s whisky distillery, then once more at west coast gin distillery, Beinn an Tuirc. Here is where 10 botanicals are added, including coriander, juniper, sorrel, fresh heather grapefruit and wild bog myrtle. There is only a limited run of 5,000 bottles and I’ve been told the hybrid spirit is gaining momentum in some of London’s best bars and is set to be a huge hit with whisky, gin and botanical lovers.

Annabel Thomas, founder of Ncn’ean, said: “Whilst laying down whisky in our warehouses, a lot of people commented that our new make spirit was so good we should bottle it. Credit for this must go in part to Dr Jim Swan, one of the legends of our industry, who helped shape our recipe and whole approach to whisky making. And it was this, combined with the wild herbs and flowers we find all around the distillery, that inspired us to create this spirit.”

Jamie Jones, World Class GB winner in 2017 and Director of Drinks for Scotch+Limon said, “The range of flavours in the botanical spirit and its versatility makes a fantastic base for cocktails. It makes a cracking martini, and the unusual combination of flavours is great inspiration for new creations.”

Upon receiving the bottle, the team and I were impressed by the look and the story behind it. Upon smelling it however, it held more of a moonshine smell that I wasn’t a fan of. My friend said it didn’t phase her though. We both tried the spirit straight and while she was like that’s nice ‘it has a taste that reminds me of peppermint’, I struggled with it. It wasn’t overpowering or strong, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

The signature serve is 50 ml Ncn’ean Botanical Spirit, Tonic water, A dash of Angostura bitters and Garnished with a slice of grapefruit and plenty of ice. My friend was able to drink this with no problems and indicated it would be a drink she’d drink again, but yet again I had to add more grapefruit and bitters to it, to be able to drink it.

So overall a really mixed response about Ncn’ean Botanical Spirit. It is getting a lot of positive reviews from whisky lovers so this may have been my problem. I’m all about the gin and maybe my palette isn’t as sophisticated. I am however, looking forward to giving it another try when I sample some of the other cocktail recipes on the website. Plus it’s a great addition to my liquor cabinet so I can give my guests a unique spirit.

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Written by Tegan LeBon