Warner Edwards Melissa Gin

I got this for my birthday a few months ago and it’s almost gone. A few months may seem like a reasonable amount of time in which to get through a bottle of gin but I have a lot of gins in my cupboard to choose from, and this has been rationed as a special gin, yet still it’s almost empty and I am sad.

The Botanical Garden limited edition range from Warner Edwards was inspired by Tom Warner’s mother’s herb garden which they have now expanded and converted into the distillery’s own Botanical Garden, using the plants foraged there to create these unusual gins. Melissa Gin is the first in the Botanical Garden range from Warner Edwards, from 2016.

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Details: Melissa (latin name for lemon balm) Gin is a limited edition, although it is still available to buy. Each bottle comes with a pack of lemon balm seeds so you can start your own botanical garden and grow the recommended garnish for this gin. Bottled at 43% vol.

Bottle: The glass is certainly greener over here (sorry), and decorated in gold with the signature script and etchings of the Warner Edwards range. It has a rubber stopper cap, hand-sealed with green wax. Definitely stands out on a shelf.

Serve: Premium tonic, and while you’re waiting for your lemon balm to grow try garnishing with a wedge of lemon and some fresh mint leaves.

Nose: Sweet and warming, with a citrus twang.

Tasting notes: This gin has a very intense and un-ginlike flavour, for which I’m struggling to  find the words to describe. The juniper is masked under the botanicals, the mintiness from the lemon balm is evident but to my mind it brings a warming note to the gin, rather than the coolness you might expect from mint. The sweetness is evident straight away, finishing on a citrus note. I wouldn’t use this gin in a cocktail as the flavour would likely overpower other ingredients but I would definitely recommend it in a gin and tonic.

Drink, buy or bin? Try it! DO IT. On one hand this might be one of my favourite gins, but on the other hand because the flavour is so far from traditional I feel it should maybe be in its own category of drink. While my gin cupboard is groaning under the weight of bottles I think I’d try the newly released 2017 Botanical Garden limited edition, Honeybee Gin, before buying Melissa Gin again…. Or both. Maybe I’ll buy both. And a second drinks cupboard.

Warner Edwards Melissa Gin can be found online on their own website or at Masters of Malt for around £36 for 70cl.

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