I have always had a thing for Iceland and no before anyone cracks a dad joke not the frozen food chain. In December 2014 I finally went and feel even more in love with the country. It really is a stunning place, the landscape feels like another world, people seem generally concerned about each other and randomly home to some of the greatest population statistics I’ve ever heard; in Iceland the most popular Christmas present is a book, it’s a thing, people give books are presents, culminating in the country having one of the best literacy scores anywhere on the planet. There are no McDonalds or Burger King, when the financial crisis hit, all the fast food chains up sticks and left they weren’t missed. It is also home to huge glaciers with millions of gallons of purified water (which is important to this tale).
The gin Martin Miller’s (yes it is Miller’s and not one of those occasions like with the lager Miller, people add the letter S on the end) was devised by Martin Miller and friend David Bromige over a “long lunch”. Miller describes that this was an idea to be added to a host of ideas he wanted to do but had no knowledge how to do them. The result of this lunch though is incredible.
The spirit is made in Langley’s Distiller, the Black Country, England. Where it is distilled in two parts. The “earthy” botanicals such as the Juniper, Cassia, Florentine, Orris and Angelica, are distilled by themselves, then the citric botanicals are distilled separately, essentially making citrus vodka and a really strong gin. These two distillates are mixed together before taking an exceptionally long journey towards the Arctic Circle.
The gin is taken on a 3,000 mile round trip to Iceland to be blended with that Icelandic water which has been purified through glaciers, this gives the water more oxygen than normal, adds minerals, leaves the water pure from contaminants and causes the water to have a higher surface tension.
When I was reading up on this process some time ago I thought it was mad but really, it’s a reflection of the man. Martin Miller seems a bit eccentric and to quote him himself “time and money were no object”. I was also reading (Thanks to our friends at Gin Foundry) that it is not possible to ship the water to the UK and blend the gin here as import laws would require it to be demineralized (which would defeat the purpose of going to Iceland in the first place).
The gin itself contains 10 botanicals; juniper, coriander, angelica root, orange peel, orris root, cassia and cinnamon bark, ground nutmeg, liquorice and a further secret ingredient which most believe to be cucumber (we can ask the rep from Martin Miller’s this on Friday).
To me Martin Miller’s is stunning, Kate always moans and claims I always go for things that are citrus flavored, I see gin though as fresh and crisp and Martin Miller’s delivers this. The first hit is the citric notes then juniper kicking in just after. Find Mr. Miller and buy one of his amazing bottles.