Monday, 27 February 2012

A conspiracy to make gin

A review of Darnley’s View Gin

Darnley’s View Gin is one that is about both collaboration and conspiracy. Named after the view from the window at Wemyss Castle from which Mary Queen of Scots first spied her future husband, this is a gin that is also the creation of Darnley’s descendants, the Wemyss family.
Darnley’s View Gin

Lord Darnley, the son of the 4th Earl of Lennox, led a colourful life. Proclaimed by Mary Queen of Scots as “King of the Scots” on the eve of their marriage, Darnley was a man whose title technically gave him no rights. His marriage soured very quickly due in part to his violence and drink problems, but when he began to suspect that Mary’s private secretary, David Rizzio, had got her pregnant, he and his supporters murdered him in 1566 in front of her in the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, “King of the Scots” (1545 – 1567)

In the ensuing period, following the birth of their son, the future James VI, the relationship between Darnley and his wife was said to be much calmer but on the 10th February 1567, his body was found with that of his servant at Kirk o’Field, Edinburgh. Conspiracy theories aplenty abound about the death and a particularly notable version was shown in the 1971 film Mary, Queen of Scots starring Vannessa Redgrave as the titular character and Timothy Dalton as Lord Darnley.
Working in association with gin maestros Geraldine Coates and Jason Scott, the Wemyss’ have a strong pedigree in the drinks industry through their involvement in Weymss Malts and Fonty’s Pool and Rimauresq wines. Distilled under contract at the Thames Distillers in Clapham, this London gin is described by the brand owners as being: “a symbol of our desire to combine the best English and Scottish distilling to create a unique gin.”
Darnley’s View Gin, unlike others containing between 10 and 19 botanicals, has just 6. They are juniper, an essential in any gin, and lemon peel, elderflower, coriander seed, angelica root and orris root. The dominant taste, for me, was the elderflower and I do believe this would make this 40% ABV gin especially appealing to a female demographic.

Though I only received a couple of small sample bottles, my friend and I managed to taste Darnley’s View Gin in a variety of manners. On it’s own, the gin had no smell, no kick and a somewhat flat taste but the elderflower in the spirit is brought alive especially with Fever Tree tonic water.

The bottle itself is simply and elegantly designed. It communicates luxury without excess and attention to detail is shown in the use of batch numbers. The name, though conveying heritage, just doesn’t trip off the tongue. I was taught the merits of simple names by the founder of SKYY Vodka, Maurice Kanbar, and I just can’t see people easily calling for a “Darnley’s View and tonic” at a bar. It just doesn’t sound right.

My overall view, however, is that Darnley’s View Gin is a most enjoyable product that reflects the newfound interest in the softer style of Scottish gins. For those who don’t like the traditionally drier London style of gin making, this is a perfect way to be introduced to the category and at around £23 a bottle, it is good value for money.

For more information on Darnley’s View Gin, go to:

Buy a 70cl bottle of Darnley’s View Gin through Master of Malt for £23.45 at:

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Michael said...

I prefer traditional gins like Beefeater and Plymouth. What do you think of them?

Becky Goldschmidt said...

Do you like Gordons?