The Hortus gins being released tomorrow by Lidl add some exotic overseas touches to the range, as Peter Ranscombe finds out.
LIDL’S Hortus gin brand has won many fans over the years – including those who tried it at the German supermarket chain’s pop-up gin club in Edinburgh.
Now, its latest releases – which hit the shelves tomorrow – add some overseas glamour to the selection.
A trio of “world botanicals” gins has been added to the range as part of a “Hortus gin festival”, which also includes gin liqueurs and pre-mix gin and tonics in cans.
All three worked really well for me, especially at prices that are only just a smidge above the cost of a bottle of Gordon’s gin in most supermarkets.
First up, the Hortus Japanese Cherry Blossom Gin (£17.99), which is infused with cherry blossom and sancho peppers, delivers refreshing floral notes on the nose, with lemon and mint, but without masking the all-important juniper aromas.
It continues to hit that balance on the palate, with lemon and orange joining the floral and mint notes.
Adding tonic brings out more of the citrus flavours, and highlights a sweet pepper note on the finish.
Similarly, the lemon- and grapefruit-infused Hortus Mediterranean Citrus Gin (£17.99) also allows the juniper to peek through, while also delivering pine, smoked meat, wood smoke, and intense lemon on the nose.
On the palate, it’s full of classic black pepper, lemon, juniper, and pine.
Tonic brings out more of the grapefruit flavours, and also helps to balance the heat from the 40.2% alcohol-by-volume.
Finally, the Hortus American Orange Gin (£17.99) – infused with Florida oranges – delivers warm and bright aromas of mandarin, lemon, and juniper.
It’s more metallic on the palate, with a steelier, drier mouthfeel, which made it the closest of the three to the traditional London dry style for me.
Lemon and corriander still shine through, while the orange flavours stand up to the addition of tonic water too.
Hats off to Lidl for an impressive trio.
What’s most impressive though is that all three manage to deliver their individual flavours without masking the juniper – an absolute must if gin is to taste like gin, and not just a randomly-flavoured white spirit.
Read more of Peter’s gin, beer, and wine reviews on his blog, The Grape & The Grain