Salcombe Gin’s award-winning Voyager Series recently released its latest edition, called ‘Island Queen’, on 28 March 2019. This limited-edition gin is a collaboration with chef Monica Galetti, and follows successful similar partnerships with Michael Caines MBE and Mark Hix MBE, and port maker Dirk Nieport.
Words: Mark De Wesselow
The ‘Island Queen’ is named after a Salcombe Fruit Schooner, built in 1853 to ferry fresh tropical fruits and botanicals from the Caribbean. At the launch, Monica Galetti said “I’ve been a fan of their signature gin for a while and loved the quality so much I serve it at the bar of my restaurant Mere. When Salcombe Gin approached me, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to create a gin that reflected my culinary style and heritage in the Pacific Islands.”
‘Island Queen’ is certainly tropical – think hints of pineapple, mango and Manuka smoke on the nose – but this exoticism is balanced with a classic London Dry Gin juniper berry structure, which means it doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming overly sweet. On the palate, it’s got limey zestiness, a touch of pineapple and fruity peppercorn spice but there’s also green cardamom and angelica which give the drink a balancing earthiness. It all adds up to a drink packed with aromatic freshness alongside a soft rich mouthfeel, while a hint of anise on the finish encourages you to come back for another sip.
Founder Angus Lugsdin explains about how the key differentiating ingredient was used: “The fresh pineapples were at first slow roasted and smoked over manuka wood in a traditional Kamado oven, before steeping the flesh in English wheat spirit for 72 hours. The cooking process helped break down the cell walls in the pineapple allowing the flavour compounds to be more readily released into the alcohol without any overblown harsher elements.
“By steeping the pineapples in the base spirit” he continues, “we have captured the freshness of the fruit along with the sweet smokiness from the manuka wood. Mango and fresh lime peel add further tropical notes along with a green freshness.
Limited to 2,500 bottles, ‘Island Queen’ is presented in a notable, white ceramic bottle made in the UK featuring an embossed outline of the iconic gin pennant and a bespoke debossed copper stopper commissioned for this series.
“Salcombe Gin Voyager Series ‘Island Queen’: a collaboration with Monica Galetti” is priced at £65 per 50cl bottle. Available online at salcombegin.com, from the Salcombe Gin Distillery and Victuallers, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and at selected independent retailers from 28 March 2019. Galletti will also be serving ‘Island Queen’ at her restaurant, Mere, Fitzrovia, London.