Hailing from the small Island of Colonsay off the west coast of Scotland, Wild Island Gin is one of two types produced on the island. Pretty impressive for an island with a population of 124! The original Wild Island Gin was launched in December 2016 and this month’s Gin of the Month - Wild Island's Sacred Tree - followed in its footsteps a year later.
The Sacred Tree Gin is produced using hand foraged botanicals from the Island. The botanicals include Brambles, Redcurrants, Rosehip, Crab Apples, Elderberries and Rowan Berries. Overall, there are 22 botanicals listed, which make the flavours quite complex and deep. It's fruitiness is made quite apparent in the initial smelling of the gin.
Before I continue, a special mention must be made to the beautiful bottle; its simplicity combined with a few splashes of colour make it a great addition to any gin bar or shelf - anywhere on display, really. Top tip from us: once you've finished, try decorate the bottle with some fairy lights inside - I promise you it will look awesome!
The gin itself is 43.4% ABV - which is the average Fahrenheit temperature of Colonsay in the winter months. We liked this fact and it’s a great wee nugget of knowledge to share with friends to make you sound like you really know your gin! First off, we tried it neat, without a garnish and we felt it was rather strong and overpowering. However, try it neat with a slice of red apple and a frozen blackberry and you really start to open up the flavours with a little added sweetness to compliment the tart fruity flavours of the gin. It certainly goes to show how important garnishes really are!
In terms of the ‘Perfect Serve’, we think this gin is very versatile. It would work great in simple G&Ts but also be a fantastic base for cocktails. We tried just a light tonic with it: this complimented the subtle flavours of the gin and it wasn’t too overpowering. Remember: with any mixers, add to your own taste - just because you have a whole bottle of tonic doesn’t mean you need to use it all. There are so many different gins out there with different, delicate and intricate flavours, too much or indeed, the wrong tonic, can drown out the gin... and we wouldn't want that.
We also tried Elderflower tonic which gave the gin a smooth and refreshing taste. We can imagine - as we sit here in the strange period between Christmas and New Year in Edinburgh - this would be nice in a long glass with lots of ice in the summer... oh, if only! This sweeter tonic compliments the flavours of Sacred Tree perfectly. If you fancy an even sweeter drink, why not try it with a splash of apple juice? The beauty of the gin is it is so versatile that you can test out a whole host of mixers and garnishes to suit your own, individual tastes. There are similarities in the botanicals between Sacred Tree and the crab apple and rowan berries in Caorunn and the blackberries in Brockmans, so, if you like them then we suggest you try out this one!
Overall the Sacred Tree took a few tastes to really appreciate as we were maybe used to more citrus based gins. The complexity means for some it may take a few variations and trials with different mixers to know what really suits your taste. We recommend that if you are having an evening of Gin tasting, go with Sacred Tree first to fully appreciate the flavours.