Kew Organic Explorers' Strength Gin
57.3% ABV. 700ml. Kew Explorers' Strength is Dodd's navy strength tribute to the Victorian-era botanists of the Royal Botanic Gardens - those who scoured the globe alongside the British Navy to bring back rare and unusual botanicals as early as 1795. Unlike the classic release, Explorers' takes us on a more full-bodied, robust spice trail featuring cinnamon, nutmeg, cubeb berry, passion flower and Sichuan pepper. The gin is distilled in Dodd's 140-litre copper alembic, 'Christina', with the traditional juniper and coriander seed pairing being matched with another 13 organic botanicals, split between spice and citrus (bergamot, orange, grapefruit and lemon peel). The distillation, too, differs from the original. Unlike the Kew Organic, a marriage of four separate distillations, Explorers' Strength is distilled in the classic single shot fashion. Bottled at 57.3%, there's clearly a more creamy intensity to this cask strength release, and with it comes more texture and exotic spice character. Explorers' starts with notes of mellow pine muddled with sweet herbs and citrus rind, opening up to earthy tones and subtle winter spice, with bergamot giving the impression of sweetness before rounding out with more orange flavours, savoury herbs and a hit of numbing Sichuan pepper. Alongside its depth, there's superb balance here - not an easy thing to pull off in a cask strength release. It makes a brilliant G&T, but, failing that, it's one of those gins that seems to cope with everything you can throw at it.