In the late nineteenth century, Mombasa Club Gin was produced, distilled and bottled in London and exported exclusively to the British protectorate of Zanzibar, now Kenya, for the consumption and enjoyment of official titles and English workers in the British East Africa Protectorate. Mombasa Club Gin is made today using the finest select herbs and aromatic plants to faithfully reproduce the authentic flavor of its original recipe.
I mention this because my blog post today is about the Mombasa Club Gin, a rather odd beast, and, as you may have guessed the opening paragraph was taken from the back of a bottle of Mombasa Club. It’s also been written by someone who has a very uneasy relationship with full stops. As an aside I should mention the Mombasa Club still exists and looks a rather jolly place.
Tracking down info on the gin can be difficult, mainly because this gin is aimed for the Spanish-speaking market. Indeed the official website hides itself by dropping the Club name, like an embarrassed teenager dropping their middle name.
So what else can we learn from the bottle and google. Firstly the gin is made by Thames Distillers in Clapham London. It’s a London Dry Gin i.e. it’s made by re-distillation of the ethanol in still with the botanicals (the plant flavours) and it’s Dry because it has no added sugar. Looking at the Gin Guild site we learn the Thames Distillers creates and distils gin for other people to sell. The most exciting thing I can say is that the gin is produced in Clapham, south London, not far from where I used to live. Now that can’t be bad. Before I dive into the review I must mention one thing. Have a look at the bottle in the picture below:
WHY ? Why did someone go all Jack Sparrow “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” with the bottle design? There’s no need for the handle. There are many marvellous gin bottle designs out there, think Hendricks, or my personal favourite, Tanqueray No Ten, and Mombasa Club is just too embarrassing for words.
OK, I think it’s time to get on with the review.
Day or Night Gin ? At 41.5% this is clearly an afternoon drink, far too mild-mannered for a late-night party.
What does it smell of ? Naturally juniper (almost pine), plus something a little floral, with a dash of Cucumber, also a slightly musty earthy hint.
What does it taste of ? Again slightly floral, slightly spicy (probably cardamoms and nutmeg) with a short peppery finish. It can make a nice G&T but be careful which tonic water you use. I would suggest something complementary like the classic Fevertree Tonic. I’ve tried Mombasa Club with a Finley Tonic Water (a Coca-Cola company product) and I felt like the gin had been murdered. Please good people, don’t let another murder happen on your watch !
Buy It? It’s going to be a little difficult to track it down. I got hold of my bottle from my local Duty-Free retailer for around €25. Inevitably you can buy it from an online retailer. Worst-case scenario you can take a holiday in Spain – It seems to be available in the trusty “El Corte Inglés”.
Overall 3/5 Safe enough to take home and introduce to your parents, but a bit of a wallflower.
Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below.