Wint and Lila London Dry Gin Review – An imaginative history

As Billy Idol would say – Nice Day for a White Wedding

If you like a good historical yarn, then today’s gin will be of interest. This is the Wint & Lila London Dry Gin, made by the “Famous East India Company Wint and Lila” to celebrate the marriage, on 25th April 1645, of Juan De Wint y Sweets and Margarita De Lila Blanco. These people, in their time, were A-list celebrities. Margarita was the daughter of  Carlos de Lila and Van Thune and her marriage to Juan cemented a link between two of the great merchant houses of Cadiz. That at least is the story that the Wint & Lila gin is selling you. The manufacturer claims to be the “Famous East India Company”, bu this is a slightly hollow claim to fame, after all the most famous “East India Company” would be the British East India Company (although the Dutch and Portuguese had their own), which was dissolved in 1858 or 1874.  That hasn’t stopped at least one other company trading under the East India Company name. Anyway, the idea is that you are supposed to associate the gin with the fruits and spices (and the drama) of the East Indies. More prosaically the gin is made for 10 botanicals, which these days appears to be the golden number. The website kindly lists these as juniper berry, coriander, angelica, angelica roots, cinnamon, orange peel, lemon and lime, mint and orange blossom. These are very classical botanicals with just a touch of the “scents of Andalusia”. In reality it’s aiming for the same palate as the excellent, and good value, REWE own-brand Diamond of Marrakesh Gin. The gin itself is distilled fives times by their distiller partner Casalbor Wines&Spirits in El Puerto de Santa María, with the stills being heated using a “Bain-Marie”, rather than direct heat. One final point to note is that this gin is aimed for the Spanish market, so expect a gin that works well in the hot evenings of a Spanish summer.

Day or Night Gin? This is a straight forward 40% ABV Gin, so given it’s citrus accents it could work as great at lunchtime as in the evening.

What does it smell of ? As the Bells of St. Clement’s will advise you “Oranges and Lemons”.

What does it taste of ? Taken straight it’s quite a pleasant spirit, the strong lemon taste predominates with just a hint of the herbal juniper and angelica coming later in the taste. As a gin & tonic it’s a little disappointing as the lemon tends to dominate over the other botanicals, especially if garnished with either lemon or lime. I can understand that it makes for a relaxing G&T in the Plaza Major, however the lack of other botanical tastes means it doesn’t have the bite I wold expect of a good gin.

Buy It ? As I mentioned this is a gin for the Spanish market, so finding it here in Germany is a challenge. Galeria Kaufhof has it available online for €39.99.

Overall ? 2 out of 5. This isn’t a bad gin and it’s certainly worth trying if you find it at a cosy bar whilst on holiday in Spain. The flip-side is that it’s nothing special (at least for myself). Given that it comes out at around €40 a bottle you are expecting something top drawer (think Monkey 47, Tanquerey 10 etc.) Bottom line: like a holiday in Malaga, try it once, then move on.

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