Entropia Gin is back in my life. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Looking back, it was probably always inevitable that I would fall in love with gin and tonic. I was born in post-colonial Malaysia, where G&Ts were sipped on whitewashed verandahs by men in Panama hats and linen suits. Later on, as a child in Calcutta, I have vivid memories of my Dad downing a few well-made G&Ts at the legendary 220 year old Tollygunge Club – a throwback to the days of the Raj and a place that was just wreaking of atmosphere.
A fall from grace
Later in life, I discovered that back home, the traditional English G&T had fallen so far from grace that it had been relegated to the ranks of old ladies. In America, however, it had been elevated to include upscale brands such as Tanqueray, that were barely known in the land of Gordons. Gin in the States was poured in large measures, into large glasses and served with lots of ice.
But it wasn’t until I moved to Barcelona that I finally got it. In those in between years, the humble G&T had been completely reinvented. The industry was starting to spawn a legion of new, artisan craft gin distilleries. These new gin makers were not afraid to challenge preconceptions and to apply creativity and natural ingredients to their gins. It was here that the love affair really began.
Rediscovering an old friend
Today, I stumbled across one of the first gins that I bought after moving to Barcelona, Entropia Gin. It caught my attention all those years ago because of its distinctive bottle and it’s hero ingredients – guarana and ginseng. Up until then, this gin was about as far removed from a traditional Gordons and tonic as I could imagine. I was intrigued. These two unusual ingredients were most commonly seen marked up on the outside of a can of Red Bull, so I was curious to find out more. Where was it made? What did it taste like? What on earth did guarana and ginseng bring to the party? And here’s what I found out…
A wild gin from rugged Galicia
Entropia Gin is made with a wheat grain base in the wild region of Galicia in Northern Spain. It’s triple distilled in small batches using artisan techniques in Allariz, Ourense. This is where the unique botanicals and spices are sourced and distilled to create this complex and unusual Spanish gin. And then, at the end of the process, it is triple filtered to protect the pure essence of the gins complex aromas and clear golden colour.
Tall, round and handsome
The first thing you notice is the bottle. Tall, with a short neck and a round black top, this bottle stands out from the crowd. And the second thing you notice is the pale golden colour of the gin within. This is not due to subtle infusion of saffron or years of ageing within an oak soaked whiskey barrel. Instead, this is a result of the post-distilling infusion of the guarana and ginseng that give this gin its distinctive flavour.
Standing out from the crowd
So, what is it about these two ingredients that separates Entropia Gin from other gins? Well, let’s start with the guarana. I first discovered guarana in its soft drink form while travelling through Bolivia many years ago. It was a sweet, golden carbonated drink with plenty of sugar and a unique flavour profile that was hard to define, but delicious. It kept me going when my energy and enthusiasm dipped. I’ve been a fan ever since.
Some people describe guarana as Brazilian caffeine, due to its energy giving properties and it kept me going on many a long, bumpy bus ride as we crossed Bolivia’s Altiplano. It definitely helped to give me energy when I hit a dip. And it’s been associated with other health giving benefits ranging from an appetite suppressant to a diet cure and from sharpening up your mind to improving your staying power between the sheets.
And then there’s the ginseng. It shares some of the same properties including (apparently) improving your sex drive, sharpening your mental awareness and even boosting your immune system. So, imagine what might happen if both of those ingredients were added to gin? I knew there was only one way to find out for sure.
So, what did this little beauty actually taste like and did it really have the magic qualities claimed?
On the nose…
I thought I’d start off our acquaintance with a classic taste test – a standard G&T, garnished with a twist of lemon zest. But first, what’s it like on the nose? There’s an earthy, woody aroma that keeps this gin on the spicy side. But there’s also a lot of sweetness, possibly from the ginseng and guarana. There’s also a distinctive, fiery alcohol taste which is offset by a complex aroma of tobacco. And somewhere in there is a little citrus and cinnamon to keep you on your toes.
In the mouth…
But the proof of the pudding is in the drinking, so what’s it like? Well the first thing you notice as you take that first sip is that this is a complex gin. That woody spiciness carries on into the palate where it mixes seamlessly with the sweetness of bergamot and cinnamon and the warm heat of ginger and nutmeg. If you look hard enough, you might even notice a spicy chai taste that you might recognise.
And then, on the finish, there’s a smooth warmth with floral notes of hibiscus and the warm spices of nutmeg and cinnamon combining well with the softer, creamier flavour of vanilla. In fact, this is packed full of seasonal flavours and is not a bad gin to drink at Christmas. All in all, this is a great gin, well worth trying. At 40% ABV and less than 20 euros a bottle, it’s not expensive and it stands out on your shelf with its striking bottle and golden colour. It could be the perfect stocking stuffer for the festivities ahead.
Entropia Gin. The perfect serve:
Leave your expectations at the door…
But if you leave your traditional expectations at the door, you might be pleasantly surprised. That spicy taste takes over from the traditional juniper and once you get our head around that, it all begins to make sense. The premium tonic releases the flavours within and brings out the juniper. And the finish is complex and long and leaves you tasting the citrus notes before being rounded off with a smooth vanilla and cinnamon taste that will linger long after your final sip.