Corpen Gin

Corpen gin: refreshingly honest!

Corpen Gin – refreshingly honest. 
That’s the perfect way to describe this brand new gin from Barcelona’s newest gin brand.
This gin is refreshing in two senses. Not only does it taste refreshing, but the brand is driven by a philosophy that is also refreshing. In a world where everybody seems to want to be a gin maker, these guys are the real deal – small, artisan and passionate about their product. 
Too many other “craft gin” brands are happy to add gimmicky flavours (think bubble gum or cola cubes). Others spend their money on fancy bottles and still others create exotic back stories made up by an ad agency they barely know. At Corpen, they stick with the basics.  They just want to make really good tasting gin – and they have succeeded!

It’s the gin that matters here!

We went to visit Corpen for an interview recently at their new craft distillery in Barcelona’s bohemian Poblenou district. We chatted with co-founders Pablo Barrera and Brian Burgess and they revealed the philosophy behind the brand and the challenges of launching a new gin in the middle of a pandemic.
They made it clear that they want to concentrate on the gin (and not the marketing!). Handmade in small batches in Barcelona, Corpen Gin was tested on hundreds of gin drinkers before the team finally decided on their gorgeous recipe.  So, what does it taste like and does it really live up to all the “non” hype?

Getting it right takes time

The Corpen team are not afraid of experimenting.  In fact, they tried more than 40 different botanical combinations before they settled on their final flavours.  They validated those findings in personal workshops, taking on the feedback and adapting the recipe to get the combinations just right.  They then ramped up production to make sure that the balance and complexity remained true in larger production runs.

According to Brian: “Instead of the fruity/floral or citrus/spicy flavour combinations that dominate the market, we wanted to develop a gin which celebrates more rooty, earthy, herbal, dry flavours. But we were also careful not to stray too far into eccentric or extravagant combinations just for the sake of being different”. 

And Pablo added: “We chose these flavours to bring something a bit different to the market. But we also believe that gin should be good enough to be consumed in cocktails but also good enough to be sipped neat. Corpen Llevant is full of complex and complementary flavours. It’s been made to be enjoyed in the right atmosphere”.

The verdict: elegant, sophisticated, complex

This sophisticated gin is subtle and complex.  First of all, the bottle is simple and elegant featuring a Corpen flag. This is a nod to Brian’s career in the US Navy and is a signal command for a change of direction. It is the perfect symbol for this gin. At 45% ABV, there’s plenty of strength here. There’s a strong blast of juniper on the nose, which keeps it true to its London Dry roots.  But linger a little longer and you’ll begin to notice complex notes of toasted coriander and fresh orange peel to get your taste buds tingling. Take a sip and those notes are joined by their playmates eucalyptus, black pepper, orris root and angelica root which dance a refreshing jig on your tongue.  The finish is smooth and lively. All in all, this is a really well balanced gin and a pleasure to drink.

A classic G&T – with an orange twist

We tried ours in a classic G&T but Corpen Llevant is definitely good enough to drink neat. Paired with a decent tonic water, you’ll taste a fantastic blend of refreshing citrus, with a warm blast of spice to add to its complexity. Plus, there’s a lush herbaceous flavour that comes through to keep your senses tingling until the last drop is finished. This gin is so good that it will stand on its own in a classic dry Martini.  The Corpen guys go with a drop of Dolin Dry vermouth in theirs. But you can find the one that works best for you.  Remember, the gin is the real star here.

Corpen Gin the perfect pour:  Corpen Llevant is definitely good enough to be drunk neat. But we think it is a perfect gin for a classic G&T.  We poured a large shot of Corpen Llevant gin into a copa glass. We added a few large, round ice cubes and gave the glass a little swirl. Then we wiped the rim with a wedge of orange, which we squeezed over the ice.  Next, we poured a freshly opened bottle of Franklin and Sons delicious, Natural Indian Tonic water, which had just the right balance of flavour and fizz.  No added sugar here, so it complements the gin rather than detracts from it.  We finished it all off with a simple twist of orange peel which we dropped in to the glass.

Wow! It was a gorgeous G&T – simple, elegant and refreshing.

Bespoke gin, distillery tours and more…

For more information about Corpen gin, check out their website on Corpen Barcelona. Not only do these guys make a delicious gin, but they host small tastings, distillery tours and offer bespoke gin making for corporates, special events and anybody who is looking to make something unique and special.
If you’re ever in Barcelona, check them out. You won’t regret it!


Tarquin’s Dry (England): a Cornish gin, handmade by Tarquin

As far as we know, Tarquin’s Cornish Dry Gin (paid link) was the first gin to be distilled in Cornwall for over 100 years. And we think it’s a real beauty. Tarquin himself builds his light, floral Cornish gin around the typical characteristics of a London Dry gin.  But he has added 12 carefully chosen botanicals to make this a delicious and unusual gin that really stands out from the crowd.
All of this love, effort and attention to detail makes it a very easy to drink gin – so you’d better watch out!
He bases his botanicals on Kosovan juniper and includes Devon violets, citrus zest and Bulgarian coriander to mellow the taste. And then for good measure, he throws in some orange, lemon and grapefruit zest to add a little citrus zing.  He rounds this all off with angelica root, almonds, orris root, licorice root and cinnamon.
The result – a really smooth and interesting drink.

Handcrafted on the wild Cornish coast

This fabulous gin is truly unique. He crafts each batch by hand, high up on the wild Cornish coast in a little distillery nestled on top of a windswept cliff and he passionately believes in the human touch.  He even picks the violets from his own garden. Tarquin then blends each batch of spirit with Cornish spring water (of course!) before bottling it at 42% in his own unique and beautiful bottles . Tarquin only makes this gin in small batches of 300 and he has built his reputation by doing things the old fashioned way.  It’s now a thriving, family run business with a proud tradition and the results clearly pay off.

Meet the ladies…

Plus, he likes nothing more than getting to know his customers. So, if you ever find yourself down Cornwall way, you might want to pay his little hilltop distillery a visit. He’ll offer you a distillery tour, before introducing you to his four beautiful ladies:Tamara, Senara, Ferrara and Tressa. These are the names he’s given his four copper stills. The tours include a Tarquin’s G&T, a talk on the history of Tarquin’s, a Botanical masterclass, a guided tour and a complimentary tasting of his 4 core gins.

Tarquin’s Gin School

So, if you’re in the beautiful Cornish town of Padstow, why not pop in to Tarquin’s Gin School and Shop? It’s only a 10 minute drive from the distillery itself and you can browse and buy the full range of Tarquin’s products. You can even enjoy a Gin Masterclass and even make your own gin.
We think this is a delightful, well balanced gin, presented in a beautiful bottle, built on a pure vision of what craft gin is all about. It’s well worth a try.
What’s not to like!

Perfect serve:  Tarquin serves his delicious gin in a beautiful blue bottle topped with a gorgeous wax seal. We suggest that you pour a large shot of Tarquin’s into a large copa glass. Pair it with a Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic, loads of ice and a slice or wedge of fresh grapefruit. Ooo,err! 

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

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