England is proud of the time when they ruled almost the whole world and it is still visible today. Gin producers in different countries pride themselves on using herbs collected from their own country or the surrounding area. Many English producers, including Opihr in London, again emphasize all the countries where the exotic spices have been grown and shipped to the UK. Like Indian ginger, Moroccan coriander, Turkish cumin or exotic peppers imported from Malaysia. Opihr Oriental Gin is made from 11 spices and herbs collected along the ancient spice route, a shipping route along which spices were shipped from Asia, North Africa and Southern Europe to the Central European markets. Opihr is made by G&J Greenall Distillery, which is said to be the oldest distillery in England, dating back to 1761. However, Opihr Gin is a very young product, released in 2013. The same plant also produces gins sold under at least Thomas Dak, Bloom and Greenall’s. A 70 cl bottle of Opihr was discounted to 20€.
The aroma is very spicy and rich, at least coriander and cumin immediately rush out, with juniper hiding in the background. The taste is also spicy, but not as rich as might expect from the smell. There are plenty of exotic spices in the taste that are rarely encountered in other gins on this scale. Ginger, coriander, cumin are well featured, with a black pepper and cardamom. Oriental spices are thus strongly on display. The taste also has just the right sweetness that can easily be sipped neat. Bottom alcohol made from grain is also well made. Despite its strength of 43.3%, the alcohol burn remains very low. When mixed with soda water, the spectrum of tastes shrinks, with coriander taking a clear lead, allowing only the nuances of cardamom and cumin to pass through. The spices familiar from Indian curry remain for a long time on the tongue.
For lovers of light and traditionally flavored London Dry gins, Opihr may be quite a shock in the beginning. Compared to the same factory-made and about half cheaper Greenall’s, the difference is huge. Also great is that it is London Dry gin, meaning that no spices or flavors have been added after distillation. Opihr is a powerful and challenging gin and I’ve heard some people have left it on the shelf to collect dust after a couple of drinks. Personally, I greatly enjoy Opihr’s strong, spicy and original taste, even though I am not a big friend of exotic spices. It is best sipped neat, when all the nuances of different spices and herbs come out well and in a balanced way. It’s also good for Martini, but mixed with soda or tonic water, I didn’t enjoy it so much, due to the dominant and one-sided coriander aroma. The traditional gin spice juniper berry also stays completely hidden. Opihr is good and high quality gin, especially suitable for lovers of oriental and exotic spices. Others may want to test it for one drink at a restaurant before buying the bottle.