Johnny Neill is bringing new flavors to the world of gin.
No one was really surprised when Johnny Neill entered the gin business. His family has been distilling the spirit for more than 250 years, after all. The surprise is that the 8th generation gin distiller isn’t resting on his family’s laurels. Instead, he’s experimenting with new and globally sourced botanicals to create some of the most adventurous new gins to hit the shelves in years.
“I was driven to create a blend of gin that captured my family’s passion and something altogether more exotic, enigmatic and mysterious,” says Neill. That mission statement led to the original Whitley Neill, the only gin you should use in an Espresso Martini.
The handcrafted dry gin blends classic British botanicals with unexpected botanicals from Africa, such as baobab and cape gooseberries. “These bittersweet berries add a whole new dimension to the aroma,” Neill explains.
Whitley Neill original is the gin to use in your next Espresso Martini.
While baobab and cape gooseberries aren’t typically used in British gin, the original Whitley Neill still belongs in that category of gin. Because the unfamiliar flavors are complemented by juniper, coriander, angelica root and other familiar botanicals that perceptive drinkers will instantly recognize.
Like a classically trained musician, Neill draws from a solid foundation of knowledge and technique when exploring new styles of gin. His education started early, when he discovered a collection of bottles sitting under the stairs at his grandmother’s house.
“My fascination with gin and its complex distillation process had begun,” says Neill. “Under my grandmother’s expert guidance, I learned how infusing the crisp sharpness of juniper berries with a variety of other flavors and aromas can dramatically change the taste of the gin. For me that was the attraction. I was like an alchemist from that moment.”
Original Whitley Neill was a sign of things to come. Three expressions soon followed, which show Whitley Neill continuing to experiment with globally sourced botanicals, pushing the gin category into exciting new territory.
Whitley Neill Quince gin has its roots in Turkey as much as Great Britain. Pear is probably the closest comparison to Turkish quince, but the fruit has a sweet tang that’s all its own. Neill found that the flavor blended beautifully with a mix of Persian herbs and spices, resulting in a distinctly alluring spirit.
Sicilian blood oranges are another ingredient that Neill wanted to showcase. He paired that zesty, vibrant flavor with licorice, lemon and more to develop the smooth, citrus-y Whitley Neill Blood Orange gin. Try this expression as the base of a Paloma and you may not go back to using tequila any time soon.
Try adding Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger gin to hot chocolate.
The third of these expressions from Whitley Neill might, at first glance, seem like the most traditional of the bunch. Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger gin has a profile that’s reminiscent of an English garden—familiar territory for traditional gins. But the mix of warm, earthy rhubarb and bright, refreshing ginger gives the gin a tart edge that works as well in a spritz as it does in boozy hot chocolate.
There’s some overlap in the flavor profile of these Whitley Neill expressions, but they’re united by the adventurous attitude that inspired their creation. It’s impossible to guess what flavors Johnny Neill might bring to British gin next. Hopefully gin lovers won’t have to wait long to find out.