I do love a bit of Norse mythology, always considering them to be one of the most interesting pantheons, so Raven Gin tickled that interest before I’d even started. In Norse myth, Huginn and Muninn are a pair of ravens that fly all over Midgard, scouting for Odin, the All-Father. Roughly translated from Old Norse, Huginn means “thought” and Muninn means “memory”, and some say they served as such for Odin, being projections of his power, or his…spirit (hah!).
Raven Spirits is a new company, founded by two brothers in Royal Deeside, Aberdeen. For their first release, they’ve done two gins, a limited founders edition, and their signature gin, “Thought & Memory”, named after Huginn and Muninn. To Quote, “Raven Gin takes inspiration from Huginn and Munnin. A premium gin, it brings together a thoughtful mix of soft spice and delicate mandarin to reveal a long, warm and memorable finish.”
First up, the bottle. A fairly standard glass bottle, but for me, it’s the label that really stands out. The two ravens stand either side of the label, around a bronze embossed centre, over a rather Celtic style background. It probably comes back to the love of the Norse Myth, but I really like the focus on the birds and what comes together as a fairly simple, but well composed and quite striking design.
Onto the contents. Thought & Memory is a “Premium Dry” gin and has the slightly unusual botanical of Mandarin to provide some of the citrus. I don’t think I’d have been quite able to identify exactly what it was, beyond something orangey, but once you know it’s there, you can really smell it. The Juniper on the nose sits back a little bit and lets the mandarin come to the fore with some spice underpinning it.
Tasting neat, it flips around a bit from the nose and you get more of the juniper at the fore with the mandarin following in after, and then as you’d expect, the cassia and other spices rolling in for the finish. Interestingly, the addition of a splash of light tonic didn’t make a huge difference for me on this one, a great G&T, but the same flavours came through in a similar fashion, maybe with a bit more emphasis on the citrus. A nice little slice of lemon peel added in just pushes the citrus even further forward. What I did find though was that after the spice had passed, I was left with just a lingering impression of that mandarin making for a pleasant and quite fresh finish. Bonus marks for the fact I gave my other half a taste while I was writing this and the only response I got was, “Yes please”, which is apparently my cue to go downstairs and get another glass and some more ice.
Good stuff. The addition of the mandarin is something different and gives it a twist without taking it too far from the spirit of a London Dry style gin. Looking forward to seeing what else the guys come out with and whether it continues to appease my little nerdy joy over Norse myth. I tried to translate the runes on the little bottleneck tag at the top of the page, but they confirmed it’s a fairly incomprehensible alphabet called Elder Futhark and… well… it’s just decorative in this instance. At least I don’t feel bad that I couldn’t translate it! If you’re interested, you can pick it up directly from their Web Site.
As a quick extra note, Thought and Memory also just picked up a gold award at The Gin Masters 2018 – not bad for your first month or so out there!