Borrago, #47 Paloma Bend review
Price: £19.99 (500ml)
Stockists: Manufacturer’s own, Master of Malt, Wise Bartender
Recommended serve: 25ml Borrago poured over ice, with premium tonic garnished with orange and basil
Technically, one can’t say that this is an alt-gin as it isn’t blended with juniper berries, but what one can undeniably say is that it’s true to the label when it says that this is a “grown up non alcoholic spirit full of exquisite flavours”.
In polite company, we’re told, there are two things you should never discuss: politics or religion. I’d like to add a third topic of conversation that should never be uttered, lest you condemn your dinner party to an awkward silence – “what’s better, an iPhone or Android?”. A strange thing to mention in a drink review you’re surely thinking, and based on my previous comment I shall proceed with extreme caution, but I feel this is an alt-gin presented in such a way that Steve Jobs himself would have been proud.
The experience of pouring a Borrago imputes quality in the same way unboxing the latest iPhone does, or the way the experience of unpacking your newest bottle of aftershave or perfume feels innately special. A great solid, heavy bottle in a simple elegant rectangular shape with heavy weight paper and quality artwork, finished with a cork lid that literally ‘pops’ when opened.
It’s well worth stopping for a moment or two to savour the aroma the first time you rip the protective paper seal and remove the stopper. It has a much stronger and more distinct set of fragrances than its market competitors. Mixed with a premium tonic, you’ll note strong citrus flavours with a pepper finish. It’s a very long drink, you won’t feel like rushing it, and that’s a good thing for drinks in this category; it’s a drink that stands by itself rather than being a compliment to a meal.
There is no alcohol used at any point of the process, meaning it’s not de-alcoholised. In turn this has meant they’ve applied for Halal accreditation. A rather nice touch is that each bottle comes with a small bag of borage flower seeds. This is designed to not only aid the bee crisis that is currently happening, but it also provides the drinker with a pretty, edible flower which can be used to garnish the drink.
It’s a touch on the expensive side at £20 for a 500ml bottle, but then do remember that the recommended serve is 25ml as opposed to 50ml which is common for the genre. Once opened, consume within 12 weeks… as if it’s going to hang around for that long.
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