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Gin Reviews

Never Never Triple Juniper Gin, 43% ABV

 

The past few years, the juniper junkies among gin lovers may have been feeling a tad bit excluded. 

Traditionally, the use of juniper as a central botanical in the distillation of a spirit has been the mark of what makes a gin. In fact, according to US law, to be legally defined as gin, the spirit “must derive its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries”. In more recent times however, the industry is seeing a growing trend of more contemporary gins that playfully work around those rules. These gin brands do still distill juniper berries as one of the botanicals in their spirit, however, they place a greater focus on the other botanicals in the spirit and dial back the piney, earthy flavor influence of the juniper berries.

With thousands of gin distilleries currently operating globally and juniper being a constant across all, it makes sense that many contemporary gin distilleries have sought to differentiate themselves via the other unique botanicals they have curated. Another positive of juniper’s move to the backseat among these new style distilleries is that it’s helped to usher in a new wave for gin consumption, attracting new consumers that were previously turned off by woody piney notes of juniper. Its also allowed producers a chance to showcase the locality of their natively harvested botanicals, a freedom that many Asian gin distilleries have wholly embraced.

At the same time however, this trend towards gins towards a gentler juniper character has also left OG juniper afficionados feeling a pang of nostalgia. If the bright earthiness of juniper was what first drew a gin fan to gin, it would seem a shame to see that quality dialed down in newer gin expressions.


It should then come as a relief and surprise for the juniper-loving gin drinkers out there to know of Never Never Distilling Co.

Never Never is an Australia gin distillery located in Adelaide, which places a focus on making juniper-forward gins, with the founders confessing their love for original classic style of juniper-heavy gin. “We built a gin brand around the one ingredient producers are using less and less of these days – juniper, not because it’s different, because it’s familiar,” said Head Distiller Tim Boast. 

Never Never’s Triple Juniper Process

Never Never’s core gin expression is called the Triple Juniper Gin. The name gets straight to the point, sending a bat signal to all juniper lovers out there on what to expect.

“Triple Juniper” here refers to Never Never’s unique production process that they dubbed the “triple juniper process”. This process consists of the three ways in which they incorporate juniper into the final spirits to draw out its punchier flavours and intensify its aromas:

  1. First, fresh juniper is macerated into Australia wheat spirit for over 24 hours.
  2. Secondly, once macerated, the wheat spirit is transferred into the distillation still where more juniper berries are added to the steeped wheat spirits to be directly distilled. During this process, other botanicals such as coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, cinnamon and Australian pepper berry will also be added.
  3. Thirdly, even more juniper is added to the vapour basket hanging overhead in the still, capturing and infusing the fresh and floral juniper character into the spirit as the steam passes through the basket and condenses back into the spirit. Lemon and lime peels are also added into the vapour basket. 

Hence, it is this triple combination of maceration, boiling and vapour infusion - dubbed the Triple Juniper Process - that makes Never Never’s Triple Juniper Gin as bright, earthy, piney as it is known to be. The distillery will occasionally tweak the proportions of botanicals to create other offshoot gin expressions like the Southern Strength Gin, or add other ingredients or blends into the Triple Juniper Gin spirit to create other expressions like its Juniper Freak Gins. 

Today, I’ll be reviewing the Never Never Triple Juniper Gin. It’s a multi-award winning gin, with the most recent being the Gold Award at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Award. Apart from the obvious use of juniper, it also utilises eight other botanicals, which are coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, lemon peel, lime peel, liquorice root, cinnamon, and Australian pepper berry! 


Never Never Triple Juniper Gin, 43% ABV – Tasting Notes

Aroma: I get a hit of bright, fresh notes - sicilian lemon, yuzu peels and finger limes. There’s a good blend of different citrus layers, that all meld well with a nice pine note of juniper and a prickle of sansho peppers.

Taste: This gin hits the palate bright and smooth. The body is relatively light, and carries a refreshing, citrus-forward character. I pick up notes of finger limes, lemon sorbet, and candied yuzu. I also get a touch of mandarin orange. On subsequent sips, the citrus qualities dial back abit and the earthiness of the gin grows in strength. There is a vinous note of kaffir lime leaf and rosemary.

Finish: The finish is medium, and prickles the tongue with a nice warming spiciness. Final notes of sansho peppers and angelica round off this gin nicely.

My Thoughts:

I was initially worried from its name that it would be overwhelmingly juniper-leaning and potentially one-dimensional. Boy I was wrong! I do think the Never Never team has done a wonderful job of creating complexity and balancing the juniper notes with complementary citrus, warmth and herbal notes. The texture of this gin was really easy-going, light and smooth, and I just might have to purchase a whole bottle for my home bar soon!


In A G&T:

I also drank this gin with some Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic. When combined, the tonic brought out the earthiness of the gin a whole lot more. I was able to pick up more distinct mugwort and ginseng notes, and the citrusy and spicy flavours were slightly dialled down. I really enjoyed the added herbal complexity of it mixed with the tonic!

I sampled a glass of this gin at Atlas Bar in Singapore. If you'd like to purchase a bottle, you can do so at Master of Malt (ships internationally) or at Never Never (ships to Australia)

 

Happy sipping! 

@lotusroot518