I’ve been looking forward to Sheringham distillery’s Seaside gin for a while now, given that their vodka and William’s White spirit are both excellent. Their gin does not disappoint, with its bright, clean, crisp complexity. Not only does it add to the growing list of stellar gins being produced on Vancouver Island, it’s the first one that pays homage to the sea, with the addition of locally harvested winged kelp as a botanical.
An undeniably west coast Vancouver Island feature, kelp marks our seaside seasons, from when you first start seeing the floats pop up just off shore, until it turns in a massive dense forest of playing sea creatures, and then storms up on our beaches in droves. As a cold water diver there’s nothing so spectacularly west coast as ascending through a kelp forest, surrounded by the other worldy beauty of sunbeams sparkling through the towering kelp.
Jason, the mastermind behind Seaside Gin, sees the ocean from a surfer’s point of view, and explains that kelp does something amazing to the waves that hit our southern island west coast shores – it cuts through the chop and smooths them out into a blissful ride. It was this vision he wanted to bring into his gin, the idea that using kelp does something special to the gin, balancing and smoothing it out into a truly versatile and unique indulgence. Alayne, Jason’s wife, who runs the business of their distillery, specified what she wanted in a gin, and Jason delivered a vision of the clean, refreshing, sea air rolling up the hill and through the forest.
When you smell Seaside Gin, it is immediately light and fresh. It has a soft complexity that calls citrus and a warm, distinct savory element that makes up the base of the gin. Really gorgeous on its own, when you sip this gin it tastes nothing like you’d expect a gin with kelp in it to taste like. You’re immediately hit by a refreshingly bright and sweet citrus, which follows through into a light floral delicate complexity that is rounded throughout with dense, savory grounding elements.
In a gin and tonic I find this gin does best with a drier tonic – Phillips Artisanal Dry or Fenitmans are good options. I find fever tree Indian Tonic water a bit sweet for the gin, while the naturally light showcases the gin well. Keeping it simple, I prefer a lemon peel garnish for this gin.
You might expect the kelp aspect of this gin to be all hipster and trendy. Sheringham, however has impressively and reservedly stuck to more traditional ingredients and botanicals, instead choosing to use the kelp in a more delicate, barely noticeable way to elevate and round out this beautiful gin, while paying respect to the land and sea Vancouver Islanders know and love.
Smell – clean, fresh, citrus with savory, balanced undertones
Taste neat – Bright, fragrant citrus followed by delicate floral notes and supported by light, barely noticeable, savory spice notes. Overall has a surprising sweetness to it, it finishes clean, and is a beautiful sipping gin.
In a G&T – Bold enough not to get lost in a herby or botanical tonic, such as Fentimans, and shines when paired with a dry tonic and some lemon or orange peel