The story behind Boë gin is as old as the drink itself. Supposedly, in 1658 one Professor Franz de la Boë cooked up a pure grain spirit and decided to chuck in a few juniper berries for good measure. While the intention was to create a medicinal tonic, what resulted was the world’s first gin!
There are other stories as to how gin came into being and though it may not have turned out to be the most medically effective drink, it is certainly one with a lasting legacy. It is this legacy that Scottish company Boë Gin is proud to continue.
Flavourly speaks to director Andrew Richardson to learn more about what makes their drink stand out in the ever-expanding world of gin.
“When Boë was launched, there were very few craft gins,” Richardson explains. Having started production in 2007, Boë was right there as one of the first Scottish, not to mention British, craft gins. While they do not have their own distillery, their signature Boë Superior Gin is instead made to their recipe and quality standards at distillers of their choice.
“While they do not have their own distillery, their signature Boë Superior Gin is instead made to their recipe and quality standards at distillers of their choice”
Richardson is keen to point out that when sales started, there were very few others doing the same. Now, he says, “everyone is jumping on the gin bandwagon.” Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, as some “outstanding gins” have been launched over the past few years but it does mean that there are a lot of companies creating very similar products. How Boë rises to this challenge is crucial to their continued success.
When Boë Superior Gin is one of a plethora of London dry gins on the market, what makes it a cut above the rest? Let’s start with the ingredients. It’s made from 13 rare botanicals and spices, each lending something different to the flavour profile of the final drink.
“It’s made from 13 rare botanicals and spices, each lending something different to the flavour profile of the final drink”
Juniper berries obviously form a solid foundation, while coriander and angelica provide some of the aroma. Orris root, ginger and one of the world’s oldest spices, cassia bark (or Chinese cinnamon as it is sometimes known), add layers of delicious complexity. The drink’s warmth comes from the grains of paradise, while Richardson explains that “orange and lemon peel are there too, delivering a hint of citrus, together with cardamom seeds, liquorice, almonds and the peppery tones of the cubeb berry.” The final product is an exceptionally clean tasting and spicy drink.
This distinctive flavour profile means that well-trained bar staff can make Boë a stalwart of their spirits collection. The suggested serve for a Boë gin and tonic is garnished with a couple of wedges of orange, complementing the spices inside and Richardson insists that its characteristics make it perfect for cocktails too.
It makes a killer Roma when mixed with equal parts sweet vermouth, Campari and a twist of lemon, and can be used to create a distinguished Martini. The Boë family has also expanded to include a few variants of their flagship drink. Their Violet Gin is light and delicate in taste with a beautiful floral aroma and, at 41.5% ABV, still hits the spot. They also have gin-based liqueurs. The Peach & Hibiscus blends the tangy, juicy flavours of the hibiscus with the sweetness of fresh peaches to create a drink great on its own over ice, mixed with champagne or soda. Their Scottish Bramble Gin Liqueur caters to the same audience, instead infusing the spirit with the fruits of the Scottish hedgerows.
“Their Scottish Bramble Gin Liqueur caters to the same audience, instead infusing the spirit with the fruits of the Scottish hedgerows”
And people seem to be noticing what Boë are doing. In 2014 it won a silver medal at the World Gin Awards and is becoming a more common sight across the nation’s bars as a result. Richardson also tells us that they took their two liqueurs out on the road to consumer events “and the feedback has been very, very positive.” While he kept any future plans of expansion and new gins under wraps, Boë’s goals for 2017 are simply to “get all of the Boe gin family into as many hands, as possible”.
And with Scottish Gin becoming world-renowned for its quality, that shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem.
Originally published in Issue 1 of our Flavourly magazine. Written by William Moss.