A self-described “strikingly smooth” London dry gin distilled in Bristol, 6 O’Clock Gin debuted stateside in November 2020. The gin is made with botanicals including juniper, orange peel, orris root, elderflower, coriander seed, angelica and winter savory, the last ingredient being a cousin of rosemary and thyme.
It has a peppery nose with predictably strong notes of juniper, as well as a green, rosemary-like note that must be winter savory. Bitter lemon and orange peel present most strongly on the palate, with juniper subsisting below as a steady, rolling presence that’s continuously felt but never quite the main event. There’s also a pleasant florality led by elderflower, and a touch of that green rosemary in the middle. It finishes with white pepper and subtly sweet spice.
After experiencing 6 O’Clock, I thought that it may be a London dry gin for someone who doesn’t like London dry gins, though that’s not quite the oxymoron that it sounds. I love a good London dry that lays the juniper on thick, but all the same enjoyed the delicate floral and citrus notes that 6 O’Clock allowed to shine by virtue of its more restrained jumper presence. While it does indeed prove “strikingly smooth” just as the bottle promises, it’s not dull.
When mixed into a Gin & Tonic, 6 O’Clock brings its bitter citrus and elderflower notes to bear. Those notes are pleasant, though I must admit I found myself craving a juniper punch that never arrived. But that lack of juniper seems to be by design, not defect, and as a confirmed lover of juniper bombs I might not be the exact target audience. All the same, it’s not as if 6 O’clock surrendered to the tonic. Instead, the bitter citrus and florals floated above the tonic, creating a different kind of G&T. Perhaps it’s not what I’d seek out based on my own personal preferences, but 6 O’Clock Gin is well worth experiencing.
— 43% ABV