Portobello Road Distillery
Portobello Road Distillery - British Asparagus Vodka
When we first launched the Ginstitute back in 2011 we very much wanted to offer our guests not just a choice of the traditional gin botanicals to use gin their blend but also some more esoteric flavours and one of the first ones we experimented with was English Asparagus. It has remained in our selection ever since and has become something of a talisman for us, so in 2015 when we launched the first Ltd Edition Portobello Road Gin our Directors Cut Edition Nº1. Asparagus seemed to be a logical flavour to incorporate, we only made a. thousand bottles of that but six seven years later we still get asked about it all the time, it certainly captured the publics imagination, if not everyones affection! No, Asparagus in your alcohol is not something that appeals to everybody, but those that do enjoy it seem todo so very much. So it was always inevitable that Asparagus would at some point join the family of vodkas too, this time untroubled by the distraction of Juniper and Coriander etc. Just plain English Asparagus steeped and distilled in our fantastic British Potato Vodka.
Each year, British Asparagus Season starts on St George's Day, and inspired by everyone's favourite youngest wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, we wanted to get this season's asparagus distilled and into a bottle as quickly as we could. This year's slightly warmer start to the year meant that the asparagus crop arrived earlier, so we managed to get a kick start on the harvest.
On St George's Day, typically the start of asparagus season, when the steeping was finished, we ran it through our 400L Copper Pot Still, King Henry, and added purified water to bottle it at 40% ABV. No filtration, no additives, nothing else added - just pure Asparagus (and Potato) Vodka.
And then, we immediately bottled it. Each year, we will be distilling a limited run using that season's asparagus, and once it's gone, you'll just have to wait until the next year to get your hands on another bottle - it's an asparagus vintage!
Well no mistaking what this is, right away the unique aroma of Aparagus is apparent, perhaps joined by a slight (hazel) nuttiness, if we can imagine smell as a colour it is distinctly green on the nose. The nose is enticing, beguiling and for many somewhat intriguing, people are really not accustomed to their alcohol smelling of asparagus.
Again, no mistaking what this is, the flavour of asparagus arrives early and lingers long, there is a surprising amount of sweetness, and due to the British Potato Vodkas ability to carry both flavour and texture the whole seems to coat the inside of the mouth and stimulate every inch of the tastebuds.
The sweetness eventually gives way to a an earthiness and a nuttiness, the vegetal note also lives long on the palate, no real sensation of alcohol heat is felt in the throat or thee palate. The lasting impression is one of freshness, softness, and creaminess.