Of all of the botanicals used in Gin distillation few come with the infamy and in fact necessity of Coriander Seed. It has a contentious history from a mention in the Old Testament (great read if you haven’t got around to it) right the way through to being splayed across Billboards over the world as soapy, evil bullshit as a result of a bizarre genetic trait that some of us possess to pick up on aldehydes. Put simply, it is about as confusing a plant as the decision for Kanye West to run for American president.
What is Coriander?
For starters, the name itself is derived from its smell (apparently) rather than its medicinal value or flavour. Coming from the word Koros (insect) or Koriannon (bug) in Greek. At times we struggle to come up with names for products here in the distillery but this is really a stretch. What insect delights the nostrils with that citrus and spice heavy blend that is released when you crush a coriander seed because we want to try it.
Rare it is that you try a gin from anywhere in the world and it does not possess this humble seed, the staple of many of the world’s most famous London Dry styles alongside Juniper, the complexity and depth of its oils and esters are incredibly useful tool for highlighting citrus or rounding out savoury recipes.
To get a wee bit geeky about it the second major component of the seed is a thing called alpha-pinene which we spoke about before being heavily prominent in Juniper; making them excellent bedfellows. The vast majority of the rest of its structure is linalool (sometimes up to 70% it is a floral and spicy terpene alcohol. It is found in over 200 plants such as citrus fruits and lavender. Concentrations of linalool above 20 ppb have been shown to give a fruity hoppy aroma to beer) and also gamma-terpinene (about 10%) which gives that prominent and pleasing lemon-y flavour.
Coriander and Our Gin
All of our gin at Stillgarden Distillery possess this plucky little botanical that could in some shape or fashion but none more so than our Distiller’s Edition which champions it alongside Juniper and Citrus peel for that slightly more traditional Gin feel and flavour and don’t worry, it’s not going to be like rinsing your mouth out with soap as often that really only comes from the leaf of the plant.
To set you at ease we found one of our Social Botanists Kate who has the aforementioned gene and asked for a quote. Don’t worry she didn’t even sign up to the newsletter so she won’t read this. We’ve even had her drink some of our products that contain Coriander and she didn’t notice but when brought face to face with a salad containing fresh leaves she said “this just tastes like soap.”
So fret not and don’t let a fear of aldehyde-laden gin prevent you from going softly into that good night.
All the best,