“Botanical” as a noun – it’s not really all that complicated a word, is it? Does it really mean anything other than derived from plants? In which case it would surely include everything from flour to cactus juice.
But if you’re going to be making gin (or for that matter vegan face wash) announcing on the label that your product contains botanicals seems to imply that it’s special and you know, GREEN.
Of course gin has always contained botanicals – primarily juniper but some other things too, and I think these things used simply to be called ingredients.
So how about this bargain price smoked salmon, from Waitrose, with a label telling us it contains gin AND botanicals. Do I need apple and angelica with my smoked salmon? I never thought I did. And I definitely didn’t think I needed gin.
It tasted fine and you could definitely taste that there was something a bit out of the ordinary going on in there, but in a blind testing I don’t believe I’d have identified the gin.
On the other hand, since gin has to contain some kind of garden ingredients what could be better than this bottle of Beefeater London Garden gin from the Chelsea Physic Garden? Botanicals – they got ‘em!
It’s an ‘exclusive edition’ and if the label is to be believed ‘at its heart is the flowering herb lemon verbena’ – there’s also thyme in there too, plus all the stuff that Beefeater gin usual contains – so you know it wasn’t exactly a wild experimental concoction. Tasted damn fine though. The bottle has two labels, one front, one back: the word botanical does not appear anywhere on either of them.