The Spirit of Broadside, from Adnams, is reviewed by Steven Crotty.
“Yes you did read it right; this is a spirit from the Adnams brewery, although not their first. The plucky Southwold brewers also make vodka, gin and absinthe as well as their signature beers.”
The Spirit of Broadside
Approximate price £30 – 35
Firstly let me clear up all the things you probably have issue with from the above description. Yes you did read it right; this is a spirit from the Adnams brewery, although not their first. The plucky Southwold brewers also make vodka, gin and absinthe as well as their signature beers.
And yes, this is an entirely new type of spirit. Eau-De-Vie is primarily brandy made with any fruit other than the standard grape. What Adnams have done is to take their Broadside beer (which is very good) and distil it in oak casks (for how long is unclear but we’re not talking many years) to create a beer-based fruit spirit. So now you know.
Before I go on I must take issue with Adnams’ marketing on the bottle. ‘To celebrate 340 years since The Battle of Sole Bay’, it proclaims. Really? Since when was the 340th anniversary of anything a momentous occasion? I would have accepted ‘inspired by’ but come on Adnams, you’ve merely made the spirit when you decided it was best, not to coincide with a historically important date.
It smells extremely floral, heavy doses of lavender violating your nostrils, backed by a marzipan sweetness that complements it nicely. It also has that unmistakeable ‘new spirit’ smell, usually found in spirit that will become whisky but has been aged less than 3 years. It also has a metallic tang that is not unpleasant but strange, akin to sniffing a copper pipe. If you haven’t sniffed a copper pipe before then where the hell have you been?
Flower power wins out on first taste, giving the drink a medicinal feel before it gives way to caramel sweetness backed up by a bitter hoppy aftertaste. That’s the first time I’ve ever been able to describe a spirit as hoppy. Wow. It wears its 43% ABV well, a little too well in fact as the aftertaste doesn’t linger at all. Any of you who make a quick appearance at someone’s birthday party will feel a kinship here.
You may have gathered from the tone of this review that I was left underwhelmed by the Spirit of Broadside. And you would be absolutely correct. I was hoping this would be one of those drinks that would be either fantastic or vile, the safe haven areas for all reviewers. Instead it is what it is, which is disappointing for a whole new style of spirit and a radical concept. Not unsavoury, but at the £33.50 I paid it’s merely an expensive novelty you can impress your friends with. Just don’t be surprised when their first reaction to tasting it is ‘meh’.