Cubeb berries have long been used alongside juniper as their unique combination of intense lavender-like floral aroma combined with a cracked pepper taste, allow them to pair so well with it and other core gin botanicals. While they reputedly have high levels of limonene which should give off a strong citrus feel – this is not evident to taste at all.
If distilled as an individual distillate, to taste, the spirit is certainly spicy and walks a fine tightrope between being savoury and soapy, with an unexpected floral sweetness. Cubebs can give a gin both a soft lift and deep finish to gin, all without revealing why or what’s behind it. This bi-polar nature makes the botanical both an extraordinary ingredient to play with in the context of gin but also, one that’s fraught with difficulties to perfect.
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