I have never had a gin with my name on it before. Or indeed made a special trip on a Sunday morning, into London to buy a bottle. But then this a special gin. Called Fera, it has been my gin of the month for September and is made in the kitchen of the Fera restaurant in Claridge’s Hotel in London.
See, I told you it was special.
Fera means wild in Latin (dontcha know) and is inspired by the flavours used in their restaurant of the same name’s cuisine. It has taken Head Sommelier Ale Villa and his team two years to perfect this gin, and for it to hit the shelves this summer, selling out fast. Little wonder as only 10 bottles are made a week so as soon as I heard about it I emailed to plead that I be able to buy a bottle. Hence there being one with my name on it, and a road trip to Claridge’s one Sunday morning to pick it up. It is only available to drink at the hotel, or to buy from them so no picking it up online or through a third party, you have to visit the hotel to buy it in person
I felt like I had found the holy grail as I walked out into Mayfair to try and find Jonnie, who hadn’t been able to park so was doing circuits as he waited for me. I was desperate to try it as soon as I got hold of it (and to be fair the lovely chaps in the bar did offer to make me a G&T but see earlier point re circuits of Mayfair) and the journey home seemed to take forever. I did sneak a cheeky sniff of the cork, yes it has a proper cork stopper, in the car and was hit by aromas I couldn’t put my finger on, possibly the coriander. It also contains apple marigold which I hadn’t come across in a gin before but it gives the gin a fruity flavour without being too sweet, in fact it almost feels like a dry Chardonnay if you try it neat.
Simon Rogan, who used to head the Fera restaurant but has now left, said of the apple marigold:
Apple Marigold is a herb I absolutely love and I’ve hardly seen it being used anywhere else. It’s part of the marigold family and we use it for its intense apple flavour, which is really rounded off to a flavour profile that is incomparable to anything else. At the moment we’re using it in an ice cream, which we serve with chocolate ganache, a caramelised cocoa biscuit and a rapeseed oil cream. Although we have a very British ethos, we also experiment with produce that isn’t indigenous to the UK but which we choose to grow ourselves.
And he is right, I can’t really find any mention of it anywhere else so it is clear to see why Ale and his team picked this to go along side the juniper, orris, coriander and angelica to make this truly unique gin.
I love it. It’s £60 a bottle so it’s not one for sloshing into a glass on a Friday night with a big slug of mixer and drinking without really thinking about it. It’s a gin to savour, to share with friends, and to really enjoy, leaving the wild in the glass rather than it being a reflection of how to behave after drinking it.
I need to take note!
You can find more info here: Fera at Claridge’s