After the whole embarrassing forgotten passport incident while we were en route to Morocco, we were in the market for a thank you gift for the friend that rescued us! Like me, he’s a massive gin fan, so this was the obvious choice thanks to the additional benefits of duty free. We decided it would be nice to get something Moroccan themed (well, I decided it would be nice, because I overthink everything. Even gifts. ESPECIALLY gifts) but after a little time spent Googling the only one we could find reference to was Opihr, one we’d already bought him before. Not only that, but I also had a bottle bought for me last Christmas that I had completely neglected to open yet! Now, unopened gin in my house is a bit of a no no, so obviously that needed to be rectified! So I did what any self respecting person would do and demanded we pour a glass, all while shouting ‘NOBODY DRINK ANYTHING UNTIL I’VE PHOTOGRAPHED IT FOR MY BLOG!!’
Now, Opihr isn’t actually Moroccan at all, as it happens. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because being a Muslim country it doesn’t have a booming booze industry, so as far as I know, there aren’t actually any Moroccan gins on the market. Opihr (pronounced O-peer in case you were wondering – I definitely was pronouncing it wrong for quite some time until someone pointed out that the i and the h were the other way round…) prides itself though on it’s use of warming Middle Eastern spices – Moroccan Coriander and Egyptian Cumin to name a couple – and the decadent gold and brightly coloured decoration and tassel on the bottle definitely remind me of my time there, so that’s good enough for me….
The Expert’s Description…
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin has bursts of Citrus balanced with the rich, earthy aromas and a soft spice. Opihr epitomises the exotic intensity of the Orient, awakening the senses to a new style of gin.
Nose: A rich oriental spiced gin with a smooth perfume and sharp bursts of citrus. Key notes of cumin and cardamom provide a warm earthy background balanced with the grapefruit peel.
Taste: Soft camphor, some sweetness and oriental spices create a warm mouth feel that lingers but does not increase in intensity.
Finish: Long length with soft cracked black pepper and spice.
The Layman’s Description…
Very, very pleasant indeed! The spices are very noticeable in the scent, and while it didn’t taste as spiced as I was expecting from the fragrance it definitely has a warmth and a kick to it that your average gin doesn’t. It’s worth noting that I could taste the heat a lot better when sipping it neat, tonic appears to bring out the citrusy flavours which dulls the spice a little, but that in no means spoils it, it’s just a different combination. It’s definitely worth experimenting with different mixers and garnishes to get the balance you like.
How to drink it…
Opihr has two perfect serve recommendations – both with lots of ice and classic tonic, and either a generous slice of ginger or a wedge of orange studded with cloves. For the purpose of this post I went with the ginger, mainly because I’m a huge lover of fresh ginger and could picture how well it would match with the warmth of the gin (spoiler – it’s basically perfection), but also because the oranges we happened to have weren’t really suitable and I couldn’t be bothered with the faff of adding the cloves. That said, I’ll definitely be trying the alternative soon as I think the orange would add another really lovely twist to the flavours, and heck, I’m always looking for ways to use all the cloves I seem to accumulate every Christmas, so there is always that…!!
All in all, I’m a massive fan of this warm, exotic tasting gin and urge you to give it a shot. At the very least, that bottle is pretty enough to dress up any drinks cabinet!