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GINFLUENCED: James Joyce Gin Is Changing The Game With Unusual Flavours

By Éadaoin Fitzmaurice

October 30, 2018 at 9:43am


It's pretty evident by now that the gin industry in Ireland is booming.

When this trend began, I thought it might last a year, maybe two at most. Thing is, it's still here and it's still as popular as ever.

When I'm out on the razzmatazz or even just for one drink, G&T is always my first order. I just adore it - the bitter taste from the gin and fruity from the garnishes and flavoured tonics, fab.

It can be easy however, to be a creature of habit and to order the same gin over and over again.

Well, I'm here to challenge that!

It's time to stop playing it safe and to broaden your gin-fuelled horizons. Next time you're out or maybe even hitting the offo, why pick out something out of the ordinary.

There's so many gins right now it can be hard to know which will suit your palette. So if you're not up for spending those pretty pennies on a risk, I got you.

Each week, I'm going to shine the spotlight on my Irish gin of choice.

I label myself as a GINfluencer, so I thought I'd start acting like one - this seems like the best way to do it.

At the start of the year, I bought myself a GORJ lil drinks trolley for all of my precious gins. For the next few weeks I'm going to pick out some bottles from it, have a lil drinkie and let you guys know what I think, how it tastes - all that good stuff.

First up, is James Joyce Gin.

James Joyce Gin is made in Dublin and it differs from the rest.

Instead of the typical botanical or fruity flavours found in gin, it offers spicy undertones. The gin itself combines delicate notes of heather, bay leaf and cloves.

The Bottle:

Plain and simple.

No need for big fancy illustrations or funky text - it's gorgeously minimalistic.

The label is 100% cotton, honouring the paper material used to print the first edition of Ulysses. A tagline in homage to Ireland's greatest writer can be found on the cap:

"Open to interpretation"

Along with a cute spectacle icon, one of the lenses blacked out, as he had constant issues with his left eye.

I always wonder about the design of bottles, it's cool to know the thinking behind them.


What I really like about this gin is that it has it's own tale.

Denis Kilty, the creative director, has been passionate about James Joyce himself for years. His farther was actually involved in the refurbishment of Sweny's Pharmacy and many other buildings in the city that were linked to the writer. Kilty wanted to continue on from his farther's work and create something that would celebrate Joyce's legacy and give everyone a unique taste of Irish history.

To top it all off, Denis is just a deadly, down-to-earth guy.

His eyes lit up whenever I asked him about the product and he told me the story of it rather than choosing to drown me with his business plan and marketing details. I could tell he just genuinely loved the product himself, which in turn made me so much more interested.

The gin was created to pay tribute to Joyce's best known work, Ulysses. You can tell that the product has been thought out to a tee and that it really does present something special to those who try it.


  • Bay Leaf
  • Heather
  • Clove
  • Coriander
  • Juniper
  • Cassia Bark
  • Orris Root
  • Angelica Root
  • Citrus Peel

I spotted the flavour of cloves in the after-taste straight away, it has quite the kick to it. It's like nothing I've tasted before.

If you're into pink gins or sweet fruity flavours, this might not be a great fit for you. It would be more suited to those looking for fresh, long finish.

On the nose:

Straight away you'll get that spicy kick from the cloves. Following on from this is softer notes of botanicals like heather and clove and finally that distinctive smell of juniper berries.


The gin is distilled in the London Dry style so it's got that feel to it.

From the first sip, the tongue is consumed by the flavours of dry cloves and coriander, almost dominating the traditional juniper flavour.

It has a pungent taste, strong yet sweet taste from the cloves with a slight hint from the juniper berries finally coming through thereafter.

With Tonic:

For such a distinct and unusual flavour, finding the right tonic is key. Poachers citrus tonic with a slice of orange creates a more balanced flavour, with citrus notes coming through.

Fever tree tonic also works, I know that's easier to come by.

Signature Serve:

  • 50ml James Joyce Gin
  • Poachers Citrus Tonic
  • Thick orange slice
  • Ice

Where To Find It:

It's now widely available in bars across the city and it's a treat for the tastebuds (especially with a slice of orange).

The Celtic Whiskey Shop on Dawson Street is the main distributor of James Joyce Gin, so if you're looking to buy it as a gift for someone, (or just for yourself, obvs) that's deffo the best place to get it.

As someone who has a literal obsession with gin, I can safely say this one is a new favourite of mine.

Happy drinking!

If you have a gin that you'd like me to try, leave it in the comments below and it could feature next week.

READ MORE: IRISH MADE: This Contemporary Jewellery Range Is Too Fab


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