In sitting down with this one, I realize I don't always have a "clean" philosophy as to how I feel about subtlety.
Edinburgh's gin is a perfect case in point. I gravitated to the "seaside" variation of their product lineup after a wholly pleasant experience with Gin Mare, and frankly I think I was expecting another riff on the same general style: a gin that doesn't lead with citrus or juniper but instead focuses on a core of savory flavors.
As with the Gin Mare, juniper isn't the star of the show. You smell it in the glass and it's definitely there in the finish, but the meat of the tasting experience is, well, the seaside. From the product copy and name, it's clear the producers set out to make spirit that's self-consciously mineral and maritime.
In the pursuit of this goal, Edinburgh Gin has incorporated botanicals I certainly wouldn't be able to pick out of a police lineup. The bottle tells me they use Scottish-sourced ground ivy, scurvy grass, and bladderwrack. If bladderwrack doesn't sound like a condition that would bring a man to the ER doubled over and moaning in pain, I don't know what does.
To me, weird is always intriguing, and gonzo ingredients will usually steer me toward purchasing something—maybe they hold a little too much sway over me, honestly. However, I'm an unhappy camper when I can't taste their influence in the glass. The Edinburgh Seaside is a capable gin, but one that fits a little more neatly into the Broker's camp than it does the Gin Mare camp. There's sea salt and seaweed here, but the dominant taste is considerably more vague most of the time, with lemon and pepper wisps being more memorable than the cocktail of ocean detritus that presumably goes into the gin stills at Edinburgh.
Is it bad? Certainly not. The EG: Seaside is more than capable. The issue is this: at a $35 price point, it begins to compete with entry-level single malt scotch. The difference is that your $35 brown liquor is typically well-aged, and the EG: Seaside is... esoteric? Gin is a product category where so much great stuff exists at a hair over twenty bucks. At 75% more than that price point, the distiller starts writing checks the taste experience isn't able to cash.
That said, I think the real dealbreaker is simply that Gin Mare goes big on a near-identical flavor mission while the EG: Seaside goes home. Both are pleasingly salty, but the Gin Mare doubles down on being savory and umami. Both have supporting herbs in the botanical list, but you can actually taste the olives and rosemary in the Gin Mare. And even as a "premium" product, Gin Mare is cheaper. Did I mention I like Gin Mare?
EG: Seaside lovers might contend that the Gin Mare is too much while this gin is just right. That would be a perspective I can understand at a rational level, though I don't share it myself.