This is day 2 of the 2016 Master of Malt Ginvent Calendar. If you want to join us, we’ll be reviewing one gin, every day for the next 23 days leading up to Christmas 2016. Learn More or Buy One yourself. Hayman’s Gin was also featured in my book Gin: The Art and Craft of the Artisan Revival, which makes a great Christmas gift. Now back to your regularly scheduled review.
The Hayman Distillers name dates back to the early 19th century and was part of the high quality spirits portfolio owned by chemist and distiller James Burrough. You probably know that name best as the name behind the Beefeater Gin brand.
Through a series of sales and transfers during the late 20th century, the family brand returned to being a family business. Under the leadership of Christopher Hayman, along with his family, the brand has expanded to include a line of gins, among which are ones we’ve covered here, including their Sloe Gin and their Navy Strength offerings.
Hayman’s baseline London Dry Gin is a blend of 10 botanicals, steeped for 24 hours before undergoing a distillation on Marjorie, their copper pot still. Truly a family operation, their line of spirits connect the centuries old family recipe book with modern invention.
Juniper at first on the nose, quite classic, but a structured spice backbone creates depth and complexity. Angelica, coriander and a bit of citrus. A little intense on the nose with a touch of ethanol as well; however, the aroma itself is quite nice.
The palate has a distinctive creaminess to it, with a thick, rich viscosity. The base spirit itself has a nice texture, but it’s the flavors which make it. First a bit peppery, with juniper and lemony citrus fading into a long rich finish of pine-laden juniper, orange zest, pumpkin pie spice and licorice adding a hint of faint sweetness.
Hayman’s London Dry Gin’s peculiar creaminess might its most distinctive character. The botanicals are richly colored, and balanced with a slight deference to citrus; however, still it feels nicely crafted and classic in construction.
In my book I recommended the Bronx Cocktail and Martini, and I stand by those. In the grand scheme of things, Hayman’s London Dry Gin is on the low end of the price spectrum, and with its rich flavors it tends to work really well as a powerhouse mixing gin. I found it to be quite excellent in drinks ranging from the Aviation to the Negroni, while also holding its own in Gin and Soda and Gin and Juice.
Hayman’s London Dry Gin take a traditional approach to classic gin and creates a well-made gin that might not add anything new to the conversation, it is a gin that both bartenders looking for a versatile baseline gin, and home drinkers looking for a “does it all well” sort of gin at a fair price point will find a lot to like.
Classic gin aficionados will like the traditional approach, and contemporary gin fans might find it a bit ordinary. Overall, it’s a gin that I appreciate and like, and turn to when I need a good cocktail gin that still brings a strong gin game.
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