When you hear about small batch gins from the UK, you’re likely to hear a few names over and over. Ian Hart’s Sacred Gin is one of those names:
In our own (<100) words
Sacred Gin is distilled differently than many gins. Each botanical is distilled individually in a high-pressure/low-temperature vacuum still. The distillates are then blended to create the final product. Proponents of vacuum still say that not heating the botanicals during distillation creates a brighter, more flavorful final product. Sacred’s emphasis is on small-scale and craft as in “hand crafted.” Also distilled in London for extra “street cred,” so it’s got that going for it too.
The nose is as subtle as it is balanced: warm orange, vibrant springy juniper. Hint of spice, cardamom with a slight note of ethanol.
The palate is clean and dry initially. Quiet gives way to building intensity with bitter lemon, cassia and cardamom in the mid palate, roaring towards an intense crescendo, floral high. Baking spice again, nutmeg and cinnamon, but a faint resiny bitterness is left as the heat subsides. It definitely plays with some of the notes of contemporary styled gins while using the structure of dry gin as a template. No lingering sweetness, no overwhelming hibiscus. Finishes clean, long, and quite dry. I like it. It has a certain edge to it, but it’s nice and well balanced.
With Q tonic, I liked that some of the assertive heat from the spirit came through. Still a rather dry gin and tonic overall, with a quiet bitterness presiding over the palate. Notes of lemon, angelica leave a faint earthy and juniper aftertaste. Quite nice, as without a doubt the gin is the star of the show. Being bottled at only 40%, that is quite an accomplishment and a testament to how brightly the flavors of the spirit come through. Maybe there’s something more to this distillation process here…
I then pulled up a martini with one of my favorite dry Vermouths: Vya Extra Dry*. Juniper up front, but muddled and spring field-like [it’s the Vermouth adding some of this touch], very verdant, and very bright. Sacred came through most clearly on the finish, sharp and hot, with cardamom, nutmeg coming through after the Vermouth, leaving a similar finish to the G&T. Quite nice, and quite smooth. I liked it a bit.
Sacred Gin is a solid ingredient in any gin cocktail. It holds up quite nicely, and the flavors I think are actually quite vibrant and bright. I’d recommend the Aviation and 20th Century cocktails, I can only half recommend the Negroni, as that seemed to be the place where the strength issues was forced a little bit and I started to lose some of the notes. It was fine, but merely average. It could have been any gin in the Negroni. Such is the challenge of the perfect Negroni, but alas I digress.
Sacred gin is good neat, but it’s a great mixing gin too. It’s really a well made first step between the worlds of classic gin and contemporary gin. I’d say it’s contemporary in the flavor, but classic in the way the palate is constructed. If you’ve been on the fence about those really out there gins, but are interested in a first step towards a new style, this might be one gin to consider on your journey.
Price: $48/700 mL
Origin: [flag code=”GB” size=”16″ text=”no”] United Kingdom
Best consumed: Go with complex cocktails like the Aviation, the 20th Century, but it tends to get overwhelmed by bitter aperitifs.
Availability: Limited, but US and UK.
Rating: A restrained and well balanced contemporary gin that takes plenty of cues from the classic gins of yore. Restrained, but flavorful. Bright and unique, but somewhat dry. I quite like it, and I recommend it.
*I’ve raved about it in this space before, so…. don’t be surprised. I’d recommend trying it if you haven’t yet….
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