Introduction [to the tune of “Stars of Track and Field”]
Occasionally when you’re a gin reviewer such as myself you have the distinct pleasure of getting to try things which are not available. And may never be available. My good friend David over at Summer Fruit Cup, as many of you who follow me on Twitter know is my “hook up” so to speak for U.K. Gins which we can’t get over here.
Last summer, Sipsmith Smoked Gin was part of a package he sent me. I enjoyed the taste, but never quite got around to reviewing it. Lately I’ve had a renewed interest in smoked gins, I thought this Saturday night, listening to Belle and Sebastian it might be a good time to take a look at what exactly a smoked Gin can be.
Nose/Taste [To the tune of “Me and the Major”]
Striking to me immediately is how the nose does not seem incredibly smoky. There’s a faint hint of something woody, but mostly a bright floral bouquet, revealing a gentle subtle juniper note. Cooked lemon and a hint of cardamom on the close. While I haven’t properly reviewed a Sipsmith gin, I can say with virtual certainty that the base for this must be their London Dry Gin.
The smoky campfire taste is readily present upon tasting. What hits me though is how “fresh” the smoke character seems to take on. This is in part due to the bright flavor of the gin, but I know what you might be thinking: smoke flavoring can get a bad reputation. Fake smoke is particularly awful. This is more vibrant, closer to Lapsang souchong tea. The palette has a little less of the floral from the nose and a little bit more citrus. The finish is long and faintly smoky, warm charred oak and carmelized orange rinds.
Suggestions for Mixing [to the tune of “Like Dylan in the Movies”]
Well smoked gin. A novel idea, and in this case executed rather nicely. I found it really enjoyable neat over the course of writing this review. Regrettably the sample size is small, so I cannot accurately say that I have made it in as many cocktails as I would have liked to. I’d suggest mixing up a Negroni, and being cautious in mixed drinks. I’m not sure this is the right fit for tonic, gimlets, Tom Colllinses, Aviations, or really much out. Though I think it is quite balanced, and even nice. I’m not sure this is a mixing gin. When I have a larger sample of a smoked gin, I’d be excited to put it to a more thorough examination. But for now, if you can find yourself some smoked gin? Sip it neat on the rocks and explore just how bold the contemporary frontier of gin can be.
Origin: [flag code=”GB” size=”16″ text=”no”] United Kingdom
Best consumed: Sip it neat.
Availability: Not available
Rating: Smoke and gin don’t seem like a natural mix, but this gin is evidence that when starting with a good gin and judiciously working from there, the two flavors can mix well.
International Gin Exchange 2012 (13) [to the tune of “Fox in the Snow”] >>>
Thanks to David over at Summer Fruit Cup for helping make this tasting possible. Because the bottles are small sample bottles, this review is not as thorough as my normal gin reviews. There’s only enough for some tasting neat and no more than one normal-sized cocktail. Although I do my best to give as full of a review as possible, complete with ratings, the tasting is not as complete as I would normally want to do.
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