Strawberry Bank Liqueurs grow their fruit in Cumbria, and in partnership with other growers in the Lyth valley, they create an array of classic English Country side spirits, including both a Sloe and Damson gin. Today we’re trying their Damson Gin. The recipe is damson juice, cane sugar and gin.
The color is reddish brown, almost maroon and reminiscent of Vermouth.
The nose is rich cherry juice, hints of very ripe fruit, plum and berry. There’s some quiet hints of citrus in the lower notes. Overall the nose is true to expectations.
The palate begins with tart cherry, fermented ripe plum taking over and dominating in the mid-notes. As the finish comes on, a tart sweetness accompanies lemon and juniper. Warm and spicy, although faint, definite gin finish. Overall, a very nice Sloe Gin, dominated by pungent Sloe notes and a nice hint of gin.
First, we tried it with ice and lime. Considering that most drink their Sloe Gin iced, this seemed like a necessary way to try it. The lime came up time and time again as a garnish, so we chose to incorporate it. I think in general, it adds a nice lift to the flavor profile of a Sloe Gin. Anyway, this drink was sweet and nice, with the Sloe Gin notes coming through more. The pungent and rich cherry of the drink neat were replaced with softer, brighter, and sweeter fresh fruit. The lime again added a nice lift. It lost some of the gin character on the finish, but overall it was very refreshing and quite nice.
In a Sloe Gin Fizz [I know it’s a Damson gin, but it’s meant to be drank similarly…] I found it to be quite good, with notes again like a rich sweetened lemonade. Floral, lemon, cherry in the mids, with a tart, slightly sweet finish. Very refreshing. Highly Recommended.
Next we tried it in a Blackthorn: the vermouth really nicely complimented the Damson gin, rounding out some of the places in the flavor profile. Sweet and pungent at first. The finish is long lasting, and although slightly sweet, it’s a lasting floral fruit finish that invokes the feelings of a rich creaminess. Also quite nice.
Finally we tried it in a Sloe Gin Cocktail. The sweet vermouth took over at first, and then we had cherry, orange, and flower blossoms. Long floral note, wherein damson comes through, then fading to leave some juniper, orange, and spicy undertones. A very inspired drink, quite good.
Price: $27 / 500mL
Origin: [flag code=”UK” size=”16″ text=”no”] England, United Kingdom
Availability: UK and worldwide through Master of Malt
Rating: I’m not one to penalize based on method alone. Surely the fact that they say on the bottle that they use “Damson Juice” rather than steeping it might put some people off. I think the flavor is generally nice, however, the gin notes on the finish and the damson notes on the initial taste don’t feel well integrated. Perhaps the mixing rather than the traditional steeping might have contributed to this effect. Overall, I think it’s good and it works. People looking for a Sloe Gin with a hint more gin bite at the finish might like this one over some others, but to me something feels slightly unfinished here. Still a good cocktail Sloe Gin. [Rating:3/5]
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