All Gins from United Kingdom

Gin Reviews

Crossbill 200

crossbill 200

Junipers are long lived species. A single bush can live for hundreds of years in the wild. Most of the juniper grown in captivity is much younger than this, and with human development expanding further and further into the wilds there’s fewer of these long lived bushes than their once was, particularly in the UK where although the juniper’s demise might have been prematurely declared. One distillery in particular in Scotland, Crossbill Distillery has traded its reputation on locally sourced juniper, rather than the Italian and Balkan sources most distillers rely on because of its invariability and steady supply.

So Crossbill 200 is the distillery’s love letter to the 20 century old bush that grows just outside its distillery; lovingly distilled along with the rosehip that grows alongside the bush in its natural habitat.

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Gin Reviews

Shortcross Small Batch Cask Aged

shortcross barrel aged gin

Shortcross Small Cask Barrel Aged Gin starts with Rademon Estate Distillery’s flagship gin, and rests it for four month in European Oak barrels from a Bordeaux Wine estate. The barrel aged gin is the first flirtation with barrels for the young distillery, who just barreled their first batch of whiskey, and which is still some years off…

But I digress, back to the gin.

Tasting Notes

Absolutely gorgeous nose! Herbal, but more towards the floral side of that genre, a veil of clover, vanillin and barrel notes, herbaceous juniper, grassy meadow notes, toasted walnut and burnt orange rinds. It’s all blended quite delicately, with the wood only subtly in the mix, transforming the botanicals and not shouting or being too literal.

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Gin Reviews

Lord Astor Gin

Astor-Gin

When I first picked this up last year, I naively, despite the name, didn’t realize this was the house brand at a Astor Place Wine and Spirits in New York City. Those of you who follow me on social media know that it’s one of my favorite liquor stores in the city and that I do often go there and I’ve extolled their virtues before. Little is shared about the details behind the gin. It’s 100% Grain neutral spirits [says the label], it’s distilled in England [says the label] in a copper still [says the website].

Designed to be of good quality at an affordable price, the appearance is simple enough, but how does it taste?

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Gin Reviews

East London Liquor Company, Premium Gin: Batch 2

East-London-Dry-Gin

As if a pioneer organism, the East London Liquor Company has brought distilling back to London’s East End for the first time in over a hundred years. The re-purposed glue factory that they call home is where they distill their rum, vodka and line of gins, which number three at the moment. They have their entry level gin and two premium gins. One features tea and the other (the subject of this review) takes a more herbal forward approach featuring bay, sage, fennel and the unusual winter savory. Closely related to the summer savory, it played yin to summer’s yang.

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Gin Reviews

Shortcross Wild Clover Gin

shortcross-gin

The Craft Gin Club tells the story best, in their March post to their members about this special edition of Shortcross Gin*. For those of you who aren’t going to click a link no matter how brief the article [four paragraphs!], the TL;DR is, “they boosted the Clover in their signature formula,” which by the way was unusual and exotic to start, with apple and elderberry alongside juniper, coriander, cassia, orange, and lemon.

Tasting Notes

Juniper and coriander, heady and rich on the nose. Furthermore, citrus zest, granny smith apple. and an interesting note that’s green, herbal and slightly floral. This is where the clover seems to come through. Though the Gin Club post seems to allude to the greens being present in here, I’m getting hints of clover blossom and not much green.

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Gin Reviews

Dublin City Gin

dublin-city-irish-dry-gin

A love letter from two gin fans to the city of Dublin, it adds Dublin Rhubarb [didn’t know this was a thing] along with some traditional gin botanicals to create a gin that is about the place first, but hopes to one day be distilled in the place with a Dublin distillery part of the long term plan.

Lovely, juniper forward nose, with dry, slightly spicy, [smells perhaps like Moroccan] coriander, angelica, and pine notes with grapefruit flourish along the edges. Exceptional and bright, I love this nose, though you do get slight hints of linalool beneath the surface. Perhaps lavender, perhaps the aforementioned rhubarb. The top notes carry the juniper, but this coriander really makes up the body of it, especially as it warms.

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Gin Reviews

Gibson’s London Dry Gin

Gibson's-Gin-Bottle

Gibson’s gin is among the most popular gins in a couple of places not necessarily known for their gin drinking. Readily available in Sweden and France, Gibson’s Gin is something of a rarity in its home range of the United Kingdom.

And of course, on shelves chock full of (now!) hundreds of gin, it can be hard for an inexpensive, and not particularly special looking gin to stand out. However, for all of the times I reach for an inexpensive gin and find that you can judge a book by its cover, I sometimes find a gin like Gibson’s, that is worth well more than what you’re paying for it.

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Gin Reviews

Gordon’s Distillers Cut Gin

Gordon's-Distillers-Cut-2004

Before there was Bombay Sapphire East (and actually around the same time as Tanqueray Malacca), another big name in gin was experimenting with Asian botanicals to expand the category. It adds lemongrass and ginger to the usual Gordon’s formula.

Launched in 2004, Gordon’s Distillers Cut would have been on the vanguard of the contemporary gin revolution; however, tastes hadn’t quite caught up. It was discontinued unceremoniously due to poor sales in 2009, and now bottles can be found on the collector’s market for upwards of a $100.

Tasting Notes

Some classic Gordon’s character on the nose: angelica, green juniper, and spiced ginger loaf, with perhaps a lemongrass icing. Interesting with a bit of Gordon’s and a bit of unexpected.

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Gin Reviews

Pinnacle Gin

Pinnacle-Gin-Bottle

A bargain brand from a name that probably calls to mind vodka before it does gin. In fact, the Pinnacle Brand holds over forty flavored vodkas ranging from citrus to whipped cream. In the tradition of flavoring neutral grain spirit (which for the vodkas comes from a distillery in France), you might not be surprised they take their hand at a gin; however, it’s worth noting that the bottle says it is “distilled in England,” “distilled four times,” and bears the name “London Dry Gin.” So it is in fact something better than the brand itself might otherwise suggest. The botanicals are added via distilliation, and then the final product is cut with water from Wales. Beam Suntory bought the brand from the Maine based White Rock Distilleries a couple years ago, and although inexpensive, I find it a bit of a harder-to-find gin for a national brand.

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Gin Reviews

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin Old Tom

bathtub-gin-old-tom-gin

Price:  £24  / 500 mLABV: 42.4% Distiller: Professor Cornelius Ampleforth/Master of Malt HouseOrigin:  UKAvailability:  UKRating:  (2.5/5)

That name is a mouth-full. But let’s break it down into some helpful definitions:

Bathtub Gin – owing to the fact that legally gin is simply “juniper flavored spirit,” one can make a gin by infusing/macerating, or alternatively “cold compounding” juniper berries and other botanicals in a spirit.

Old Tom Gin – the simplest, widely accepted definition for what an Old Tom Gin is simply a gin which has sweetening added after distillation*. Usually Old Tom gins feature a malty, character-filled base spirit which hasn’t been distilled to the point of being neutral, and often, but not necessarily by definition, have been rested in a barrel, usually for only as long as it needed to travel from distillery to pub.

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Master of Malt house brand based on a legend of a slightly mad Victorian re-creationist who hasn’t met a spirit of yore that he didn’t want to bring back. See Victor Frankenstein**

Tasting Notes

Cardamom, lemon and juniper on the nose, it comes across as sweet without being sweetened per se.

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