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Gin Reviews

Ferdinand’s Saar Quince

ferdinands-saar-quince-spirit

Featuring 30 (!) botanicals, Ferdinand Saar Gin is already something of a beast. It combines common botanicals (angelica, coriander, ginger), less common, but still regularly seen ones (lavender, rose) and then there’s those which are really unusual (sloe, rarely seen as a botanical, lemon thyme) – but wait! It’s then cut with Riesling wine (Germany, kind of known for that). And in the case of the Quince gin, it’s a Sloe gin homage, using the local quince grown right at the distillery, with a touch of sweetening. It’s a lovely golden hue.

Impressions

On the nose, there’s ginger, wet, herbal notes, a touch of fruit, slight bits of rose and bobs of vanilla.

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Gin Reviews

Averell Damson Gin Liqueur

averell-damson

Another New York take on Sloe Gin, Averell Damson Gin has two things going for it: The Damson is another local specialty, and upstate farms are known for their Damson harvests. The second thing is, for a cordial gin, it’s bottled at a relatively high proof: 66. Because of that you get a strong, spirit that holds up to drinking neat and in cocktails. Let’s take a closer look.

Tasting Notes

The color is a deep burgandy red, bole/terra rosa, with a rich brown note.

Neat, the nose is spicy with hints if cinnamon and ginger. Cherry jam in the middles notes with sweet raspberry with a tart edge in lows. Touch or orange and citrus highlights as well.

On the palate, starts with a beautiful flourish of spice and fruit up front, rising in unison with a sharp and bright rise. Little bit of gin notes in the background, what tastes like a hint of juniper, with some spice again. Definitely taste some gin in here. Possibly owing to the proof of the spirit, the base character comes through quite sharply.

Cocktails

First, in the Sloe Gin Fizz it has a sweet and surprisingly subtle character.

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Gin Reviews

Greenhook Beach Plum

greenhook-gin-bottle

Greenhook’s Beach Plum Gin is an infusion of local Beach Plums in Greenhook’s namesake American Dry Gin (). Although made with local plums, it is squarely part of the Sloe Gin tradition. It’s bottled at a slightly higher proof than most other gins of this type, coming in at comparatively robust 30%. It’s sweetened with Turbiando sugar.

The gin itself as a lovely ruby color, shimmering in a bright deep red.

What’s a Beach Plum? It’s a native east coast of the united states bush that grows in coastal sand dunes.

The small fruits are edible and when not being used to make local gins, they are used in wines and jams. The fruits are edible and there are specific cultivars which have been bred to produce more delectable fruits.

The plant is also common enough to be the namesake for several places along the East coast, including the evocative “Plum Island,” New York or Plum Cove, Massachusetts.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, lemon, lime, chamomile tea most brightly. You start to get some spiced notes as well with cinnamon and ginger, before the drink settles into a rich mid and low-note profile with red raspberry.

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Gin Reviews

Hayman’s Sloe Gin

haymans-bottle

Hayman’s Sloe Gin is the first of our Sloe Gin reviews this week that we can say is better known for their gin. Or to say, they even make their own gin. Indeed, the base spirit underlying their Sloe Gin is Hayman’s London Dry Gin. It’s made by steeping sloes and sweetening after the fact, diluted to a ABV of 26%.

Tasting Notes

The color is reddish brown, burgandy with the color of a fortified red wine.

The nose is bright ripe berries, strawberry, orange, with some sweetened citrus in the mid-notes, and some spice hints in the lower notes. But as with most sloe gins, the overwhelming olfactory character is ripe, bright fruit.

The palate is bright fruit once again: plum, grilled cherries, tart and sweet. Notes of ruby red grapefruit, leaning towards a touch of citrus on the finish with hints of nutmeg and sugar. Tart, but quasi-dry finish, with a lingering medicinal sweetness. Overall, while on its own it works, I prefer the way that cocktails tend to mute the medicinal notes on the finish, and better highlight the tart, bright sweetness that is available on the initial taste and mid-notes.

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Gin Reviews

Strawberry Bank Damson Gin

Strawberry Bank Damson Gin

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.

Tasting Notes

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.

Cocktails

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.

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Gin Reviews

Lyme Bay Winery Sloe Gin

lyme-bay-sloe-gin-bottle

Lyme Bay Winery specializes in making traditional English recipes using modern methodologies. There’s few things more traditional than Sloe Gin, the old hunting beverage. Fortunately with a renewed interest in high quality cocktails, there’s been a renewed interest in this one maligned spirit. How does Lyme Bay’s Reserve Liqueur Sloe Gin stand up against the competition?

Firstly, the gin: it’s a “London Gin” steeped with “whole fruits” and added sugar. “No concentrates or colors.” It is reduced to a strength of 26%.

The color is amber with a reddish gold hue, almost leaning slightly more to the gold side of the spectrum.

Tasting Notes

Tart plum in the top, rich pungent and over-ripe notes, these dominate with a rich full bodied Sloe flavor until the low notes where we can catch some hints of gin complexity on the edge. Robust and very fruit forward. Though on the nose, it seems less sweet at first scent than other Sloe Gins.

The palate has some sweetness at first, with a juniper/coriander life that segues into rich, ripe berry. Berry in the middle, with the finish leaning rich, bursting cherry. Juniper, lemon, and a touch of angelica and spice in the low notes.

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