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%.
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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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.
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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.
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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