Articles Tagged: United Kingdom

Gin Reviews

Gordon’s Gin

gordon's gin -bottle

Here’s another in another in a series of famous/popular gins that I’m giving a better treatment to. I think that my initial review of Gordon’s might not have given the same thorough treatment that I’ve given other gins. Given its status as one of the most senior gins out there [having been produced since 1769!] I think it would only be right to give it a more thorough review.

As before, the original review is still available if you want to see what we originally said.

In <100 Words

Ask some pedants “What’s your favorite Scottish gin” and they might reply “Gordon’s.” Although it originated in England, the UK version is currently distilled at Cameron Bridge in Scotland. The variation I have was not distilled in Scotland, it was distilled in Canada, and bottled in Norwalk, Connecticut. Gordon’s is truly international. So the idea that it’s of the place where it is distilled is somewhat nonsensical. It is British in origin, but it’s provenance has transcended the place where grain is turned into gin.  It’s purported to have at least four botanicals in it. Juniper, coriander and angelica are oft repeated and likely to definitely be among the bill.

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Gin Reviews

N.B. Gin

North Berwick Gin

Scotland seems to be no longer content to be simply known to gin geeks as the “place where some of the biggest gins in the world are distilled.” NB Gin stands out among its Scottish gin peers for not trying too hard to be Scottish. You might be thinking of some of those other guys that have tried using a Scottish base spirit as a gimmick, or trying to use a whole slew of exotic Scottish countryside herbs. But not NB Gin. It takes a more traditional road towards being a good gin.

In our own <100 words

The Muirs, husband and wife, have teamed up to create this latest Scottish gin. Their attention to detail is evident in their choice of facilities. A traditional copper pot still? Manual controls? Although the latter is shared with most small gins, the mission statement is clear: NB Gin is small batch and has been given close attention at every step. Like a master craftsman, they call out no stops in their botanical choice. Working with eight of the most common ingredients in gin (see below), the end result is more a result of close attention to the nuance of the ingredients than any exotic note the botanicals might bring.

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Gin Reviews

Sacred Gin

sacred gin bottle

When you hear about small batch gins from the UK, you’re likely to hear a few names over and over. Ian Hart’s Sacred Gin is one of those names:

In our own (<100) words

Sacred Gin is distilled differently than many gins. Each botanical is distilled individually in a high-pressure/low-temperature vacuum still. The distillates are then blended to create the final product. Proponents of vacuum still say that not heating the botanicals during distillation creates a brighter, more flavorful final product. Sacred’s emphasis is on small-scale and craft as in “hand crafted.” Also distilled in London for extra “street cred,” so it’s got that going for it too.

Tasting Notes

The nose is as subtle as it is balanced: warm orange, vibrant springy juniper. Hint of spice, cardamom with a slight note of ethanol.

The palate is clean and dry initially. Quiet gives way to building intensity with bitter lemon, cassia and cardamom in the mid palate, roaring towards an intense crescendo, floral high. Baking spice again, nutmeg and cinnamon, but a faint resiny bitterness is left as the heat subsides. It definitely plays with some of the notes of contemporary styled gins while using the structure of dry gin as a template.

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Gin Reviews

Chase Single Botanical Gin

juniper vodka

Q. When is a gin also a vodka?

Q. When is a vodka also a gin?

Chase Distillery probes at the “uncanny valley” of the cocktail world, that place where gin and vodka intersect, where their similarities put on display for all to see.

A. Gin, by law, is required merely to have juniper added to it. Yep, that’s all. While terminologies such as “London Dry,” “London Cut,” “Distilled” and others seek to more specifically indicate what a gin is and should be, the law is pretty clear on it. You can add juniper to vodka and you technically have a gin. And what happens when you add natural herbal flavorings to a vodka? You get a whole host of spirits that rang from Aquavit, to other so called botanical vodkas, to gin.

Tasting Notes

My advice is not to look too hard. You know the only botanical: it’s juniper. As we saw previously with the Origin series of gins from Master of Malt, the expression of juniper on its own can differ, and in some ways quite radically.

The nose is piney and bright, but with a certain delicateness that calls to mind other herbal aromas, with a touch of lemony sweetness.

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Gin Reviews

Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin

Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin

Of all the gins to come out of the UK in the last few years, you’d be hard pressed to find one that’s had more accolades bestowed upon it than Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin.

Sion Edwards and Tom Warner [hence the name…] met in Agricultural school, are lifelong friends, and they’re not distilling gin on the Warner family farm. They consider themselves gin aficionados, so Warner Edwards Gin is a product of love and passion, trial and error. They’ve written the entire story themselves on their site, so I’d be remiss to paraphrase and re-write it all here. But suffice to say, their agricultural background means that this gin is steeped in all of the philosophies of craft spirits: good high quality ingredients, and good water, are all vital to make a good spirit.

My expectations are high heading in. Let’s get down to the tasting notes:

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Citrus and baking spice. Strong hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, cardamom and a faint hint that calls to mind cola. Quite interesting, and unique. Bright and spicy. The citrus seems squarely to be orange peel.

Palate: Very complex. Juniper, cinnamon, initially.

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Gin Reviews

Ford’s Gin

Ford's gin bottle

You’re starting to see more and more of this: call it a bonafide trend if you must. Simon Ford made this gin for mixing. For bartenders. For mixologists. For the way that most people drink their gin.

Simon Ford comes with some rather lofty credentials. Some of the gins he’s recently worked with and on include: Plymouth ()Dorothy Parker () and Perry’s Tot (). In fact, in this gin blogger’s opinion not anywhere near a bad gin between them. Out of this experience, Ford’s Gin arose. London Distilled at Thames Distillers, the bottle and feel is steeped heavily in British Colonial icongraphy. References to India, travel, and empire are all prominently placed— and why not? After all, London Gin was distinctly colored by colonialism. The juxtaposition of Eastern hemisphere botanicals, Western Europe botanicals, and the lore of being consumed by shipmen of the British Navy, to do anything less would be a disservice to the history behind it? No?

But oddly Ford’s gin stands against a trend we’re seeing in gin distilling. While many distilleries are going local, or seeking to create a notion of place, Ford’s Gin uses history and lore to create a sense of place [and tradition].

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Gin Reviews

Bombay Dry Gin

bombay-bottle (1)

Today we’re going mainstream.

Yep.

I know a lot of folks like to hear about craft gins, but I also know there’s been a lot of “what do you think about this gin,” where this is a gin that you can find on the shelf of every liquor store worth its salt from sea to shining sea on both sides of the Atlantic.

Today, we’re going to look at Bombay Dry Gin. You might know the name better from the Sapphire blend which was among the pioneers in putting all the botanicals clearly on the back of the bottle [something Bombay Dry does now also] and one of the first crossover gins designed to appeal to folks who don’t really dig the juniper forward gins of yore.

First and foremost, this is a gin of yore. Juniper forward, this is a gin that is classic in style though has a few flourishes to set it apart. Let’s get to the tasting notes, shall we?

Tasting Notes. Neat we have lemon fresh and lots of juniper. Strongly gin like. The lemon notes seem to overwhelm and dominate the nose on this at the end.

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Gin Reviews

Finsbury Gin 60%

finsbury-60

 

What comes above Navy Strength?

The Spectrum of Gins, click to enlarge

 

I’ve speculated in previous posts that such a place exists: the place where spirits are better suited for setting things ablaze than they are for drinking. But Finsbury, dares tread in a place few have dared to go.

There’s a 130 Proof rum. A 151 Proof rum. Whiskeys and the like have been known to occasionally clock in above 120.

But the nearest parallel I can come up with New Jersey’s Devil Springs Vodka, a 160 proof monster. Has a similar low shelf appearance to Finsbury [and similar price point]. While few folks use Devil’s Spring to drink straight it has some important uses. Powerful-little-goes-a-long-way additive for drinks and great option for infusion. Though 60% is only a hair above Navy Strength, this is uncharted territory and as it stands, this is one of the strongest gins I know of*

Tasting The nose is strongly juniper with a hint of alcohol. It smells a bit potent, and a bit inexpensive. Yes, lots of alcohol. But it doesn’t quite burn on the nose. Good sign.

Juniper present immediately on the taste, bright citrus.

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Gin Reviews

Gilt Gin

giltginbottle

When Gilt Gin burst onto the scene I remember a couple of folks on Twitter saying “New Make Scotch?! That’s not even a thing!” Well for the sake of clarification, its just that the base is made of malted barley 100%. Which is the same base neutral spirit which would be used to make Scotch Whisky if they chose to pursue that route. They haven’t. Technically, there’s nothing “Scotch” about this, except that it is Scottish. And Scottish Gin is definitely a thing, a trend, and an emerging area of the gin thing that’s exploding everywhere.

Nose/Taste A little bit of hay/grass on the nose. A tad bit of sweetness as well and a touch of anise. The taste is crisp juniper at first, a building bit of heat, caramel and burnt sugar in the middle, giving it a touch of sweetness. Lots of earthy notes. Coriander, citrus and anise again. The closing warm with a touch of heat and Orris root.

Mixing/Drinks A little bit discordant in a gin and tonic. Though it doesn’t have as strongly of a whiskey character as some of the other novel grain bases, it does have that sort of “this just doesn’t meld” sort of taste.

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Gin Reviews

Worship Street Whistling Shop Cream Gin

master-of-malt-cream-gin

If I told you that in terms of volume, 1/7th of your bottle of Cream Gin is actually cream, you might say I’m crazy. After all, there’s no hint as to where thick white color of cream might be.

Cream gin is the result of cold distillation with the cream as an actual botanical. And it’s cold, so the cream is never heated and therefore never denatures or does whatever weird flavor things that burnt milk is wont to do. A throwback to the Victorian Era, Master of Malt tells us.

Suffice to say, the folks at Master of Malt have been experimenting left and right in the last year or so, releasing gin after gin.

Although I’m lactose-intolerant [I don’t think there’s any lactose sneaking through…is there? should I be packing some dairy pills?] I’m rather excited about Cream Gin. Let’s get down to business.

So how about this meck*? The nose is a bit vanilla, with hints of citrus, juniper, and alcohol. Not very hot in terms of the alcohol, but it gives off a certain rubbing alcohol smell. The vanilla/cream odor dominates, but nowhere near as loud as you might expect it to be.

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