When Pickering’s Gin opened up shop at the Edinburgh based Summerhall Distillery they were the first new gin distillery to open there in nearly a century and a half! Although new, the recipe for the signature gin isn’t. The 1947 recipe [hence the name] starts with a rather traditional juniper, coriander, cinnamon and citrus, and adds some fennel, anise and cloves. The botanicals are macerated for a day in grain spirit and then distilled on a Portuguese built pot still; however, the real secret they say is in their Bain-marie [better known as a double boiler] .
The 1947 Gin is a slight variant on their mainline gin which features the more traditional angelica instead of cinnamon in the botanical bill
The nose leads with a spicier aroma than the original Pickering’s. Strong fennel, with clear clove, cardamom and cinnamon in the background. It’s perhaps gin-like in the sense alone that these spices are common in gin. At first blush though, it’s all about the spice.
The palate is luscious and thick, with chewy anise and fennel, almost reminiscent of biting into a Springerle cookie. While fennel early and anise late dominate the palate, there’s a clear note of juniper as well as some lemon zest and coriander on the finish.
However, I think that cookie tasting note is apt, because I can’t shake that vivid comparison from my mind sipping Pickering’s Gin. Let me say that although it is heavy on the anise, it’s the other spices and notes which readily distinguish this from an Anisette or other anise-only sort of spirit. The spices and citrus add a rich complexity that rounds it out. Certainly, I’d suggest if fennel and anise don’t appeal to your palate, you’re probably not going to find much to like here. But if you do, you’re in luck.
Owing to the botanical complexity, I really enjoyed the Martini and Hot Toddy here. The warmth in the latter especially creates a delicate spice tea like nose and the warmth brings out some more clove and cardamom. Especially recommended, if a Mulled Gin is to your liking, you might not even need to drop in a lot of the classic mulling spices: they’re all here. Finally, I’d also suggest a Gin Alexander. The overall taste feels very holiday cookies and spice to me, and the cream really elevates that to another level.
Absolutely delicious to fans of spice-forward contemporary style gin. Your opinion on this one probably begins with the question “how do you feel about anise-like flavors?” If your answer is no, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. If it does, you’ll find a lot to like about this spirit.
What Pickering’s Gin 1947 lacks in overall balance, it makes up for in distinctive character. I’m a fan, but it’s likely to be a divisive gin.