Note: I emailed Colombo 7 to ask for a sample for the blog and they kindly sent me a WHOLE BOTTLE. Big fan already, but as always I’ll let you know if I don’t like the taste.
Colombo No.7 is a London Dry Gin with a Sri Lankan influence. Using seven botanicals – four of which are native to Sri Lanka (Cinnamon Bark, Curry Leaves, Ginger Root and Coriander Seeds) which combine with a base of juniper, liquorice and angelica to “create a beautifully balanced, subtly spiced gin”. I’m hoping this is a good type of spiced gin, not a bad one. 70 years ago, this shocked British Export Officers into passing a law allowing gin to be made in South Asia, and now the recipe is being used to make small batch gin.
Cracking open the seal and popping open the cork it smells like cardamom – slightly spiced. As cardamom is not apparently a botanical, I imagine this is from the curry leaves and cinnamon. It smells warm and comforting. In the glass, the smell mellows slightly and mixed with water it has a good flavour to it. It is earthy but not too deep, quite refreshing. You know that feeling when you have a mint then breathe in and your tongue goes a bit tingly? Imagine that. But more cinnamony.
Mixing it up with some Fever Tree Indian Tonic (I’ve just run 5 miles so I’m allowed the full sugar version), the bitterness from the tonic helps bring out the juniper taste and it tones down the curry-like flavours. It has a slight sweetness at the back of the throat which helps to balance out the flavours. It was slightly jarring at first, but now I’m a few sips in I’m quite enjoying it. I’m not certain this would be my gin of choice on a gloomy evening in Hove, but this would go down a treat on a hot afternoon in the Asian sunshine.
A 43% bottle of Colombo gin is currently (sold out) £32.95 on Master of Malt. I’m not sure I’d pay over the £30 mark for this, but it’s something a bit different for the gin cabinet. You can follow Colombo on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Note: I emailed McQueen Gin for a sample for the blog and Dale McQueen kindly sent one. As always, if I don’t like it I will say so.
McQueen Gin is another new Scottish Gin (because I’m Scottish and hate whiskey much to my Dad’s disappointment so I’m drinking lots of Scottish gin to make up for it) made at Trossachs Distillery in Callander. The distillery opened in July 2015, with four gins launching in June 2016: Mint Chocolate Gin, Sweet Citrus Gin, Smokey Chilli and Dry Gin – the version I have today. They launched the new Spiced Chocolate Orange gin earlier this year. Now to be clear, these are not flavoured gin liqueurs, these are proper 42% clear gins. Each batch is hand made and bottled from their distillery – in beautiful bottles may I add, the full size bottles are hand poured cobalt blue ceramic bottles. Sadly my taster bottle isn’t quite as pretty.
Smelling it from the bottle it certainly smells dry and predominately juniper – we’re off to a good start. In the glass it smells a bit stronger, with a definite kick to it and mixed with water it tastes like a good strong gin. Juniper heavy with a hint of citrus, this feels like a classic gin. Slightly perfumed, the taste lingers for a while.
Mixing it into a G&T with Regency Tonic (which, coincidentally is produced three roads away from my flat and is utterly light and delicious), this surprised me (I admit, this might be the introduction of a new tonic or the gin or both). It is very light on the tongue, with the juniper toned down but still at the forefront of the flavour on the back of the tongue. The edges are laced with citrus and spice (and everything nice). This gin has surprised me. Imagine a classic gin and tonic, with a whole load of new surprises to it. Not cloying enough to not want another, and certainly surprising enough to come back for a second.
A 50cl bottle of the signature Dry Gin is currently £29.95 on Master of Malt. I think you should grab a bottle. And find some Regency Tonic while you’re at it. You can find McQueen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Have you tried McQueen gins? What do you think? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.
I emailed Persie Gin to ask for a sample for then blog and Tim kindly sent me a sample of their Herby and Aromatic Gin – as always you’ll know if I don’t like it. What I do really like are their postcards that come with their gin.
Persie Gin hails from Glenshee in the highlands of Perthshire (in the huge Cairngorms National Park right in the middle of Scotland). Persie’s leaflet that I received states that 70% of the gin consumed in the UK is made in Scotland – and I’m not surprised. More and more distilleries are opening in Scotland (I refer you once more to the WSTA gin trail of Scotland) with Persie opening just one year ago in March 2016. They already have three gins to their name: 42% Zesty Citrus full of limes and blood orange; 43% Sweet and Nutty with hints of vanilla, butterscotch and almonds; and the one I’m trying today, Herby and Aromatic (40%) with bay, rosemary and basil. I’m noticing a trend in gins towards a more savoury serve, many gins are now recommending rosemary as a garnish so I’m intrigued to see how this gin stands up. Persie focus on the aroma of the gin – with 75% of flavour coming from the smell they placed an emphasis on creating gins that smell and taste good. They say “a simple sniff of Persie Gin can cause a flood of warm and fuzzy feelings”. We’ll see about that. But then they do say “We nose our gin” and I bloody love a terrible pun so I’m on board.
Opening the bottle it certainly smells savoury, my amateur gin nose can certainly sense that it uses herbs as a botanical – a smell that opens up in the glass. Mixed with a touch of water, the aromatic-ness of the gin comes to life. That is a MIGHTY smell to it. The smell is stronger than the taste when you first get it on your tongue, but once you’ve swallowed it and taken a breath your mouth comes alive. It tastes slightly like when you aren’t paying attention when cooking and throw in a lot more herbs than intended. Not unpleasant, but something is a little out of balance. At 40% it has a fair bit of bite to it as well.
Mixed with some light Fever Tree (having just been for a 5k run I’m being healthy and all that…) the overpowering herbyness tones down and mixes well with the dry tonic. They suggest garnishing it with some basil leaves. I obviously do not have this in my kitchen as I am an underprepared gin blogger. However, I do have (dried) bay leaves, and as this is a botanical I gave it a google and am being experimental. I will not hold this against the gin if this doesn’t work. As it turns out, a dried bay leaf doesn’t make much difference.
A bottle of the Herby and Aromatic gin is currently on sale for £26.65 on Master of Malt. This is not my favourite gin, but I should have guessed this as I know I like dry, citrusy gins. Whilst I don’t hate it, I’m not certain I’d want more than one of them, so I’m glad it’s not up in the £40 price bracket. It does definitely deliver on their promise of a big smell – the smell, particularly when straight, really emphasises the herbs and adds another dimension to the taste. You can find Persie on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you tried Persie Gin? Or their other flavours? Let me know what you think on Twitter and Instagram.
A bit of history about me: one of my first jobs was working in financial events. We were organising events about investment when crowdfunding came along. A game changer for small businesses, I actually helped to write one of the first books on crowdfunding (also an Amazon number one bestseller, available here if you’re interested in seeing my name in print). How is this relevant to gin you ask? Well a few months ago I saw that a new gin was launching via a crowdfunding campaign. I had a nosy. I spent £20. And here we are. Two small bottles of gin, two copa glasses, some extra treats and a nice mini-certificate. I should point out that one of my glasses arrived smashed (see picture) but they have been very lovely and are sending me a new one as I type.
Tinker is a British made, Spanish style gin. After beating their target and raising over £17,000 in just 28 days, they have now launched with their non-juniper heavy gin. I’m worried slightly. I really like the dryness that comes with juniper. Filled with botanicals such as orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and elderberries, Tinker are aiming for a classic gin with a contemporary twist.
As I received two 5cl samples, I’m going for the Ginvent approach – sniffing it, having it straight then as a G&T. No watering it down. Cracking open my little bottle it smells almost like a perfume – citrusy but not in an overpowering way and slightly floral – or as the boy describes it “softly fruity”. In the glass, it’s sharper (again I imagine from the citrus) and very fresh. Sipping it neat it’s certainly alcoholic, but the juniper isn’t as pronounced as usual. It’s very fresh and bold with the flavours, with a slight spiciness at the front of the tongue. Boy’s verdict? “It doesn’t taste as it smells but it’s still quite easy to drink”. Mixing it with tonic (Fever Tree Light) this is really good. I was worried as I know it’s less focused on the juniper than a typical London Dry, but this is really light and fresh. Still feels like a gin, but it’s very bright. It’s light, but still drying (my favourite part of a gin). It’s made the boy go for a second mouthful which is unusual. He seems to think it tastes smokey – it has a lingering taste. I don’t quite agree but I LOVE this,
Tinker Gin are available exclusively at GinFestival, where a 40% bottle of gin is £35 (at time of writing) which I really think is a good price. Considering it is a new gin to the market who were bought to market by crowdfunding, this really is a cracking gin. You can find Tinker Gin on Twitter and Facebook.
It’s the best time of year again – my Craft Gin Club delivery arrived! Another bumper box includes a full bottle of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, a bottle of Peter Spanton No. 9 Cardamom Tonic, New York Delhi Wasabi Peas, Butler’s Milk Chocolate Irish Cream Truffle Bar and, if there’s any room left, Ten Acres Sweet and Sour Crisps. After my tumble down the stairs the other week, this was finally a ray of sunshine. Can we also take a moment to talk about how beautifully designed this month’s copy of Ginned is? Mostly just for the cracking travel photos. Which leads nicely into the gin – based in Ireland with botanicals from around the world, this gin is the brainchild of Patrick J. Rigney. Whilst travelling in Morocco, he discovered Chinese Gunpowder green tea. Blended with grapefruits from Indonesia, kaffir limes from Cambodia, juniper from Macedonia, and caraway seed and cardamom from India, this gin’s botanical list is basically my travel bucket list. I’m fully expecting a big, bold gin with this one – anything that crams so many flavours in to one bottle is never going to be dull.
Opening the bottle and pulling out the branded cork, it smells gentler than I anticipated, but opened up in the glass it hits you. Big, bold and zesty it hits your nostrils with a bam. Loosened up with some water, it is more savoury than I anticipated. It’s quite deep in flavour and heavy but not too oaky. A hint of spice at the edges but with a lightness at the front of the tongue.
I decided it would be rude to not try it with the tonic provided (which on its own is very yummy and exciting, slight hints of curry from the cardamom but the lightness of the tonic, I wouldn’t normally drink tonic on its own but this tastes really exciting) and the cardamom from the tonic highlights the more exotic flavours and it tastes absolutely nothing like a normal gin and tonic. I’m suddenly really gutted that I was too lazy to go buy a lime to garnish this with. It’s not too heavy, but also not too “strange” – we know from ginvent I’m not a massive fan of overly flavoured gins but this one has a good balance to it. It’s different to your usual tipple, and I imagine will work well with normal tonic, ginger beer or in a cocktail to add some depth of flavour. At first taste I wasn’t sure of this, but the more I drink the more I’m used to the flavour. I really like the little hit of citrus at the back of your throat which helps to lighten the drink.
You can find a bottle of the 43% gin on Master of Malt for £31.50 (at time of writing). My opinion – invest in a bottle. It will spice up your evenings without being too wacky. You can get in touch with Drumshanbo on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.