Ginvent 2016 – Sharish Blue Magic Gin

img_9765Two weeks down and today’s gin is from Monsaraz, a medieval town in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The traditional juniper and coriander are joined by big hits of citrus from oranges, Alentejo lemons and apples with the earthy notes from cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. The “blue” in the name comes from an all-natural flower extract that means the liquid turns from a chemical blue to a dusky pink when mixed with tonic. I’ve tried a gin like this before and wasn’t impressed so let’s see how Sharish fares…

img_9766I was expecting this to have a harsh, chemical taste (due to the colour) but I’m wrong. The smell is strong, you can sense it from a distance. Slightly floral and sweet, I have absolutely no idea about botanicals from the smell. Straight up, this is pretty bad. No flavour comes through other than a strong, burning flavour. It tastes like fake flavours. Not a fan. Mixed with tonic, the dusky pink colour comes out with a whiff of sherbet (see this below). It doesn’t taste bad. But it also doesn’t taste great. Personally, I’m a bit meh about this. Whilst we all love some colour changing, I think the novelty of that would soon wear off and not leave you with much. And I still have no clue about what is in it.

img_9767Sharish are on Facebook, and is available on Master of Malt for £37.17 (at time of writing) for a 50cl bottle of the 40% Blue Magic gin. I won’t be rushing to buy a bottle, but if you want to impress party guests then this is the one to go for.

What do you think? Worth a try or just a fun gimmick? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.

Catch up on Ginvent here.

Ginvent 2016 – Porter’s Gin

img_974913, unlucky for some, lucky for us Ginventers to be given Porter’s Gin. Another Scottish gin, this time from Aberdeen – already off to a terrible start thanks to terrible childhood memories of a road trip around Scotland… Nightmares to one side, this gin came from a fairly scientific and incredibly pedantic approach. Years of experimenting with botanicals and distillation temperatures led to them settling on their current recipe. Botanicals in this final recipe include cinnamon, coriander, pink peppercorn and buddha’s hand (I will obviously be able to taste this because I totally know what it is…)

img_9750Wow this smells great. A powerful juniper smell hits you right in the back of your nostrils – certainly wakes you up! A sip of it straight drives home the juniper and the cinnamon comes out a bit – warm and tangy on the front of the tongue. It’s quite intense straight (as a good gin usually is), with tonic this is just delightful. Enough flavour to excite you, not so much it’s overpowering. It’s the right balance of sweet and tart, reminiscent of sherbet type sweets. I am a BIG fan. This is brilliant.

img_9751Bottled at 41.5%, the 70cl bottle is available on Master of Malt for £31.95. This is going to be my “don’t be sad it is January” present to myself. I LOVE this.

Find them on social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Do you know what Buddha’s Hand is? Gimme a shout on Twitter and Instagram and let me know. I like learning. Catch up on the last 12 days of Ginvent here.

Ginvent 2016 – Pinkster Gin

img_9694Merry day 12 of Ginmas and today’s Ginvent treat is Pinkster gin. I tried this a few weeks ago when Catriona and I visited the Brighton Gin festival and got rather merry, so it’s nice to have another chance to try this. Pinkster gin is so called after the raspberries used to make it turned the gin a pale pink colour. The raspberries used in the gin are grown locally to their Cambridge base – and any extra are turned into their boozy berries!

img_9696It certainly smells sweeter than the usual gin smell, but not in a cloying way. Straight up, it’s quite intense on the tongue, definitely tastes like gin! The sweeter taste is at the back of the throat – just before the burning taste! Mixed with tonic, it’s light and summery. Not too sweet or tart, it’s well balanced with the drier notes. This would go well in a cocktail (I’m thinking half gin, half Prosecco yes?), or used to jazz up some Pimms in the summer. It doesn’t feel quite right drinking it sat in my bedroom with the heating on full blast, but come summer this would be perfect down the beach.

img_9698A bottle of Pinkster gin is £30.33 on Master of Malt – I think this is about right, I don’t think I would pay more than £30 for the bottle but in the summer this will be a delight. Pinkster are available on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Let me know what you think about Pinkster over on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on Ginvent here.


Ginvent 2016 – Napue Gin

img_9676Not going to lie – I’ve never heard of today’s gin. After a bit of research, it turns out Napue Gin is a small batch gin from the Finnish Kyro Distillery Company using rye grain as the base spirit. This gin won the inaugural IWSC Gin & Tonic trophy, so fingers crossed it’s good! (Side note: I was telling boy about this gin and pronouncing it in a variety of ways, then it appeared on Sunday Brunch and is apparently pronounced “Nap-we”. So there we go.)

img_9679The bottling notes say it is “nose rich in meadow sweet, citrus, cumin and juniper” – hinting at a tangy and spicy flavour. Combined with the rye base, I’m expecting an earthy tone to the gin. Giving it a good sniff, it certainly smells earthy. Deep and cinnamon-y, it smells very nice.

It’s tangy on the front of the tongue, with a smokey taste lingering in your mouth. It’s ever so slightly sweeter than I thought it would be. Mixed with tonic the sweetness comes out a bit more. It’s quite drying, but this simply means you need another mouthful. Oh what a shame. This is a treat. It’s slightly more special than your standard gin, but ‘normal’ enough to have an evening of it. Plus a bit. Not too shabby for day 11.

img_9680You can buy a bottle of Napue Gin on Masters of Malt for £34.95 – which I think is pretty reasonable – and they’re over on Facebook here and over on Instagram.

Have you heard of Napue Gin? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter or Instagram!

Keep up to date with Ginvent here.


Ginvent 2016 – Makar Old Tom Gin

img_9660Welcome to day 10 of Ginvent! Today features a world exclusive taste of a brand new gin – Glasgow Distillery‘s Makar Old Tom Gin. The original gin has been around for a while, with distilling in Glasgow going back as far as 1770 and the Glasgow Distillery Company opening in 1825, launching their reborn Makar Glasgow Gin in 2014. The Old Tom Gin is the newest addition to this family, despite being a gin steeped in history. Am I the only one that loves the mystery around Old Tom Gin? Knocking on a wooden cat sign to receive a shot of gin poured down a pipe during prohibition times?

img_9661“Ooo that’s piercing”. Good start to this gin. I think it smells a bit like a fruit cake. Mixed with tonic, it smells like a nice, mellow gin. The juniper comes to the front, but slightly sweeter. “It’s weirdly kind of…hang on I need another mouthful…mmm…just kind of tastes quite happy”. I think I’ve broken the boy. I think it tastes perfumed, not too heavy on any botanicals but well flavoured. A hint of sweetness stops it being too heavy. I think mixed into a cocktail this gin would come into it’s own. As a straight forward G&T (with no garnish) it’s not the most exciting thing to ever enter my mouth.

img_9662You can grab yourself a bottle of the Old Tom Gin on Master of Malt for £35 which I think is fairly priced – perhaps not for me but then again I’ve not tried too many Old Tom gins. Perhaps a future blog post? Who wants to send me some samples?

You can find them on Twitter and Facebook, and let me know what you think over on Twitter and Instagram.

Catch up on Ginvent over here.

Ginvent 2016 – Elephant Sloe Gin

img_9643img_9645It’s day 9 and we’ve hit another gin I’ve already tried (there’s only about four in the whole of Ginvent) – it’s Elephant Sloe gin! I got this as a sample with my Craft Gin Club delivery a few months back and it is lush. Rather than entirely repeat myself you can check out the full taster here.

Catch up on Ginvent here.

Ginvent 2016 – Tarquin’s The Seadog Navy Strength Gin

img_9633Let’s start week two of Ginvent with a gin that excites me – I tried Tarquin’s gin a long time ago thanks to my father so ramping it up to navy strength is a good prospect. Bottled at 57% instead of the usual 42% it certainly smells more intense. I gave it a sniff, and it whacks you in the face and burns your nose out. Quite a shock to my lazy afternoon.

img_9634Mixed with tonic, it smells very juniper heavy. It’s tastes fairly savoury, I think adding some rosemary wouldn’t go amiss as a garnish. Doesn’t taste as strong as it smells, but the warmth running down my throat says otherwise. I found it very sippable and could happily settle in for an evening with this. Unlike NB’s 57% gin which knocked me out after one drink. This is easy going, despite it’s strength, but have enough flavour to make it stand out.

img_9635You can find a bottle of navy strength gin on Masters of Malt for £40.52 a bottle. Whilst I’m not certain I would go out of my way to buy this, it certainly is a good addition to the collection.

You can find Tarquin’s on Twitter and Facebook, and I’m around for a chat about gin on Twitter and Instagram. Did you miss week one of Ginvent? Catch up here.

Ginvent 2016 – Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin

img_9620It’s the end of week one of Ginvent! Today I get to try the gin with easily my favourite name: Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin. The Irish team behind the gin (Ballyvolane House Spirits Company) were interested in using whey alcohol as a base spirit and after hearing Charles Maxwell’s (Head Distiller at Thames Distillery) approval on the subject they headed home to get experimenting. By batch 19, they’d got it. As of 27 April 2015, Bertha’s Revenge was born. Key ingredients are orange and grapefruit, with a liberal amount of childish enthusiasm and love – hopefully those last two flavours really come out in the tasting!

img_9621Cracking open the bottle, it smells lovely. Considering I know there is a lot of orange in it, it smells great and I’m very excited – the cumin and cardamom come to the front and it smells like a welcoming, gentle curry. Tasting it neat, the spices are clearly a main ingredient, it’s warm and earthy. Mixed with tonic (still sticking with Tesco) it’s incredibly flavoursome. It tastes of an incredible spice blend, not hot spicy but warm earthy cinnamon. Whilst I think it would go brilliantly with ginger beer with tonic it comes to life. I can’t work out what the whey base spirit brings to the party (sorry team) but this is brilliant. If you’re looking for something to jazz up your evening, this will do the trick. “That sip tasted like a fancy sausage roll”. Move over Catriona, the boy is the new taste tester on this blog.

A 70cl bottle of Bertha’s Revenge costs £35.84 on Master of Malt. Personally, I think it’s worth it. Unless you like boring gin, in which case stay away.

img_9622You can get in touch with the team via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let me know what you think about this gin on Twitter and check out my photos on Instagram – and keep up to date with Ginvent here!


Ginvent 2016 – nginious! Smoked and Salted Gin

img_9585As the first week of Ginvent draws to a close, I finally get to try nginious! Smoked and Salted gin. Alongside traditional juniper, bitter orange and coriander there’s quince and ginger. The Swiss distillery also add 40-hour cold smoked chestnuts for a gentle smoky flavour, and stone salt from the Swiss Alps that has been smoked on larch tree boards. This is rather special gin as it is only produced once a year with 3,000 bottles being created in 2015. The full sized bottles are also rather lovely – we know I’m a sucker for a nice bottle.

Smelling it from the bottle I’m confused. It is smoky and salty. Almost slightly fishy. In the glass it’s just as confusing. I’ve had ‘savoury’ gins before that smell herby, but the salt is confusing. I didn’t try it straight because basically my body recoiled in horror from the smell. Adding tonic calms it down a bit and it doesn’t taste like it smells – luckily. But it’s definitely smoked. Like a smoked fish kinda smoke taste. I can’t taste the salt, for me the smokey flavour is overwhelming. I imagine this would go brilliantly with ginger beer or in a dark cocktail. But right now, this isn’t working with just tonic (and as this is the only sample I have I guess I’ll never know). Never thought I’d say that about a gin!

The rarity of this gin means the price is a bit higher than the usual craft gin – on Master of Malt a 50cl bottle is £48.64. Personally, I shan’t be investing. 

nginious! are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

img_9587Let me know what you think on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on Ginvent here.


Ginvent 2016 – Slingsby Gin

img_9562We’ve made it to day 5 and are treated to Slingsby Gin. When I tried this at the Brighton Gin Festival it stunned me to silence – a hard thing to do. Their website opens with a Charles Dickens quote, as if I couldn’t love them more. Based in Harrogate, Slingsby has a long history when William Slingsby discovered the unique properties of the Tewit Well spring water in 1571, giving the town Spa status and this gin a name. The key botanicals are grown locally, and combined with other ingredients in Yorkshire – although some ingredients are imported from around the world.

img_9564It smells just as I remember. Juniper with a hint of fresh rain and lemon. It’s tangy on the tongue with a nice warmth to it. With tonic it’s perfect. I can’t say much more. I love this gin. And I’m happy I still love it. But really sad that it’s only a teeny tiny bottle. To anyone reading this and wondering what to get me for Christmas: it’s this gin please.

A bottle of Slingsby gin is currently £39.95 on Master of Malt and you’ll be fighting me for a bottle, and you can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

What do you think? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t miss a day of Ginvent by clicking here.