Have you ever had the discussion about “what makes a craft gin, craft”? For me, there are many factors but I’m also interested in the story and the dedication to the gin. Smeaton’s gin is one of those such gins. They use the “Bristol method” which involves distilling each botanical separately, and each batch of distillates varies in maceration length and temperature of distillation to ensure that the very best flavours are achieved. They base their gin on a recipe from 1870 and use eight botanicals, usual suspects juniper, coriander, orange, orris, angelica and liquorice meet cinnamon and calamus – a plant commonly used to help with stomach ailments. Team Smeaton feel that no garnish is needed for their gin as they invest their time into blended it to the perfect taste so nothing is needed to enhance it. Bold claims, so let’s see how it tastes.
The smell from the bottle is definitely gin, there’s juniper and there is citrus. Not too complex, nothing strange in the mix. In the glass, a hint more perfume drifts up but it stays fairly neutral. Sipping it neat brings a vegetal taste to the tongue, there’s a hint of citrus round the edges and a warmth right in the middle of the tongue from the cinnamon. I like this.
Adding a splash of Fentimans premium tonic, and this retains a lot of flavour. This tastes like more than your standard gin and tonic, and actually I feel bad for labelling it neutral earlier. The flavours are well balanced so nothing feels too wacky, it’s crisp and bright but with a warmth that washes over you. There’s a sharpness that kinda hits you in the back of the throat that takes a little getting used to but if you’re more restrained and don’t knock it back, you”ll be fine.
You can get your hands on a 70cl bottle of Smeaton’s from Master of Malt for £44.95 (at time of writing). This is pretty pricey. I think if this were around the £35 then I would be getting myself a bottle, but personally I really can’t justify spending over that for a bottle of gin. Sorry. You can find Smeaton’s on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.