Twelve Keys gin

Note: I met the Twelve Keys team on their launch day at Junipalooza and they kindly gave me their final bottle to put on the blog, but as always, I’ll let you know what I think.

Twelve Keys gin is new. Brand new. I mean they literally launched at Junipalooza on 9 June. They also have a beautiful man in their advertising. But that’s irrelevant (it’s not). Inspired by Basil Valentine – a 15th century alchemist – the twelve botanicals vary from honey (from their own wildflower meadow) to fig, quince, basil and apricot. The fruits are balanced with caraway, frankincense and cinnamon to create a rounder flavour. When I tried this at Junipalooza, they garnished this with a coffee bean and a small piece of fig, and the coffee bean added a depth to the flavour – and I don’t even like coffee!

Continue reading

Fatty’s Organic Gin

Note: I contacted Fatty’s Organic gin and they kindly sent me a sample to try, but as always, you’ll know if I don’t like it.

You certainly can’t miss Fatty’s Organic gin on a shelf – the bright green bottle makes sure of that. At the heart of the brand is the need to be organic. Not just slightly organic but 100% organic. In all my drinking time, I’ve only come across one other gin that claims to be 100% organic (although please do correct me if I’m wrong) and I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the next shift for craft gins. Unable to find many options, Fatty (as she is affectionately known) started experimenting in her garden shed. Living in Dulwich, dill became her primary flavour – did you know that Dulwich historically means “the meadow where dill grows”? No, me either. Fatty has worked alongside The Soil Association to ensure everything is done properly, and has been accredited by them.

Continue reading

Ashmolean Gin

Note: From a previous career, I know one of the co-founders of TOAD gin and when I met them at Junipalooza they kindly gave me a sample to try. As always, I will let you know what I think.

Ashmolean Gin is the product of the collaboration of The Oxford Artisan Distillery and the Ashmolean Museum of art and archaeology. Different to the TOAD gin you might recognise, this gin is inspired by the museum’s collections from around the world and features 17 botanicals including jara lemon, rose, jasmine and spices from the Middle East and Asia. This is complemented by the label illustration taken from Spray of ‘Morning Glory’ by Takeuchi Seiho, a piece you can see if you visit their Eastern Art collection. TOAD are the first distillery to open in Oxford and have an ethos around distilling spirits from grain to glass using heritage grains from a 50 mile radius of their site – all sustainably grown and managed.

Continue reading

Lakes Gin – Explorer Edition

A while ago, Lakes gin kindly sent me a sample of their delicious gin (review of which you can read here). They have a range of spirits in their collection including a whisky and a vodka. My housemate kindly bought home a bottle of their Explorer gin for me to try. This is a special edition gin produced from a single batch distillation using juniper grown in Cumbria and another four botanicals which are native to the Lake District National Park. Their original gin has 10 botanicals in total with an ABV of 43.7% and the Explorer edition bumps this up to 15 botanicals and 47.1% ABV. This gives it a long and aromatic finish with zesty, herbal notes.

Continue reading

Elg No. 4 Gin

Now, you may have already read my blog posts about Elg gin No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Today we try the fourth gin in their range. You probably know my feelings about colour changing gin; it’s usually achieved by adding something to the distillation that has no effect on the flavour and is only added for the colour. This gin is different. Elg gin uses three botanicals – juniper, coriander seed and Danish carrots and the only difference between their No. 1 gin and this one is that the carrots used are Danish black carrots. These are soaked in pure wheat alcohol for three days which results in the rich colour which is filled with natural antioxidants. I know that this is still done for the colour, but at least the botanical is also adding the flavour – and it is the same botanical as their usual recipe. Let’s see how this one compares to the rest.

Continue reading

Elg No. 3 Gin

You may have seen that I’ve already tried Elg No. 1 (traditional gin) and Elg No. 2 (Old Tom) and so today we – rather logically – move on to the third in their range. Elg No. 3 is a mighty 57.2% – using the same three-botanical recipe but diluted with less water. This additional ABV is designed to give the gin a much more intense flavour and aroma.

Continue reading

Elg No.2 Gin

So you might have seen my post about the March Craft Gin Club delivery which contained a bottle of Elg No.1 gin – which was very nice FYI. The team at Stone Grange distillery got in touch and offered to let me try the rest of the range. And, because I like gin, I said yes. So today we are trying their No.2 gin which is an Old Tom style gin. It is slightly lower in ABV than their No. 1 gin at 46.3% – which is still going to have quite a kick to it and they suggest drinking it neat (eep!) or with some ginger beer. Their Old Tom has quite a distinctive colour to it – they take their original three botanicals (juniper, coriander seed and carrot for those that missed the last blog) and add an alcohol extract of juniper which gives it the colour and the sweetness. The extract is made by soaking dried juniper berries in pure wheat alcohol for four weeks. FOUR WEEKS. Considering a lot of gin only really takes a few days to make, this is taking the craft to the next level.

Continue reading

Empress 1908 Gin

The other day I told you about my good gin friend Cherry Constable, today’s gin is courtesy of the awesome Rev. Mary Hawes. Empress 1908 original indigo gin hails from Canada and is a vibrant blue thanks to an infusion of butterfly pea bottom – making the colour 100% authentic and natural. The addition of citrus or tonic turns the gin to a soft pink. Now, I’ve tried some colour changing gins before and been entirely unimpressed with the flavour which leaves the colour change just as a gimmick to me. However, I’m always open to having my opinion changed. The gin features eight botanicals and is traditional in flavour with notes of juniper and grapefruit at the front. Continue reading

Glorious Gin

You may have read before that I think Cherry Constable is a great friend. And I am right. Another postal delivery bought a sample of Glorious gin – no, I’m not just fawning over it already, that’s the name. Hailing from Breuckelen Distilling in Brooklyn, they make Glorious Gin – distilled from a wheat spirit distilled with grapefruit, ginger and fresh rosemary – and an oak aged version alongside a series of whiskeys. The list of botanicals intrigues me – juniper, lemon and grapefruit peel are all pretty usual, but adding ginger should give it a bit of fire, and the rosemary should balance it with a more herbal nose. One of their suggested cocktails is a twist on a Tom Collins which is garnished with thyme leaves.

Continue reading

Elg No.1 Gin

Happy March! Along with the snow, March brings us a delivery from Craft Gin Club yay! This month’s delivery includes a bottle of Elg No.1 Gin all the way from Denmark, along with a bottle of Franklin & Sons light tonic, a bottle of Newton’s Appl Fizzics, a jar of Bonne Maman marmalade, a bar of Divine dark chocolate and hazelnut, and a bag of Pipers jalapeno and dill crisps. Yay to being snowed in for the weekend! Elg gin comes from a place of science, founder Henrik used to be a biochemist. The unusual thing about this gin is that it only uses three botanicals. Juniper, coriander seed and danish carrot. Yes, carrot. Apparently the distilled carrot enhances the juniper, and that was Henrik’s aim. He looked back at historic recipes and wanted his gin to truly taste of the piney juniper. Despite the lack of botanicals, this gin doesn’t lack flavour or complexity – apparently it starts bold with tangerine, black pepper and lemongrass before mellowing to a creamier, earthier note. And at 47%, it should have quite the punch! They also produce No.2 Old Tom gin, No. 3 Navy Strength gin and No.4 colour changing gin.

Continue reading