Archangel Gin

Note: I contacted Archangel and they kindly sent me a sample to try, as always I’m still going to be honest about the taste

Archangel gin hails from Norfolk and has just celebrated its first birthday, being first batched up on 2 February 2017. They distil their gin on a working farm just a hundred yards from St. Peter’s church which dates back to the 14th century. The farm has been in the Archangel family for the last 60 years and they are Norfolk born and bred and believing in small scale productions using local labour and locally sourced ingredients. The juniper and sea buckthorn are grown on site and are with blended 11 other botanicals including verbena and orange peel.

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British Polo Gin

Note: I contacted British Polo gin and they kindly send me some samples, and a copy of the British Polo magazine, to try. As always, this won’t stop me being honest about what I taste!

British Polo gin is apparently the polo players’ choice of gin…and so therefore I’m going to give it a go. To be fair, I grew up in the countryside and we had a horse growing up, so I’m basically qualified to make this judgement. Founded by polo player Richard Hine, British Polo gin is 100% organic using 100% organic botanicals and base spirit (distilled from sugar beet which also makes it gluten free) which is then quadruple distilled for smoothness before being diluted with natural spring water from the land around their distillery. They make their gin in batches of just 150 bottles which contain 14 botanicals ranging from elderflower to vanilla and cinnamon. They have also launched a sloe gin distilled with British berries with additions of winter spices cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves which already has me dreaming of cosy jumpers and roaring fires.

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Ledger’s Tonic

Note: I contacted Ledger’s as I wanted to try their tonic and they kindly obliged with some samples, as always this won’t affect my review!

Ledger’s tonic is so named after Charles Ledger who discovered quinine in Peru back in 1862. Their range features four flavours, all of which are low in sugar and sweetened with stevia – a natural sugar substitute which means they are one of the most calorie friendly tonics on the market. Today we’re drinking their premium Indian tonic, tonic with liquorice, tonic with tangerine and finally their tonic with cinnamon.

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Cuckoo Gin

Note: I contacted Brindle Distillery and they kindly sent me a bottle of Cuckoo gin to try. This won’t influence my tastebuds though.

Based in Lancashire, Brindle Distillery produce Cuckoo Gin – a gin with sustainable and ethically-sourced botanicals and named after a local legend. The Brindle Cuckoo hails back to the middle ages when hearing the first cuckoo’s call of spring led to celebrations that the fertility of the land would reward the farm workers. So, obviously, the locals decided to catch one to keep in the village to bring them luck all year round – except the cuckoo was smart and flew off. Now, anyone born and bred in Brindle is known as a Brindle Cuckoo. They keep this theme running with locally grown botanicals from the surrounding fields and their natural water source delivers spring water straight to the distillery. Being ecologically minded doesn’t stop there; they heat their still, Maggie, with renewable energy biomass boilers and they feed any distilling byproducts to their cattle and chickens. They say their gin is smooth with flavours starting at juniper and developing to citrus, spice and pepper. Let’s see how it fares…

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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.

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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.

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Sacred G&T

Remember the days of premixed drinks? My drink of choice as a teen was Smirnoff Ice, because I was classy. Nowadays, premixed drinks are making a comeback with all of the big brands and supermarkets getting in on the trend with tins of premixed gin and tonic (always go for the M&S pink gin FYI). Entering this market is the London-based collaboration between Sacred gin and BTW tonic. The bottle is certainly distinctive – the colour of BTW tonic comes from the use of natural quinine in their product. Sacred gin comes from the smallest commercial distillery and has quite the extensive range of flavoured gins to its name and this premix highlights the pink grapefruit to add a freshness and a bright citrus flavour.

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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.

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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.

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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