Note: I contacted the Brighton Gin team who kindly sent me sample of their new Seaside Strength gin to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I really think.
If you cast your mind back to 15 December 2014, you might remember I published my first ever blog post. Oh how the four years have flown. The first post was written by an inexperienced but enthusiastic gin drinker trying the new Brighton Gin which I had very excitedly reserved at a shop wayyyyyy out of my way and collected exhausted after a holiday to Stockholm. In the time it has taken for me to sort of learn what I’m doing, the Brighton Gin team have been going from strength to strength and have just added a new edition to their family – the 57% Seaside Strength gin. Made in Brighton Gin tradition, each small batch bottle is filled, waxed and labelled by hand but this gin hits you with citrus in the nose using candied orange, juniper and “notes of spice” but they don’t say what. What they do say is that this gin is smooth and perfect for drinking neat, or with tonic and lime. So, how does it taste?
Note: The team at Maverick Drinks sent me a bottle to try out on the blog, but as always I’ll let you know what I really think.
I’m going to be super honest up front: this does not sound like my cup of tea. That Boutique-y Gin Company have decided the best combination to match with gin is strawberry and balsamic vinegar. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like strawberries, I like balsamic vinegar, and I like the two together. But as a gin? They say the combination of the three works perfectly, a mix of syrupy, sweet and savoury together. They make it by creating separate distillates of black pepper, strawberry and Aceto di Balsamico tradizionale di Modena DOP aka the fanciest balsamic you can get your hands on and which is geographically protected a la Champagne. Not only does it have to be made in the province of Modena, but is has to also be aged for between 12 and 25 years in small barrels which gives the gin an oaky quality which balances the sweeter, fruity notes. They suggest having it on its own, with tonic or with prosecco – I’m a big fan of mixing sweeter liqueurs with prosecco, so perhaps this will be the winner for me.
Fifty Pounds gin makes a bold claim. They say they are the “smoothest gin ever”. Distilled in south east London, the award winning gin is made in a small distillery and they triple filter it to achieve this smoothness. You might have seen Fifty Pounds gin before, their distinctive bottle is based on the first gin bottles from the 18th century, labelled with the batch and year it was made – possible due to the producing batches of only 1000 bottles. They keep their recipe secret but are quite open about their botanicals: Croatian juniper, coriander seeds, Spanish orange and lemon peel, and African grains of paradise amongst others. These are placed in the still with their neutral grain spirit and some water, are left to macerate then they gently heat them for the five hour distillation process. This is left for a minimum of three weeks which they say allows the essential oils from the botanicals to blend into the grain spirit. The final step in reaching their 43.5% ABV is to mix it with their neutral grain spirit and some pure water.
Happy Christmas Eve! It is with great sadness that we bring Ginvent to an end for yet another year, but before we do we need to try Scapegrace Gold gin. Scapegrace gin comes from New Zealand, when one guy married the other guy’s sister and discussed how they would like to make their own gin. 13 botanicals and a load of debt later, they had a gin that won gold in London and San Francisco. They use glacial water from the southern Alps mixed with orange and lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves and dried tangerine to make their classic 42% gin. Scapegrace Gold is their navy strength version at 57% which builds layers of citrus with orange, lemon and tangerine. So let’s see how it tastes.
We’ve made it to the penultimate day of Ginvent. Sad face. Today we drink Pothecary gin, which I tried after meeting the team at Junipalooza earlier this year. You can read my thoughts on it here.
You can get your hands on a 50cl bottle from Gin Kiosk for £39 (at the time of writing). You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Let me know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up with all things Ginvent here.
Final three days! Today we drink Malfy gin, an Italian gin with a lovely label. Most accounts of gin history trace the roots back to the Dutch genever, but Malfy claim that gin was invented by monks on the Salerno coast and their distillery in Moncalieri has been established since 1906. The key flavour for Malfy gin is the Italian lemons that grow in Sicily and the Amalfi coast. These lemons give the gin it’s freshness, alongside Italian grown juniper and fresh spring water. Since launching, they have grown their range to include four varieties – the Originale that we are drinking today which actually came second and is more juniper forward than the original the Con Limone which makes the most of the fresh lemons, the Con Arancia using Sicilian blood oranges, and the Gin Rosa which features pink grapefruit and Italian rhubarb. So, how does it taste?
With four days left to go, we’ve hit the third gin that I’ve already reviewed (this is impressive that we have so few this far in). Today’s gin is Salcombe Start Point gin, and you can read all my thoughts here.
You can get a 70cl bottle of the 44% gin from Gin Kiosk for £37.40 (at time of writing). You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Let me know what you think on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to keep up with all things Ginvent here.
Ramsbury gin are one of the rare distilleries that have control of the whole process, from field to table. They grown their own wheat on their estate in Wiltshire and use their own chalk filtered water source. Sustainability is key – the heating in the distillery is generated by a biomass boiler, the livestock feed on the leftover wheat, and they clean their waste water with a reed bed system that is wildlife friendly. Before making gin, they started life as a brewery and used this knowledge to help make their gin what it is. They start by making their own vodka, which they then distil with nine botanicals (the usual suspects alongside some fresh quince) to make a gin they say is fruity and sweet with a floral note. So, is that really the case?
Today’s gin is one of the newer gins to the market as they only launched this year. Dartmouth English gin comes from the depths of Devon, using spring water from Calancombe alongside fresh herbs, flowers and fruit from the estate there. Their list of botanicals sounds like a good mix – juniper blended with floral notes (lavender, rosemary and some citrus) followed by warming spices (grains of paradise, cardamom and cubeb berries). Despite only launching this year, they have already been awarded “Gin of the Year 2018” by the Craft Distilling Expo from over 600 entrants from around Europe.
If you saw a full size bottle of 209 gin you’d recognise it instantly. One of the first craft gins on the scene, they launched in 2005 from San Francisco and are available in most supermarkets. They’ve since gone on to release an interesting range of gins – three of them are barrel aged in wine casks, giving them a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon. They also have a gin and vodka which are Kosher-for-Passover – one of the only spirits in the world overseen by The Orthodox Union to ensure the entire process meets the kosher dietary law. Their flagship gin differs to the norm, thanks to American definitions on gin theirs is less focused on juniper, and features citrus and floral notes with a touch of spice.