Generation 11 gin

Note: I contacted the Generation Distillery team and they sent me a sample to try, as always, I’ll let you know what I think.

Generation 11 gin is another addition to the growing, and brilliant, Sussex gin scene. Based in Chailey (just outside of Lewes), Generation distillery comes from a husband and wife team with a passion for locally sourced, quality ingredients with great flavour. Their passion for sustainability is evident – the lavender comes from Kent, the coriander is grown two villages away and their botanical supplier is based down the road from them. They managed to re-commission a well which is used to draw up local ground water for their gin. Alongside the floral notes from the lavender, they add cardamom and pepper for some warmth and a twist of lemon for a hint of sweetness.

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Dry Island Gin

Today is exciting because it’s an extra Craft Gin Club day (shout out to Lizzie for sorting my delivery problems)! I’m not meant to get my next subscription box until September, but when I saw what was in the box this month, I had to get one ASAP. Dry Island Gin is the lovechild of two great distilleries, Four Pillars in Australia and Herno in Sweden, and this is their Eurpoean exclusive launch! Being mutual fans of each other’s work, they got chatting and after discovering they had a lot in common and throwing around some ideas, they decided to collaborate and work together. The first step sounded like a lot of hard work – tasting the whole Herno and Four Pillars range side by side to work out what characteristics from their current range should go into the collaboration. They decided to aim for a classic gin using Swedish meadowsweet and Australian river mint, strawberry gum and roasted wattleseed to bring together a range of flavours and textures. This is a Four Pillars gin, made in Australia using their base spirit and the pure water which is one of the aforementioned pillars, with Jon from Herno weighing in with the distillation. Removing Four Pillars’ still plates, Jon recommended they distil at a lower temperature over a longer period to for higher purity. I’ve waited long enough, so let’s crack this open.

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Hayman’s Sloe Gin

Note: I love the Hayman’s team and they kindly sent me some samples, but as always, I’ll let you know what I think.

You’ve hopefully already read my thoughts on the Hayman’s London Dry and Old Tom gins, and today we are trying their sloe gin. A lot of sloe gins can be too sickly sweet which I find a bit cloying, so it will be interesting to see how this fares. To make their gin they steep wild harvested sloe berries in their London Dry gin for three to four months using, as always, a traditional family recipe. Sloe gin is generally seen as a winter drink, but they suggest pairing it with some sparkling wine for a different take on a kir royale style cocktail.

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Hayman’s Old Tom gin

Note: I love the Hayman’s team. After visiting their distillery and trying all their gin, they kindly sent me some samples. 

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have read my blog post about Hayman’s London Dry gin. Well, guess what? I have more gin! Today I am trying their Old Tom gin which, as a style, is one of my favourites. You may or may not know but a Tom Collins is one of my favourite drinks. The Hayman’s version of Old Tom gin is heavy on the citrus and juniper to create a rich mouthfeel, which then has an undercurrent of sweetness that lets you know you are drinking an Old Tom rather than London Dry.

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Pothecary Gin

Note: I met Lukasz from Pothecary gin at Junipalooza and he kindly sent me a bottle to try – as always, you’ll know if I don’t like it.

Pothecary gin was created because two friends share a passion for artisan – and organic – produce. This isn’t a London Dry style gin, they label theirs as “British blended” because they do things a bit differently over at Pothecary HQ. They distil each botanical separately and then blend these together before adding the water to lower the ABV. I’m not sure I’ve come across another gin that uses this method – gins that add flavours after the distillation certainly, but distilling each botanical on it’s own? Let me know if that is less unique than I think. Alongside the usual suspects of lemon peel (organic) and juniper (foraged) they use only three more botanicals – organic lavender and wild foraged tilia flowers and black mulberries (also organic). So how does this taste?

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Doctor Polidori Tonic

Note: I met the Doctor Polidori team and they kindly gave me some bottles to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I REALLY think.

Doctor Polidori tonic comes from Germany from the same people that make Ferdinand’s Saar gin, and I think we’re all thinking the same thing. Who the hell is Doctor Polidori? To know this we have to open our history books to around the time of Lord Byron, Polidori’s client and travelling companion (and originator of the vampire-fiction genre). His records formed the foundation of this modern interpretation of tonic. They have two tonics in their range – the dry tonic which is infused with botanicals such as basil and thyme and a cucumber tonic which includes (funnily enough) cucumber extract which makes the tonic “a refreshing experience beyond compare”. So, how do they taste?

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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!

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Hayman’s Gin

You can’t talk about English gins without mentioning Hayman’s Gin. The Hayman family have been involved in the gin industry since the original gin boom 150 years ago, opening doors in 1863. Since then, their range of ‘True English’ gins have been distilled and made just as they would have been back then. Running three stills at a time (Marjorie the grandmother of the current Hayman’s, Karin the mother and Miranda the current fifth generation distiller who FYI is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet) they blend ten botanicals including cinnamon, nutmeg and liquorice together to make their London Dry gin. But it doesn’t stop there – they also have an Old Tom gin, a sloe gin, a navy strength edition and a gently rested gin – not aged, just rested. They have recently moved to Balham to a BEAUTIFUL new distillery which is open for tours which I highly recommend as it is so lovely I want to move in – and not just because when I went they said the words “help yourself to whatever you want”. They also have branded lemon peel.

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Vidda Torr Gin

It’s one of my favourite times of the year – Craft Gin Club delivery time! This month’s delivery contains a gin I’ve never even heard of before so this is very exciting alongside a host of goodies including Franklin & Sons tonic, Purdey’s rejuvenate drink, Arden’s Lockerbie cheddar and onion chutney biscuits, bottlegreen rhubarb cordial and gin and tonic chocolate from Coco Chocolatier. So what’s the gin? Vidda Tørr hails from Norway, a country with notoriously strict distilling laws in the past. Luckily restrictions were loosened in 1996 and founder Marius  spent several years helping big brands import into Norway before deciding to open his own distillery in Oslo. Vidda is a celebration of Norway’s diverse flora – deciding to only use botanicals which are native to the land around them. Luckily, this includes juniper, but it made it tricky for the founding team as they couldn’t use staples such as coriander seed, lemon or orange. Instead they experimented and included bilberries, heather, chamomile flowers, elderflower and meadowsweet, which apparently combine to balance floral notes with fresh pine.

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Dam Raider Gin

Note: I contacted Lincoln Imp Drinks Co and they kindly sent me a bottle of their Dam Raider gin to try, as always I will let you know what I really think.

Dam Raider gin has an awesome bottle. At first glance, it just has a picture of a Lancaster bomber on the front. Hold it up and, thanks to 3D technology, you can see it flying over Scampton. The back label shows authentic extracts of a log book from a ‘Dambusters’ crew member. Lincoln Imp Drinks company created the gin to commemorate the Dambusters raid in World War II, and from every bottle of Dam Raider gin sold, a donation is made to the Thorpe Camp Visitor Centre – home of the squadrons that flew out of RAF Woodhall Spa in the 1940s. The gin itself has been made with juniper as the prominent note, along with five other botanical which feature citrus and warming spices. They say this blend leads to a “smooth, long palate” – so let’s see how it tastes.

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