Note: I pester Emile and Olivier over at Gin Foundry a lot and at Junipalooza they kindly handed me an apple mint plant and told me to be patient. Two months later, they have now gifted me a little bottle of gin to go with the garnish, but as always, I’ll let you know what I think.
Even newbies to the gin game should recognise Warner Edwards, if not, they are basically the people that made the first rhubarb gin. They also make lots of other yummy gins, I’m particularly in love with their Honeybee gin with lemon, honey and a splash of hot water whenever I have a cold. They are very big on sustainability and grow many of their own botanicals (including the honey from their own bees) from their farm. They use water from their spring and are believers in good things coming to those that wait; no over harvesting here. Instead they try to put more back into the soil than they take. They’ve been besties with the Gin Foundry crew for a while, being one of the few brands that have been involved with Junipalooza from the beginning, and they have now teamed up for a limited edition gin. They gave the team at Warner Edwards a challenge – only use botanicals within a three mile bee flight of the distillery. They wanted to look at not just the botanicals that work together, but how the environment can shape a flavour profile and working with the land around you from planting through to harvesting.
This approach fits with the Warner Edwards ethos, but also presented a challenge – if you can’t use citrus fruits, coriander seeds or angelica root, what do you put in your gin? Luckily within the three mile radius they have a plethora of goodies including lemon thyme, lemon verbena, lavender, chamomile leaves, bee pollen, dandelion root, toasted applewood and some homegrown green juniper (note: some juniper is also bought in from further away, but they understand that real gin actually tastes of juniper so needed to up the game slightly). Each bottle is preceded with a pack of seeds so you can grow your own apple mint garnish. My seeds seem to be struggling, but luckily I have a pregrown one to fall back on. So, how does it taste?
A few weeks ago, I went to the City of London Distillery for one of their distillery tours (which I recommend, it was great fun on a Wednesday night [note: I paid for this myself, it wasn’t gifted]). As we left, obviously I bought myself a bottle of gin. The City of London Distillery opened in 2012 on Bride Lane (literally five minutes from my office) with their traditional London Dry gin which was quickly followed by the Square Mile gin that I am trying today. Since then, they have also launched a Sloe gin, an Old Tom gin, their Christopher Wren gin, and a number of flavoured gin such as the Six Bells gin they launched with Craft Gin Club. The Square Mile gin is distilled with juniper, coriander seeds, fresh orange and lemon amongst others and won a Double Gold Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017 which is a pretty big deal. Bottled at 47.3% ABV, it is also the strongest gin they make (I am slightly surprised they haven’t added a navy strength gin to their family, but hey, there’s still time).
Note: The lovely team at Gwyr gin sent me a bottle to try, but as always I will let you know what I really think.
What is Gwyr Rhosili gin?
If you want to know about Gwyr gin, then I will point you to my posts on their original gin and their Pinwydd edition. Today, however, we are drinking their newest edition to the family, the Rhosili gin. This has been designed with the Dylan Thomas Estate to commemorate the poet’s links with Gower and Rhosili (his body is interred around the coastline in Laugharne). Thomas is most famous for poems such as Do not go gentle into that good night, a poem that has been quoted in numerous shows and films like Doctor Who and Independence Day. So how is this gin different to their others? Where their original gin focuses on pink grapefruit and fennel, the Rhosili edition features foraged gorse flowers, fresh lime zest, sea buckthorn (a botanical that seems to be appearing more and more) and linden flowers. Linden flowers have been used by herbalists for all sorts of things – coughs, colds, high blood pressure and migraines and research has shown that the flowers may have properties that help prevent damage to your liver. Which surely can only be a good thing when added to something that is proven to damage your liver? Please note I am not saying that drinking this is good for you in any way, as always, please drink responsibly. So, moving on, how does it taste?
Note: Siân kindly sent me a bottle of their new gin to try, but as always I will let you know what I really think.
You might have seen my post about Gŵyr‘s first gin (if not, you can catch up here) and today we try their new seasonal offering. What does Pinwydd mean I hear you ask? Well, luckily my Welsh is brilliant (and Siân translated it for me) and I can tell you it means “pine trees”. If you’re as smart as I hope you are, you might have guessed that this gin features pine tips as the new flavour. The pine tips are foraged from North Gower – a very different region to South Gower where the team live and distill. They gathered their ingredients and made up their first batch, which they quickly discovered was “too piney” and after some experimenting they found that pink peppercorns were the answer to balancing the flavours. This gin is the first in what they hope will be a seasonal range showcasing what the region has to offer , and this is the ‘winter’ edition. Other seasonal botanicals include orange pulp, zest and cranberry, on top of their original recipe of juniper, angelica, coriander, orris and lemon zest. So, how piney does this gin really taste?
Note: I met the lovely team behind Gŵyr gin at Junipalooza and they kindly sent me a bottle to try, as always I’ll let you know what I think.
Gŵyr gin (pronounced Gower for us non-Welsh language speakers) hails from South Wales. They keep the recipe fairly simple and use only eight botanicals – juniper meets lemon and pink grapefruit balanced with bronze and green fennel. They aim to “capture the freshness of the sea” – a theme which carries through to their branding and distinctive navy-inspired label. As they are based just outside of Swansea, the hints of copper on the label hark back to the 18th and 19th century when Swansea was famous for its copper industry.
Note: I contacted Sekforde and they kindly sent me some samples to try, but as always I’ll let you know exactly what I think.
Sekforde mixers were created by husband and wife team Tom and Talula and they take a different approach to most ranges of mixers. Most ranges go for different flavours which complement different drinks in different ways, but here they have created three botanical mixers, each designed to complement a different spirit. Each mixer is 100% natural and under 40 calories per 200ml bottle. So what are they?
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.
Here we are at day 23 of ginvent and today is a day I am particularly excited for. Today we try the Old Tom gin from Ableforth’s Bathtub gin collection. Ableforth’s Bathtub gin is probably one of the most iconic brands on the market with their distinctive brown paper wrapping, and I’ve tried their traditional version here. I really like Old Tom gins, so this should be a treat, Continue reading
I have something to admit here. I have had a test tube of Masons Yorkshire Gin sat on my shelf waiting to be opened since last Christmas…and today we are trying their lavender edition. I should point out I haven’t tried it yet because I sort of forgot about it, not because I heard anything bad. In fact, the opposite is true, I regularly hear about this gin and how good it is. Masons is the first gin to be distilled in Yorkshire and each bottle has a handwritten batch and bottle number on it – something possible due to runs of just 200 litres. Unveiled in 2015, the lavender edition features the intense but subtly sweet note of (you guessed it ) lavender. So, let’s see how it fares. Continue reading
As we start week three of Ginvent, I get to try a new gin for me – Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger. I’ve tried Whitley Neill’s award winning gin before in a bar which I liked, and I’ve tried a Rhubarb gin before which I didn’t like – but also the Slingsby Rhubarb gin surprised me. So this could be interesting. Whitley Neill is a hand crafted gin inspired by the beauty and mystery of Africa, and has impressed the gin world winning Gold medals in the IWSC, The Spirits Business Awards, the International Spirits Challenge and The Drinks Business Gin Masters Competition. This version of their gin is inspired by something closer to home…literally being inspired by the land around their home. It’s also important to note that a lot of flavoured gins are actually liqueurs, whereas this is a proper gin, that just happens to taste of rhubarb and ginger. Continue reading