[Note: I am writing this at 11:10pm after three glasses of wine and half a bottle of prosecco]
It’s day 21 and we’re nearly at the end of Ginvent. Frankly, this has been tougher than anticipated. I’m not the most consistent at blogging at the best of times. But today we get to try Fishers Gin – which I think is winning best bottle design so far. Created on the Suffolk Coast using location-specific botanicals spignel, rock samphire, wood aven and bog myrtle. No, I don’t know how these taste either.
Straight from the bottle it’s juniper heavy, and in the glass it opens up to a more zesty smell. Straight from the glass, it has a lot of flavour. A slight cumin taste comes forward, with a saltier edge which I imagine comes from the rock samphire. The taste lingers, it is certainly pungent. Not in a terrible way. But it lingers. With tonic, it’s slightly non-descript. It definitely tastes of juniper, with some zestiness. But it’s nothing special. I would describe this as an every day gin – slightly heavier than a Gordon’s etc., but nothing to write home about (or indeed, wait up instead of going to bed at a normal time to write a blog about). I’m sad about this, I checked #ginvent on Twitter before I went out for dinner (I had a social life tonight) and people seemed to think it was fairly flavoursome. I’m not that impressed.
A 50cl bottle of the 44% gin is £47 over on Master of Malt. I would buy it purely for the bottle design, for the taste? Not so much. You can find Fishers Gin on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Catch up on Ginvent here, and let me know what you think on Twitter and Instagram.
It’s a horrible coincidence that today’s gin is opened the day after a lorry attack on a busy Christmas markets in the streets of Berlin. When I first read that we would be receiving Berliner Brandstifter Berlin Dry Gin in our calendar I was excited and couldn’t stop thinking about my holiday there last year, so it’s a shame that we can’t all try it under nicer circumstances. This gin was launched in 2013 and is designed to make you think of “taking a wonderful walk on a careless summer day in the capital” using elderflowers, woodruff and mallow as key botanicals. This gin is limited to just under 10,000 bottles per year, and each bottle is hand bottled and labelled. It sounds like this should be a nice refreshing, floral gin. Hopefully a lighter note to brighten our days.
From the bottle it certainly smells fresh (Note: I do currently have a bit of a blocked nose and am wearing a pore strip so my nose isn’t on top form right now). It reminds me slightly of Blackwater No 5 (the best gin) in that it smells a bit like rain – although this has a stronger juniper nose to it. Tasting it straight, the main flavours (after the small shock of drinking straight gin) is floral and light and slightly sweet like a hint of sherbet sweets. I like. With tonic, this is a delight. Slightly sweeter than a usual gin, but not too sweet. Just light and refreshing, with a flowery aftertaste. It’s hard to describe (check out #ginvent on Twitter for people being more eloquent [it’s been a long day]). Less fresh rain and more kids sweets, but I’m enjoying.
You can find Berliner Brandstifter on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and you can grab yourself a bottle of this from Master of Malt for £47.85. This seems quite a lot for something I don’t think I could have as my every day gin, but it certainly feels like something special. Perhaps it’s the import costs?
Catch up on the last 19 days of Ginvent here and let me know what you think! I’m around on Twitter and Instagram.
Another day, another gin. Today’s gin is Audemus Pink Pepper Gin. Hailing from France, Audemus gin uses traditional techniques “blended with a modern alchemy and a passion for innovation”. Pink Peppercorn sounds like a good example of this. Their Pink Pepper fin is designed “to be an entirely unique, intense and aromatic gin”. The flavour should change from a spicy pink pepper and juniper blend to a warmer vanilla and honey tone as the gin ages and comes to room temperature.
Straight from the bottle the smell is very fresh and slightly savoury – not what I expected for something that tastes of honey as it warms (this has been sat in my lounge for the last month so it’s not exactly cold…). It smells smooth (yes I know that’s strange) but I can sense the vanilla. This tastes nothing like I expected. The pepper comes out, with the smoother softer vanilla at the back of the tongue. Making it into a G&T, this is certainly unusual. The pepper tastes fade away, and it is reminiscent of cake. The vanilla and honey are more prominent than expected, and not in a bad way. It’s smooth to drink, with no nasty alcohol burn. Sweet, but not cloying, I quite like this. Do I think I could drink this every day? No, but as a one off now and again it is certainly a nice change. And this comes from someone that doesn’t like a sweet gin.
You can find Audemus spirits on Facebook and in basically no shops so find them over on Masters of Malt where a 70cl bottle (44% ABV) will set you back £45.91 (at time of writing).
Have you tried the Pink Pepper Gin? Let me know what you think over on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on Ginvent here.
It’s day 16 and today we have Bishop’s Gin. Yet another I’ve never heard of. That excites me. Bishop’s Gin have a cracking bottles and is “infused with a sense of adventure, discovery and nonconformity”. My kinda drink. Named after John Ponet, the bishop was one of the first protestants to fight for religious freedom in the 16th century. Not too shabby. 8 botanicals make up Bishop’s Gin and are distilled in one go to make their London Dry Gin.
Straight from the bottle, the smell is slightly heady and nice and deep. In a glass it releases more of the juniper, and smells quite simple. Not simple in a bad way, simple in a “we’ve nailed this and don’t need to mess around with our flavours to make it stand out” kinda simple. My kind of drink. On the tongue it is very strong, I just had a look and it’s only 40.7% – I was expecting stronger! The juniper taste sticks around, it’s very nice. Mixed with tonic, the flavours really come out. I am not good enough to guess the tastes, but I know I like it, it is well balanced and has a slightly tart edge to it which gives it a lighter finish. It’s warm but not overpowering. Flavoured but not perfumed. This, for me, is a winner.
A 70cl bottle of this is on Master of Malt for £35.07 which I think is incredibly reasonable, and this is going on the “to buy” list. You can tell Bishop’s Gin how great they are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Do you agree? Fan of this? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on the rest of #ginvent here.
Happy day 15 of Ginvent. Today brings us Pothecary gin, awarded silver in the Outstanding and Gin and Tonic categories at IWSC 2016. Created in Dorset by Soapbox Spirits, this new gin has already caused a stir and winning all the awards (as well as the two above they wont Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Awards). They create a fairly unique gin which uses lavender as a key botanical – I’m a bit wary of this because that sounds like something the Apprentice candidates would have dreamt up (that made everyone else angry right?).
It doesn’t smell as strong as I anticipated, quite floral with hints of lavender. The lavender is certainly more prominent once you pour it out into a copa glass. It hits you in the face – we’ve had a few of these gins in the last two weeks! The strong smell translates to quite a strong taste when straight. It certainly has a ginny burn to it with a heavy floral and scented aftertaste. I feel like I should be trying to sleep with this much lavender! Luckily, some dryness calms this down a bit. But you are definitely drinking lavender. Whilst I’m all about experimenting, I’m not certain gin mixes with everything. Like the nginious! smoked and salted gin, I think this could be great in a cocktail, but it’s not a winner for me as a G&T. I lack rosemary so can’t use that as a garnish – a top tip to counteract the sweetness, but again I think that might perk it up. Unless the floral is elderflower, I’m not really a floral gin person.
Pothecary Gin is bottled at 44.8% and a 50ml bottle of it is on Master of Malt for £40.05. You can find Pothecary Gin on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Let me know what you think over on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on Ginvent here.
Two weeks down and today’s gin is from Monsaraz, a medieval town in the Alentejo region of Portugal. The traditional juniper and coriander are joined by big hits of citrus from oranges, Alentejo lemons and apples with the earthy notes from cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. The “blue” in the name comes from an all-natural flower extract that means the liquid turns from a chemical blue to a dusky pink when mixed with tonic. I’ve tried a gin like this before and wasn’t impressed so let’s see how Sharish fares…
I was expecting this to have a harsh, chemical taste (due to the colour) but I’m wrong. The smell is strong, you can sense it from a distance. Slightly floral and sweet, I have absolutely no idea about botanicals from the smell. Straight up, this is pretty bad. No flavour comes through other than a strong, burning flavour. It tastes like fake flavours. Not a fan. Mixed with tonic, the dusky pink colour comes out with a whiff of sherbet (see this below). It doesn’t taste bad. But it also doesn’t taste great. Personally, I’m a bit meh about this. Whilst we all love some colour changing, I think the novelty of that would soon wear off and not leave you with much. And I still have no clue about what is in it.
Sharish are on Facebook, and is available on Master of Malt for £37.17 (at time of writing) for a 50cl bottle of the 40% Blue Magic gin. I won’t be rushing to buy a bottle, but if you want to impress party guests then this is the one to go for.
What do you think? Worth a try or just a fun gimmick? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.
Catch up on Ginvent here.
Welcome to day 10 of Ginvent! Today features a world exclusive taste of a brand new gin – Glasgow Distillery‘s Makar Old Tom Gin. The original gin has been around for a while, with distilling in Glasgow going back as far as 1770 and the Glasgow Distillery Company opening in 1825, launching their reborn Makar Glasgow Gin in 2014. The Old Tom Gin is the newest addition to this family, despite being a gin steeped in history. Am I the only one that loves the mystery around Old Tom Gin? Knocking on a wooden cat sign to receive a shot of gin poured down a pipe during prohibition times?
“Ooo that’s piercing”. Good start to this gin. I think it smells a bit like a fruit cake. Mixed with tonic, it smells like a nice, mellow gin. The juniper comes to the front, but slightly sweeter. “It’s weirdly kind of…hang on I need another mouthful…mmm…just kind of tastes quite happy”. I think I’ve broken the boy. I think it tastes perfumed, not too heavy on any botanicals but well flavoured. A hint of sweetness stops it being too heavy. I think mixed into a cocktail this gin would come into it’s own. As a straight forward G&T (with no garnish) it’s not the most exciting thing to ever enter my mouth.
You can grab yourself a bottle of the Old Tom Gin on Master of Malt for £35 which I think is fairly priced – perhaps not for me but then again I’ve not tried too many Old Tom gins. Perhaps a future blog post? Who wants to send me some samples?
You can find them on Twitter and Facebook, and let me know what you think over on Twitter and Instagram.
Catch up on Ginvent over here.
It’s the end of week one of Ginvent! Today I get to try the gin with easily my favourite name: Bertha’s Revenge Irish Milk Gin. The Irish team behind the gin (Ballyvolane House Spirits Company) were interested in using whey alcohol as a base spirit and after hearing Charles Maxwell’s (Head Distiller at Thames Distillery) approval on the subject they headed home to get experimenting. By batch 19, they’d got it. As of 27 April 2015, Bertha’s Revenge was born. Key ingredients are orange and grapefruit, with a liberal amount of childish enthusiasm and love – hopefully those last two flavours really come out in the tasting!
Cracking open the bottle, it smells lovely. Considering I know there is a lot of orange in it, it smells great and I’m very excited – the cumin and cardamom come to the front and it smells like a welcoming, gentle curry. Tasting it neat, the spices are clearly a main ingredient, it’s warm and earthy. Mixed with tonic (still sticking with Tesco) it’s incredibly flavoursome. It tastes of an incredible spice blend, not hot spicy but warm earthy cinnamon. Whilst I think it would go brilliantly with ginger beer with tonic it comes to life. I can’t work out what the whey base spirit brings to the party (sorry team) but this is brilliant. If you’re looking for something to jazz up your evening, this will do the trick. “That sip tasted like a fancy sausage roll”. Move over Catriona, the boy is the new taste tester on this blog.
A 70cl bottle of Bertha’s Revenge costs £35.84 on Master of Malt. Personally, I think it’s worth it. Unless you like boring gin, in which case stay away.
You can get in touch with the team via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let me know what you think about this gin on Twitter and check out my photos on Instagram – and keep up to date with Ginvent here!
As the first week of Ginvent draws to a close, I finally get to try nginious! Smoked and Salted gin. Alongside traditional juniper, bitter orange and coriander there’s quince and ginger. The Swiss distillery also add 40-hour cold smoked chestnuts for a gentle smoky flavour, and stone salt from the Swiss Alps that has been smoked on larch tree boards. This is rather special gin as it is only produced once a year with 3,000 bottles being created in 2015. The full sized bottles are also rather lovely – we know I’m a sucker for a nice bottle.
Smelling it from the bottle I’m confused. It is smoky and salty. Almost slightly fishy. In the glass it’s just as confusing. I’ve had ‘savoury’ gins before that smell herby, but the salt is confusing. I didn’t try it straight because basically my body recoiled in horror from the smell. Adding tonic calms it down a bit and it doesn’t taste like it smells – luckily. But it’s definitely smoked. Like a smoked fish kinda smoke taste. I can’t taste the salt, for me the smokey flavour is overwhelming. I imagine this would go brilliantly with ginger beer or in a dark cocktail. But right now, this isn’t working with just tonic (and as this is the only sample I have I guess I’ll never know). Never thought I’d say that about a gin!
The rarity of this gin means the price is a bit higher than the usual craft gin – on Master of Malt a 50cl bottle is £48.64. Personally, I shan’t be investing.
nginious! are on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Let me know what you think on Twitter and Instagram, and catch up on Ginvent here.
We’ve made it to day 5 and are treated to Slingsby Gin. When I tried this at the Brighton Gin Festival it stunned me to silence – a hard thing to do. Their website opens with a Charles Dickens quote, as if I couldn’t love them more. Based in Harrogate, Slingsby has a long history when William Slingsby discovered the unique properties of the Tewit Well spring water in 1571, giving the town Spa status and this gin a name. The key botanicals are grown locally, and combined with other ingredients in Yorkshire – although some ingredients are imported from around the world.
It smells just as I remember. Juniper with a hint of fresh rain and lemon. It’s tangy on the tongue with a nice warmth to it. With tonic it’s perfect. I can’t say much more. I love this gin. And I’m happy I still love it. But really sad that it’s only a teeny tiny bottle. To anyone reading this and wondering what to get me for Christmas: it’s this gin please.
A bottle of Slingsby gin is currently £39.95 on Master of Malt and you’ll be fighting me for a bottle, and you can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
What do you think? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t miss a day of Ginvent by clicking here.