Note: Jim at Mackintosh Gin kindly sent me bottle to try, as always I’ll let you know what I think.
The team at Mackintosh Gin come from Angus, the area just north of Dundee on the east coast of Scotland – affectionately known as “the birthplace of Scotland”. James and Deborah met and fell in love at a young age, after travelling aroujnd they settled in Angus and like all gin lovers, started attending gin festivals and building their gin collection. Around bottle 50, they joked that they should make their own gin – a joke that became reality two years later. They use nine botanicals in their gin – juniper, angelica, coriander and elderflower, which is picked a few minutes from their door. Each morning when they start a distillation, they go and buy fresh grapefruits from their local shop. They import their base spirit from the West Midlands, before the gin is distilled and bottled in Arbroath. Once off the still, it is combined with pure local water from Glen Isla.
Note: The team at the Ice & Fire Distillery sent me a sample to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I think.
You might have read my review of Caithness Highland gin, and today’s gin also comes from the Ice & Fire Distillery. Crofter’s Tears uses purple heather as the signature botanical, alongside fresh orange and lime peel. The (full size) bottle reflects the contents with purple heather flowers snaking around the bottom of the bottle and on the neck stands tall a Highland stag. They suggest serving this with Mediterranean tonic and a twist of lime.
Note: The team at the Ice & Fire Distillery kindly sent me a sample to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I think.
When you hear Ice and Fire, I don’t blame you for thinking about that little show Game of Thrones. But in this case, I’m referring to the Ice & Fire Distillery, a family of Crofters from the Scottish Highlands. Making the most of the beautiful land, they use local water and use purple heather as their signature ingredient in the Crofters Tears gin (review to come). The heather carries through to their branding, their bottles are surrounded by heather and embossed with a highland stag. The Caithness Highland gin that we try today uses rhubarb – a staple in a traditional crofting garden – along with salmonberries. No, not the fish, they are similar to raspberries and so called as traditionally they were eaten with salmon or salmon roe. They combine these with their other botanicals (lots of which are home grown) and put them in their pot stills in the shed, before hand bottling and labelling them.
Note: I contacted the team at Gael gin and they kindly sent me a bottle to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I think.
The Gael is an internationally acclaimed Scottish fiddle song that was originally composed for the Loch Ness visitor centre by Dougie MacLean, and since featured in the movie “The Last of the Mohicans”. When his son Jamie and his partner Tanya got together with gin lovers Nigel and Beverley, they wanted to find a way to combine their passions for gin and music. The Gael Gin team differ from the majority of gins as they distil their own base spirit (which in itself is fairly rare) with malted barley which gives the gin a deep, rich base note. Wanting to keep the Scottish connection strong, they use Scottish heather as one of their botanicals alongside juniper, lemon and orange peel, cardamom and coriander. Looking through the bottle shows you the sheet music for The Gael, and the yellow hue is instantly noticeable. So, how does it taste?
Note: The team at Orkney Distilling kindly sent me a bottle of Aurora gin to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I think.
Back in May 2017, I tried Kirkjuvagr gin (pronounced kirk-u-vaar) and since then, the Orkney Distilling team have grown their range with a navy strength gin and two seasonal editions. Today we are trying their winter Aurora gin. Named after the Aurora Borialis, a phenomenon that appears in the sky over Orkney as winter draws in, this gin is inspired by cosying up by the fire – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves bring a warmth alongside pink and black peppercorns. They recommend pairing this with ginger ale to amp up the spice. So, how does it taste?
Note: I contacted the Beinn an Tuirc distillery team and they kindly sent me some to try. As always, I’ll let you know what I really think.
I think I speak for all of us when I say “what the hell does Beinn an Tuirc mean?” Well it’s the highest point in Kintyre that the Beinn an Tuirc distillery team sources their water from; it translates from gaelic as “the hill of the wild boar”. Kintyre gin features a (presumably) wild boar on top of a hill on their bottle and uses 12 botanicals – all of which are sustainably sourced. They combine macerating botanicals with vapor infusion and mix common botanicals orris root, lemon peel, liquorice, juniper and cubeb amongst others, with more unique ingredients Icelandic moss (which, confusingly, grows in Scotland and isn’t actually moss) and sheep sorrel (not made of sheep, adds a hint of floral notes). They power their 230 litre still with their own hydro-electric scheme and each batch is named, rather than numbers, using the Gaelic alphabet. They recommend serving this with Mediterranean Fever Tree and garnished with basil, or light tonic with mint.
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.