Boatyard Double gin

Boatyard Double ginThere’s been a lot of talk in the recent months about the rise in Scottish gin, but today we head across the water to the north west coast of Ireland. Boatyard Distillery is based on the banks of Lough Erne in their farm-to-bottle distillery. Their vodka is made from home-grown wheat, the spent grains go back to the land as fertiliser and animal food, and they pick their signature gin botanical (Sweet Gale – a type of bog myrtle) is picked from the family bog. Today’s drink is their flagship Double Gin, made by macerating eight botanicals for 18 hours in their wheat spirit and ensure the juniper flavour is front and centre using a filtration process which helps to highlight the beautiful pine notes. They keep their botanical list fairly traditional – alongside the juniper is coriander, liquorice root, angelica, orris, fresh lemon peel, grains of paradise and the aforementioned Sweet Gale. So, how does the banks of Lough Erne taste?

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Ginvent 2018 – An Dúlamán Gin

Today is lucky number 13 of Ginvent and today we are trying a gin I only heard of recently, with a cracking bottle design. An Dúlamán Gin comes from County Donegal in Ireland, Sliabh Liag Distillery is the first distillery from Donegal for over 175 years and their main botanical is local seaweed. Five types of seaweed to be precise. This ties into the brand via the name – Dúlamán comes from an Irish folk song about a conversation between two seaweed collectors. Basically. They REALLY like seaweed over there.

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Symphonia No. 3 Gin

Note: Symphonia kindly sent me a sample to try and ramble about, but as always I’ll let you know if I’m not a fan.

Did you read about Symphonia No.1 and No. 2 gin? If not, shame on you and you can read about them here and here. The third (and currently final) gin in their range is a fruit cup. The fruit/summer cup trend seems to be growing from smaller distillers, perhaps due to the popularity of Pimms and the pink gin craze. So what makes the Symphonia fruit cup different? This 25% fruit spirit is made using raspberries from the distillery garden and berries foraged from the hedgerows in the Irish countryside. The lower ABV makes it perfect for sipping, or mixing with tonic, soda, prosecco or lemonade (essentially, whatever you want). One thing you instantly notice about this fruit cup is the colour – fruit cups usually have a pink/orange tinge to them but this is surprisingly clear.

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Symphonia No.2 Gin

Note: Symphonia kindly sent me a sample to try and ramble about, but as always I’ll let you know if I’m not a fan.

Did you read about Symphonia No.1 gin? If not, shame on you and you can read it here. The second gin in their range is a bit more unusual as it is an apple gin. This isn’t a flavoured gin liqueur, this is a full on 40% gin made with crisp Bramley apples from Ireland which pairs with the juniper to create what they say is a gin filled with floral and herbal notes. Did you know that the apples grown in County Armagh have protected geographical status as the growing conditions out there are pretty unique? Apparently this creates the apple with the lowest sugar content but the highest acidity content, which Symphonia use to their advantage to flavour their gin. They counteract the sweetness of the apple with spice from ginger root and coriander.

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Symphonia No.1 Gin

Note: I met the Symphonia team at Junipalooza and they sent me home with some samples to try properly. As usual, I’ll let you know what I think.

Symphonia gin is a fairly nerdy brand. Founded by Ric Dyer (who has a PhD in organic chemistry) in 2016, he decided to use his skills and experience to create innovative spirits with a focus on local flavours and ingredients. In the heart of rural Ireland, Symphonia is distilled using a knowledge of flavour molecules to create their balanced compositions. This ‘composition’ carries through to their branding with the musical notation on the label – which FYI is the notation of the makeup of the gin. Symphonia No.1 is a mix of citrus, local herbs and flowers and ending with spice.

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Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin

March Craft Gin Club Delivery

It’s the best time of year again – my Craft Gin Club delivery arrived! Another bumper box includes a full bottle of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, a bottle of Peter Spanton No. 9 Cardamom Tonic, New York Delhi Wasabi Peas, Butler’s Milk Chocolate Irish Cream Truffle Bar and, if there’s any room left, Ten Acres Sweet and Sour Crisps. After my tumble down the stairs the other week, this was finally a ray of sunshine. Can we also take a moment to talk about how beautifully designed this month’s copy of Ginned is? Mostly just for the cracking travel photos. Which leads nicely into the gin – based in Ireland with botanicals from around the world, this gin is the brainchild of Patrick J. Rigney. Whilst travelling in Morocco, he discovered Chinese Gunpowder green tea. Blended with grapefruits from Indonesia, kaffir limes from Cambodia, juniper from Macedonia, and caraway seed and cardamom from India, this gin’s botanical list is basically my travel bucket list. I’m fully expecting a big, bold gin with this one – anything that crams so many flavours in to one bottle is never going to be dull.

Gunpowder Irish Gin

Opening the bottle and pulling out the branded cork, it smells gentler than I anticipated, but opened up in the glass it hits you. Big, bold and zesty it hits your nostrils with a bam. Loosened up with some water, it is more savoury than I anticipated. It’s quite deep in flavour and heavy but not too oaky. A hint of spice at the edges but with a lightness at the front of the tongue.

I decided it would be rude to not try it with the tonic provided (which on its own is very yummy and exciting, slight hints of curry from the cardamom but the lightness of the tonic, I wouldn’t normally drink tonic on its own but this tastes really exciting) and the cardamom from the tonic highlights the more exotic flavours and it tastes absolutely nothing like a normal gin and tonic. I’m suddenly really gutted that I was too lazy to go buy a lime to garnish this with. It’s not too heavy, but also not too “strange” – we know from ginvent I’m not a massive fan of overly flavoured gins but this one has a good balance to it. It’s different to your usual tipple, and I imagine will work well with normal tonic, ginger beer or in a cocktail to add some depth of flavour. At first taste I wasn’t sure of this, but the more I drink the more I’m used to the flavour. I really like the little hit of citrus at the back of your throat which helps to lighten the drink.

You can find a bottle of the 43% gin on Master of Malt for £31.50 (at time of writing). My opinion – invest in a bottle. It will spice up your evenings without being too wacky. You can get in touch with Drumshanbo on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

So what do you think? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.