Opera Gin

Note: I met the team from Opera gin at Junipalooza and they kindly gave me a sample to try, as always I’ll let you know what I really think.

Opera ginWhat is Opera gin?
To anyone looking for their next holiday destination, I would recommend Budapest. It’s a lovely city and we had a very fun week there despite falling down the stairs in a ruin pub and spraining my ankle, and falling in the Danube (sprained ankle first). You might wonder why I’m telling you this, but today’s gin comes from that fine city. Fellow WSET student, Balint Damosy (also a lawyer) realised during his training that gin was his passion and spent two years researching and learning about gin, before deciding that launching their own gin was not as insane as they thought. And so Opera gin was born. In April 2018, they received their distilling license to become the first micro-distillery in Hungary, and set up shop in a former cotton factory within the Budapest city walls. They chose to create a traditional London Dry gin as they wanted to create something that was not just high quality, but also true to the spirit. They start with a Hungarian corn spirit before adding standard botanicals: hand picked juniper from the Kiskuns√°g National Park; Bulgarian coriander seeds; angelica; orris root; and liquorice. They then make their gin unique by using citronella grass (which I’ve never come across as a botanical before but feel free to correct me!), lavender, a touch of aniseed and cubeb pepper, and their signature botanical poppy seed. They say this all blends together for a citrus and juniper forward gin that works well with tonic, but also pairs with a dry vermouth to make a crisp martini. So, how does it taste?

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Helsinki Dry Gin

When I was at Junipalooza, I got chatting to the team at Helsinki Dry Gin and they kindly gave me some samples to bring home for the blog. The Helsinki Distilling Company come from, you guessed it, Helsinki (that’s Finland for those of you not very good at geography). The distillery, that has formally been a power plant, a meatball factory and an architect’s office amongst others, produces a whole range of products. Winning the Spirit of the Year award in 2016 AND 2017 is the Helsinki Dry Gin. Distilled with Finnish lingonberries, Balkan juniper berries, fennel and rose petals, the gin is a traditional 47% volume to achieve a smoother feel. They also make an Akvavit (a Finnish schnapps), Applejack (a 43% strength apple spirit), the pink grapefruit Long Drink, some gin liqueurs and Tyrnipontikka. I have no idea what the last one is or how to pronounce it. So we’ll move quickly on.

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Curio Gin

I went to Junipalooza last weekend on World Gin Day and I bumped into the folks from Curio gin. After gushing about their branding and having a chat, they kindly gave me a bottle to review properly on the blog. Curio Gin comes from Mullion in Cornwall – a mere 30 minutes from my Dad’s house (Happy Father’s Day Dad!) and has one of my favourite bottle labels ever. Their range includes the Rock Samphire Gin, a Cardamom Vodka, a Cocoa Nib Vodka and their Cornish Cup. Hand foraged on their local cliff tops, the rock samphire is blended and distilled in small batches.

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