Fifty Pounds gin makes a bold claim. They say they are the “smoothest gin ever”. Distilled in south east London, the award winning gin is made in a small distillery and they triple filter it to achieve this smoothness. You might have seen Fifty Pounds gin before, their distinctive bottle is based on the first gin bottles from the 18th century, labelled with the batch and year it was made – possible due to the producing batches of only 1000 bottles. They keep their recipe secret but are quite open about their botanicals: Croatian juniper, coriander seeds, Spanish orange and lemon peel, and African grains of paradise amongst others. These are placed in the still with their neutral grain spirit and some water, are left to macerate then they gently heat them for the five hour distillation process. This is left for a minimum of three weeks which they say allows the essential oils from the botanicals to blend into the grain spirit. The final step in reaching their 43.5% ABV is to mix it with their neutral grain spirit and some pure water.
As per the last two years, I’ve received my Craft Gin Club delivery in December. Due to the daily blogging for Ginvent, I then never get to try it until after Christmas. But here we go; this month’s delivery contains an exclusive collaboration with Tarquin’s, one of my favourite distillers. I’ve tried many over the four years I’ve been writing, too many to list here but feel free to have a search back, and never have I been disappointed. This edition is only available to Craft Gin Club members and was distilled using a whopping 18 botanicals including Tarquin’s staple violet alongside Christmassy botanicals nutmeg, star anise, ginger and allspice. There’s also plenty of citrus fruits and tonka bean to bring a mulled fruit note to balance the zest and marzipan.
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.
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.
Ramsbury gin are one of the rare distilleries that have control of the whole process, from field to table. They grown their own wheat on their estate in Wiltshire and use their own chalk filtered water source. Sustainability is key – the heating in the distillery is generated by a biomass boiler, the livestock feed on the leftover wheat, and they clean their waste water with a reed bed system that is wildlife friendly. Before making gin, they started life as a brewery and used this knowledge to help make their gin what it is. They start by making their own vodka, which they then distil with nine botanicals (the usual suspects alongside some fresh quince) to make a gin they say is fruity and sweet with a floral note. So, is that really the case?
Today’s gin is one of the newer gins to the market as they only launched this year. Dartmouth English gin comes from the depths of Devon, using spring water from Calancombe alongside fresh herbs, flowers and fruit from the estate there. Their list of botanicals sounds like a good mix – juniper blended with floral notes (lavender, rosemary and some citrus) followed by warming spices (grains of paradise, cardamom and cubeb berries). Despite only launching this year, they have already been awarded “Gin of the Year 2018” by the Craft Distilling Expo from over 600 entrants from around Europe.
If you saw a full size bottle of 209 gin you’d recognise it instantly. One of the first craft gins on the scene, they launched in 2005 from San Francisco and are available in most supermarkets. They’ve since gone on to release an interesting range of gins – three of them are barrel aged in wine casks, giving them a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon. They also have a gin and vodka which are Kosher-for-Passover – one of the only spirits in the world overseen by The Orthodox Union to ensure the entire process meets the kosher dietary law. Their flagship gin differs to the norm, thanks to American definitions on gin theirs is less focused on juniper, and features citrus and floral notes with a touch of spice.