What feels like forever ago, I was very lucky and won a bottle of Loch Ness Gin from Master of Malt during their #whiskysanta giveaway. And with an amazing amount of self restraint, I haven’t cracked into it. Until today. The husband and wife team come from a family that have lived and worked in the Highlands since before 1520 and they hand gather their own native crop of juniper for their passion project. In fact, it’s not just the juniper that is hand picked. All of their botanicals can be found on the banks of Loch Ness, and their branding is phenomenal beacuse I love Loch Ness. The film with Ted Danson was a childhood staple, and we spent a dreadful family holiday touring around Scotland – one day of which was spent Nessie hunting on my insistence. Give me a myth and mystery around something ridiculous and I’m there. Continue reading
Here we are, two days from the end of Ginvent and today we are trying Persie‘s Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Gin. I’ve tried their Aromatic Herb gin – which you can read here – so let’s see how this differs. This version is creamy with hints of vanilla, butterscotch, almonds and gingerbread. They suggest serving this neat over ice as an after dinner drink, or adding a splash of ginger ale.
Today is day 19 of Ginvent and today we’re trying Rock Rose Gin‘s Winter Edition. I have tried Rock Rose once, a long time ago at Dolly’s Gin Parlour in Falmouth (which, FYI, you should visit should you be in the depths of Cornwall) and I was a fan. Rock Rose hails from Dunnet Bay Distillers – not too far from John O’Groats – after 55 experiments to find the final recipe back in August 2014. Their original edition includes Rhodiol Rosea – a type of rose root local to Caithness – along with sea buckthorn and rowen berries. They have their original gin and a Navy Strength gin that are always on sale as well as limited run seasonal editions. This year’s Winter Edition is a scaled back version of their original gin, but this allows the added spruce tips (collected by Rock Rose gardener Hanna) to bring forth an earthy and citrusy note to the gin. So, let’s see how it tastes. Continue reading
Currently a full size bottle of McQueen Gin is on Master of Malt for £29.95.
It’s day 11 of Ginvent and I am very excited. Not only have I just completed my first day at my new job, but I have also heard lots of good things about Colonsay gin, so I can’t wait to dig into this. Made by a husband and wife team (the Geekie’s) who left their Oxfordshire home to build their new house on the remote Hebridean island of Colonsay. Their new home combines with their love of gin and their goal is to make, not only a viable life for themselves on the island, but also to contribute to the ongoing sustainability and development of their island economy. I should point out that this island is so remote, it takes 2 and a half hours to get there by boat to the mainland (which only happens three times a week in the winter) or a twice weekly PLANE. They also run a weekend for gin lovers including accommodation in their home and picnic lunches, catered dinners and a gin tasting. Just something to consider if you want a remote weekend away. With lots of gin.
If you’re in Edinburgh, I can recommend the Pickering’s Distillery tour. Well. By tour it’s standing in one room talking all about gin, then going next door and seeing their bottling room, then back to the first room to drink gin. It’s accessed through the Royal Dick Bar (tee hee hee) at Summerhall roundabout. I went during the festival and was joined by my father, who at the end very kindly got me a bottle of the limited edition 2017 Tattoo gin. Working with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo organisers, this year’s edition features indigenous Scottish heather, milk thistle, bog myrtle and Scots Pine added to their Bombay recipe gin wrapped in the official tartan of the Tattoo (not McLaren tartan though as my father pointed out…). Along with the Tattoo gin, their range features their original gin, a navy strength gin and the 1947 recipe (made precisely to their original recipe). They’re also the makers of the original gin baubles that are LITERALLY ALL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA. The bottle is lovely, they have paid real attention to the small details – the Pickering’s peacock wrapped around the bottle and a charming scale of how empty the bottle is on the side.
Note: I contacted Tyree Gin to see if they would send me a sample for the blog and they were kind enough to do so – as always, I’ll be honest about what I think
Tyree Gin hails from the Hebridean island of Tiree (go to Oban and go west past Mull and you reach it). Tiree is only 12 miles long but three miles wide, and very flat. They do however seem to have lots of local botanicals on this small, windy patch of land in the sea. The soil on Tiree is what is known as machair – a combination of soil and sand, unique to Scotland. From here they gather eyebright (a flower that can help eye infections), Ladies Bedstraw (yellow flowers that smell slightly of honey), Water Mint (a form of mint…that grows in water…) and Angelica, combined with local kelp from the Atlantic Ocean. Their kelp forests are the fourth largest in Scotland don’tcha know. So, you’ve probably noticed that Tyree Gin is not spelt the same as their island namesake. Well, Tyree is the original spelling of Tiree’s Post Office – dating back to 1802. But it was changed in 1889 to avoid confusion with Tyrie in Aberdeenshire. So that’s that.
Note: I contacted the Kelson Gin Company and kindly sent me THREE samples of their gins. As always, you’ll know if I don’t like them.
The Kelso Gin Company brings us the first gin from the Scottish Borders. Well, technically they make three gins. Because why start small? Oh, and as well as three gins they also have a vodka and reiver spirit too. Two of their gins are named after The Crow Man – a travelling medicine man who toured the Borders offering “little brighteners” to restore men and soothe women with his mix of secret ingredients. Using organic pure grain and distilled in Kelso, their exact ingredient list is a closely guarded secret (which should make tasting them fun) but the ones they’ll allow us to know include Love Parsely (aka Lovage), juniper and rowan. I have three gins: Crow Man’s Gin (classic juniper with cinnamon, angelica and more), The Kelso Elephant Gin (strong on flavour and using orient spices) and the Lovage Gin (intriguing and fresh).
Note: I contacted the Orkney Distillery and they kindly sent me a sample. As always, I’ll let you know if I don’t like it.
Kirkjuvagr gin comes from the Orkney Distillery – and FYI, is pronounced “kirk-u-vaar”. Kirkuvagr means “church bay” in Old Norse and evolved to be Kirkwall, the island’s capital. The gin is a reflection of the island’s history and the boldness of their ancestors, making a contemporary gin using old ingredients. Angelica grows wild on the island, which is blended with Ramanas Rose, Burnet Rose and Borage and Orkney barley. Distilled in small batches in copper stills, they channel their Norse heritage into every bottle they make.