Mayfield Sussex Hop Gin

Mayfield Gin is the brain child of James Rachham – who also founded the artisanal spirits company Emporia Brands. Growing their hops in just one acre of a 30 acre farm in Salehurst (for anyone else whose geography is a bit iffy, go north from Hastings but not as far as Tunbridge Wells) which gives a citrus edge to the hoppy gin. The Sussex Hops are distilled with juniper, orange and lemon peel, angelica root, coriander seed, liquorice and orris root. I have high hopes for this – nothing gimmicky or random has been thrown in.

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Greensand Ridge Gin

Note: I found Greensand Ridge and emailed them to politely ask for a sample, Will Edge (the distiller) kindly agreed and here we are.

If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise. That surprise being the Greensand Ridge Distillery on the Sussex/Kent border which not only produces gin from an old Victorian Coach House, but also lets you do distillery tours and even hire their space out for your next event (#eventprofs take note). Eight of the botanicals are grown within a mile of the distillery and these are blended with some of the classics to create their premium London Dry gin. Local botanicals include cobnuts, gorse (for that vanilla/coconut scent), honey (for sweetness), poppy seeds (for warmth) and bay laurel (for a woody sweetness). The ethos behind the distillery also helps to reduce waste and the environment. They try to limit wastage by fermenting produce that supermarkets won’t use, don’t use chemicals to clean their equipment, power their still from sustainably sourced electricity and reusing or recycling 100% of their packaging materials.

Cracking open my little bottle, it smells light and citrusy. A hint of fresh woodiness (like a pine tree) and it smells like a right treat. Opened out in the glass, the alcohol smell comes to the front and I initially had to retreat slightly. As I have a 50ml sample, I’m trying this straight and going into the G&T, no watering down this time. It’s very warm and woody, reminiscent of a Burleigh’s – although I don’t think I’m going to cry and get homesick this time.

Mixed with a Franklin and Sons tonic, it retains it’s earthy and woody quality. A slight sweetness lifts it at the back of the tongue and it’s certainly refreshing. The citrus notes that I sensed at the beginning have all but disappeared. It tastes slightly thick – I think a result of the vanilla-ey gorse and the honey.

A bottle of 40% gin is available on Master of Malt for £34.95 (at time of writing). I’m not 100% convinced I would buy this, I’m more of a bold lemon flavours kinda gal. You can find Greensand on Instagram and Facebook.

I love me a local gin – have you spotted any more from around Sussex that you think I should try? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram.

Foxhole Gin

A while ago I was in a pub in the mighty Haywards Heath and got chatting to two random women about gin – as I do. They mentioned a new gin made in the area, and I went “oh that sounds interesting” and promptly forgot all about it. On Monday at work, a friend handed me a leaflet and a business card and said “I met this guy the other day, you should get in touch”. Lo and behold, it was Foxhole Gin. I was in love instantly, purely because I am in love with their font and the use of a fox on the logo. I gave James, the managing director, an email and I was lucky enough to be sent a sample (thanks!) for this blog. They actually sent it to me at the start of December, but I was kinda distracted by Ginvent. But here we now are.

Foxhole use a grape spirit as the base, the unused by products from Bolney wine estate down the road. This makes the gin eco friendly in my books as they reduce wastage and utilise a sustainable raw ingredient. I’m expecting some similarities in taste with Chilgrove Gin as they use a grape base spirit as well. The tasting notes James kindly supplied say I will get a velvet texture with floral coriander and balanced with citrus from grapefruit and lemon. All in all, sounds good.

Smells slightly thick (makes sense when you smell it) and rich and fresh. The fresher tones open up in the glass. Straight up it has an almost peppery front to it, the flavour is deep and textured with a slight bitterness at the back of the threat. Mixed up with tonic, this is very smooth and fresh at the tip of the tongue and the citrus bitterness is enhanced at the back of the throat. Not overwhelming with flavour, it feels like a nice summery drink. The bitter tones make it more exciting, and this could well be a nice every day drink.

A very limited edition of the first batch of bottles are available to buy on their website at £40 a bottle. Now, is this a bit pricey? Yes. I however, think it’s worth it. It is a lovely, small batch gin with a BEAUTIFUL hand crafted bottle. I’m a believer in supporting local businesses, so once I’ve had a raid on the bottle collection in my house, this is on the to buy list.

You can follow Foxhole Spirits on Twitter and Facebook, and let me know if you’ve tried it on Twitter and Instagram.

Whilst I was sent this sample for free to review, this is an honest review. I don’t pretend to love things if I don’t.