You know it’s ginvent when you get to this year’s edition of Tarquin’s. I’ve already been lucky enough to sample their original gin (here) and their Seadog Navy Strength gin (here). For 2017 we are trying their British Blackberry Gin which combines gin and blackberries as well as some Cornish wildflower honey to add a touch of sweetness. I tried this at Gin Foundry’s Winter Wonderland event last week in a cocktail which was a twist on a Bee’s Knees with lemon and honey and it was delicious.
Happy Christmas Eve! With the happy times comes one sad thing, the end of Ginvent 🙁 I must admit, the pressure of daily blogging has been a bit much but I have loved this month. As our final drink, we’ve been given an exclusive bottle of the Gin Foundry‘s very own Ginvent gin. Themed around the festive season, this gin brings us tastes of red fruits, juniper and chocolate – what, no brie??
It certainly smells Christmassy. Nice and soft, with hints of berries and an almost vanilla hint. In the glass it opens up a bit, it smells comforting and like a nice cuddle. Mum takes a sip, coughs and says “it just tastes like neat gin”. Fact. Tasting it brings out the star anise and spiciness, it’s very warming but palatable. With tonic, this is really nice. Doesn’t taste too strong, but there’s a slight bittersweetness of the chocolate at the back of the throat and a fruity edge to it. I like this; it feels right for the season unlike the lighter Pinkster Gin and such types. Slightly earthy but comforting. I’m a fan. Cracking end to 2016’s Ginvent.
Now I’m going to go eat my body weight in pigs in blankets and stuffing. Merry Christmas.
As final day of Ginvent approaches, we’ve reached Ancient Mariner‘s gin. Made from 100% British grain, this gin was inspired after someone recited the famous poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” at a church roof fundraising event. Based in Argyll (I’m really refinding my Scottish routes this Ginvent!), the Hebridean Liqueur company also produce a number of whisky and flavoured liquers. This gin is bottled at a mighty 50% so I’m expecting big strong flavours today.
It smells fragrent in a herby way – “it smells like my dad’s greenhouse”. Thanks boy. In the glass the juniper comes out and it definitely smells stronger. Mum has joined us today, she just said “it smells of oranges…doesn’t it?” Mum’s partner joined in “it smells like paint stripper.” Brilliant team tonight. It certainly tastes like 50% gin, and Mum’s face is brilliant. She is not a gin drinker. Head’s up, we’re using a different type of tonic to usual. I think it’s a bit bland. Certainly junipery and gin tasting, but I’m not picking up anything special. Having a look at the Gin Foundrys twitter, the are only four botanicals. That would be why. Very simple, but nothing exciting. Yesterday’s gin was simple but lovely. This is a bit boring. Nothing wrong with it, but I think a wedge of lemon would help.
Three gins left! Today’s gin in my Ginvent calendar is 58 Gin. I’ve followed them on Twitter for a while and have admired the bottle for a long time (we all know I love a good label). Made by Mark Marmont who became obsessed with gin after moving to London from Australia – or, more specifically, finding a gin he liked. After a few years of experimenting, he perfected 58 Gin – so called after his house number. Mixing traditional botanicals with the sweeter Sicilian lemon, pink grapefruit for balance and bourbon vanilla to round off the flavour, this gin is said to have a “crisp taste and a soft finish”.
Cracking open the bottle, it smells really nice. Fresh and zesty, it smells light and not too heavy. This could be the nice end to my working week, and the end to my hangover (if you read yesterday’s blog, it’s clear I wasn’t on top form and I regretted that this morning). Opened up in the glass, it smells very similar but with a bit more juniper coming to the front. It’s certainly zingy on the tongue. The hit of straight alcohol has woken me up. Mixing it with tonic, this is great. This could be a perfect every day gin. Thanks to heading Shirewards tomorrow, I have no fresh lemon in the house but I imagine this, or some grapefruit, would pick this up perfectly. Well balanced, a bit of juniper and a hit of citrus, this is right up my alley.
A 50cl bottle is available to buy on their website for £35. Now, I know this is a bit pricy for an everyday gin, but I like this and will be looking into getting a bottle post-Christmas.
Today’s gin comes from brother/sister/brother/sister distilling team Sibling. I’ve tried this before thanks to Craft Gin Club so let’s not waste time blathering on about it as you can read my full review over here.
Currently a full sized bottle of this 42% gin is selling for £33.95 on Master of Malt.
13, unlucky for some, lucky for us Ginventers to be given Porter’s Gin. Another Scottish gin, this time from Aberdeen – already off to a terrible start thanks to terrible childhood memories of a road trip around Scotland… Nightmares to one side, this gin came from a fairly scientific and incredibly pedantic approach. Years of experimenting with botanicals and distillation temperatures led to them settling on their current recipe. Botanicals in this final recipe include cinnamon, coriander, pink peppercorn and buddha’s hand (I will obviously be able to taste this because I totally know what it is…)
Wow this smells great. A powerful juniper smell hits you right in the back of your nostrils – certainly wakes you up! A sip of it straight drives home the juniper and the cinnamon comes out a bit – warm and tangy on the front of the tongue. It’s quite intense straight (as a good gin usually is), with tonic this is just delightful. Enough flavour to excite you, not so much it’s overpowering. It’s the right balance of sweet and tart, reminiscent of sherbet type sweets. I am a BIG fan. This is brilliant.
Bottled at 41.5%, the 70cl bottle is available on Master of Malt for £31.95. This is going to be my “don’t be sad it is January” present to myself. I LOVE this.
Merry day 12 of Ginmas and today’s Ginvent treat is Pinkster gin. I tried this a few weeks ago when Catriona and I visited the Brighton Gin festival and got rather merry, so it’s nice to have another chance to try this. Pinkster gin is so called after the raspberries used to make it turned the gin a pale pink colour. The raspberries used in the gin are grown locally to their Cambridge base – and any extra are turned into their boozy berries!
It certainly smells sweeter than the usual gin smell, but not in a cloying way. Straight up, it’s quite intense on the tongue, definitely tastes like gin! The sweeter taste is at the back of the throat – just before the burning taste! Mixed with tonic, it’s light and summery. Not too sweet or tart, it’s well balanced with the drier notes. This would go well in a cocktail (I’m thinking half gin, half Prosecco yes?), or used to jazz up some Pimms in the summer. It doesn’t feel quite right drinking it sat in my bedroom with the heating on full blast, but come summer this would be perfect down the beach.
A bottle of Pinkster gin is £30.33 on Master of Malt – I think this is about right, I don’t think I would pay more than £30 for the bottle but in the summer this will be a delight. Pinkster are available on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Not going to lie – I’ve never heard of today’s gin. After a bit of research, it turns out Napue Gin is a small batch gin from the Finnish Kyro Distillery Company using rye grain as the base spirit. This gin won the inaugural IWSC Gin & Tonic trophy, so fingers crossed it’s good! (Side note: I was telling boy about this gin and pronouncing it in a variety of ways, then it appeared on Sunday Brunch and is apparently pronounced “Nap-we”. So there we go.)
The bottling notes say it is “nose rich in meadow sweet, citrus, cumin and juniper” – hinting at a tangy and spicy flavour. Combined with the rye base, I’m expecting an earthy tone to the gin. Giving it a good sniff, it certainly smells earthy. Deep and cinnamon-y, it smells very nice.
It’s tangy on the front of the tongue, with a smokey taste lingering in your mouth. It’s ever so slightly sweeter than I thought it would be. Mixed with tonic the sweetness comes out a bit more. It’s quite drying, but this simply means you need another mouthful. Oh what a shame. This is a treat. It’s slightly more special than your standard gin, but ‘normal’ enough to have an evening of it. Plus a bit. Not too shabby for day 11.
Keep up to date with Ginvent here.
Let’s start week two of Ginvent with a gin that excites me – I tried Tarquin’s gin a long time ago thanks to my father so ramping it up to navy strength is a good prospect. Bottled at 57% instead of the usual 42% it certainly smells more intense. I gave it a sniff, and it whacks you in the face and burns your nose out. Quite a shock to my lazy afternoon.
Mixed with tonic, it smells very juniper heavy. It’s tastes fairly savoury, I think adding some rosemary wouldn’t go amiss as a garnish. Doesn’t taste as strong as it smells, but the warmth running down my throat says otherwise. I found it very sippable and could happily settle in for an evening with this. Unlike NB’s 57% gin which knocked me out after one drink. This is easy going, despite it’s strength, but have enough flavour to make it stand out.
You can find a bottle of navy strength gin on Masters of Malt for £40.52 a bottle. Whilst I’m not certain I would go out of my way to buy this, it certainly is a good addition to the collection.