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.
Anno Gin hails from Kent (funnily enough) and I’ve seen them in various places but never given them a try. At Anno, they blend traditional botanicals with locally sourced lavender from the award winning Downderry Nursery, elderflower, rose hips and samphire. I’m expecting floral and slightly… salty? It certainly sounds like it packs in the flavour; the tasting notes on their website says it starts with juniper, moving to citrus and sweet spice – a flavour that grows as you drink it. Apparently it is “bold and long” (oo-er) with leafy herbal notes. It’s blended with hops so I’m expecting it to be slightly earthy amongst the other flavours.
Cracking open the tube (I should point out I have a bit of a blocked nose) it certainly smells floral and herbal. Tinges of walks in fields, light and fresh. I have a 50ml sample so I’m going to go for the Ginvent style of tasting – no mixing it with water. In the glass it smells headier and the juniper becomes more prominent. It’s slightly silky on the tongue, the taste certainly grows. Slightly sweet at the front, developing to a bolder flavour at the back of the tongue. I can also detect a slight saltiness which contrasts – and compliments – the woodier tones.
Alas, I only have a smidge of Fever Tree left, so it’s back to Tesco tonic. Sadly, the tonic slightly drowns the gin, but hints of flowers come through. With tonic, I can’t sense the soft spicy notes, but it is fresh and citrusy and a great post-run pick me up! (Training for my 10k run is going great btw…). Throwing in some lemon slices, it helps to bring the citrus flavours to the front. I’m not overwhelmed by this, but I think if I mixed it with a drier Fever Tree tonic it would help enhance the flavours.
A bottle of 43% Anno gin is currently £31.20 on Master of Malt which is pretty fair considering it’s from a microdistillery (Kent’s first in 200 years nonetheless). I’m certainly going to give this another go. You can get in touch with Anno via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.