This bottle has been sitting on my shelf for a while as a gift from my former housemate (the one that organised gin judging awards). Hailing from one of the world’s most prestigious wineries, the Spanish Bodegas Williams & Humbert group, the gin is made in stills that are over 100 years old. The company was founded in 1877 and focused on making sherry and brandy, and in the 1960s moved towards making wine. Since then they have expanded to make a huge variety of products including gin, rum and vodka. The gin I am drinking today is made from high quality English grains, and distilled at the Langley Distillery in Birmingham to make a traditional London Dry gin. Alongside usual botanicals juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, orange and lemon peel, orris root and liquorice root, they also add almond shells, sweet orange, orange blossom, cassia bark, and Buddha’s hand lemon. Buddha’s hand is a variety of citrus fruit from Asia, shaped like a hand with a number of thin tendrils. It is less bitter than a traditional lemon, but with a lot of fragrance which makes it a great addition to cocktails.
Vanagandr gin is the product of Enrique Pena, who left his career in business to set up and build his own distillery from scratch. Made in the autonomous community Galicia in northern Spain, he distils his gin in super small batches of 440 bottles at a time. Alongside the usual suspects juniper and angelica root, he also adds in sweet orange and lemon peel, green cardamom, nutmeg, cassia and ceylon cinnamon. The gin is then blended with fresh water sourced just 100m from the distillery. As well as handpicking his botanicals, Vanagandr gin uses a base spirit which is 100% wheat which, combined with the 14 hour slow distillation process, produces a rich gin with a soft finish.
987 gin is a Spanish London dry gin which goes through eight distillations. They macerate 14 botanicals including juniper, vanilla pods, thyme, bitter chamomile, lavender and mencia wine (a red grape with floral and red fruit flavours). These are combined with citrus fruits in copper pot stills with neutral grain spirit which was distilled five times, before being filtered and bottled by hand. They say the gin has heavy juniper and herbs on the nose, with the wine base bringing a combination of sweet and spice. The distillery also makes 987 Lollipop gin which uses cherries as their main flavour and their own premium red vermouth.
A bit of history about me: one of my first jobs was working in financial events. We were organising events about investment when crowdfunding came along. A game changer for small businesses, I actually helped to write one of the first books on crowdfunding (also an Amazon number one bestseller, available here if you’re interested in seeing my name in print). How is this relevant to gin you ask? Well a few months ago I saw that a new gin was launching via a crowdfunding campaign. I had a nosy. I spent £20. And here we are. Two small bottles of gin, two copa glasses, some extra treats and a nice mini-certificate. I should point out that one of my glasses arrived smashed (see picture) but they have been very lovely and are sending me a new one as I type.
Tinker is a British made, Spanish style gin. After beating their target and raising over £17,000 in just 28 days, they have now launched with their non-juniper heavy gin. I’m worried slightly. I really like the dryness that comes with juniper. Filled with botanicals such as orange, lemon, cinnamon, nutmeg and elderberries, Tinker are aiming for a classic gin with a contemporary twist.
As I received two 5cl samples, I’m going for the Ginvent approach – sniffing it, having it straight then as a G&T. No watering it down. Cracking open my little bottle it smells almost like a perfume – citrusy but not in an overpowering way and slightly floral – or as the boy describes it “softly fruity”. In the glass, it’s sharper (again I imagine from the citrus) and very fresh. Sipping it neat it’s certainly alcoholic, but the juniper isn’t as pronounced as usual. It’s very fresh and bold with the flavours, with a slight spiciness at the front of the tongue. Boy’s verdict? “It doesn’t taste as it smells but it’s still quite easy to drink”. Mixing it with tonic (Fever Tree Light) this is really good. I was worried as I know it’s less focused on the juniper than a typical London Dry, but this is really light and fresh. Still feels like a gin, but it’s very bright. It’s light, but still drying (my favourite part of a gin). It’s made the boy go for a second mouthful which is unusual. He seems to think it tastes smokey – it has a lingering taste. I don’t quite agree but I LOVE this,
Tinker Gin are available exclusively at GinFestival, where a 40% bottle of gin is £35 (at time of writing) which I really think is a good price. Considering it is a new gin to the market who were bought to market by crowdfunding, this really is a cracking gin. You can find Tinker Gin on Twitter and Facebook.