Ginvent means one thing: a Tarquin’s exclusive! Pairing up with team Gin Foundry for the third time (first was the Hedgerow gin, second was last year’s Tan Ha Mor), they kept fairly shtum about what exactly is involved, but luckily months of Instagram stalking (and a few conversations with Emile and Olivier) plus their release a few weeks ago mean we know a bit about this now. They wanted to really invoke the sense of Cornwall of barbecues on the beach (which TBH is summer in most coastal areas, Brighton included). Pictures from their Instagrams show the team on the beach with trays of woodchips, and they have said they threw everything on – sea samphire, fennel, saffron, spiced butter and, I kid you not, lobster. Whacked on a few extra lemons and let it all char and griddle to get a real sense of candied fruit and smoked wood and the job is a good’un. This mixture of non-veggie friendly goodness was then throw in the the pot to be distilled. So, let’s see how it tastes.
As per the last two years, I’ve received my Craft Gin Club delivery in December. Due to the daily blogging for Ginvent, I then never get to try it until after Christmas. But here we go; this month’s delivery contains an exclusive collaboration with Tarquin’s, one of my favourite distillers. I’ve tried many over the four years I’ve been writing, too many to list here but feel free to have a search back, and never have I been disappointed. This edition is only available to Craft Gin Club members and was distilled using a whopping 18 botanicals including Tarquin’s staple violet alongside Christmassy botanicals nutmeg, star anise, ginger and allspice. There’s also plenty of citrus fruits and tonka bean to bring a mulled fruit note to balance the zest and marzipan.
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.
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.