Apparently, June 8 is World Gin Day. We know this because for the past few months we’ve routinely received emails from gin (and tonic) producers asking if we were covering the event. We weren’t planning to, but owing to the persistence of some we’ve decided to dedicate a New Booze Round-up to the best we’ve been sent. Happy World Gin Day everyone…
Bombay Sapphire Limited Edition: English Estate, 40%
The first of our gins arrived from the familiar name of Bombay Sapphire. Whenever we run gin-based cocktail making demos we always ask attendees what their favourite gin is, and Bombay Sapphire’s famous blue booze usually gets the most mentions.
Our gardening crowd should be impressed with the distillery’s new release, a limited edition that “draws inspiration from the landscape surrounding the Bombay Sapphire Laverstoke Distillery in Hampshire”*. It has three new botanicals which all grow in the area – Pennyroyal Mint, Rosehip and toasted Hazlenut. The resulting gin is every bit as florally fresh as their classic spirit but the botanical notes have been turned up a notch and there’s a more noticeable citrus spark to the flavour. With a few sunny summer days already under our belts, our bottle is looking rather empty already.
Theodore, Pictish Gin, 43%
Gin makers are looking for all sorts of inspiration for making (and marketing) their gin, and Scotland’s Greenwood distillers have come up with a product that takes the Picts as its inspiration. The tribe was said to be among the first settlers in Scotland and there are a few historical botanicals among the 16 ingredients featured in this gin. One of these is a favourite of ours, pine needles, while the smokey, floral notes of vetiver and puckering zestiness of citric pomelo also make an appearance.
These botanicals and other original pictish illustrations adorn the packaging, which is every bit as good as the gin, and we think it would make an excellent gift for any discerning gin drinkers.
North Uist Distillery, Downpour Gin, 46%
Next up is another Scottish distillery and the first to open on the Hebridean island of North Uist. They’re currently working on a single malt, which will take a while to be ready, but until then spirit seekers can enjoy their gin. It’s a citrussy number with heady floral notes, which we’re guessing are predominantly heather. Whereas some gins tinker with traces of botanicals, what most impresses us is that Downpour has them thrust them forward with full-flavoured confidence.
The distillery’s website recommends serving with a sprig of rosemary and as that’s our favourite G&T garnish they get even more top marks from us.
Citadelle, Gin de France, 44%
This gin isn’t new (it has been around since the mid 1990s) but we’ve not knowingly tried a French gin before so were intrigued to see this bottle arrive through the post. It is made with 19 botanicals which mingle and merge to give it some complexity behind the very punchy juniper flavours that take centre stage.
We find that a lot of modern gins lose their appeal when mixed with tonic – all that hard work to create unique flavours that can often be dashed with a dose of quinine – but this one demands some cold and fizzy liquid to tame it and bring out the full palette of flavours. Magnifique!
*Several of our demo attendees have mentioned it as being a great place to visit. It’s on our list.