Sheep’s Eye Gin (42.0%)

Gin

Guys and Dolls script – Your own true love this day/with the sheep’s eye/and the lickerish tooth.

Distilled at the Lickerish Tooth distillery in Teeside, North East England. With the Masked Peste as their muse and basis for a number of their designs, along with a little help from 50’s musical Guys and Dolls a range of curious spirits was born.

“The plague doctors used strange and curious concoctions in their ‘beaks’, designed to ward off the putrid plague air, and these herbs and spices became the starting point for our Licker vodka and Sheep’s Eye Gin.”

If I’m honest the Masked Peste creeps me out a little…. On to the gin.

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I poured this gin in to a glencairn glass and left it to develop in the glass for ten minutes. Again for a gin review I haven’t added any water or tonic as I want to judge this spirit raw.

The spirit is quite light in the glass, coating the side leaving beads rolling down the inside. There is a complete clarity to this spirit.

The nose is initially quite soft with hits of mellow spice with a aroma not unlike caraway, this is followed by notes of red stone fruit and cracked black pepper. As the nose opens more citrus and herbal notes come to the fore rounded of by a soft floral aroma.

The flavour is DIFFERENT, not in a bad way but just completely different to the nose. A huge blast of thyme, a soft prickle of spice and then a wash of grassy, floral flavours follow. As you taste again the initial taste becomes more prominent with spice, cracked pepper and vanilla. There is a warming undertone of the celery seed which becomes very prominent and makes this gin an utter joy to drink!

The finish is long with grassy, floral and citrus flavours but this is all held together with a warming spice from the celery seeds!

All I can really do now is gush! I had no idea what to expect from this gin other than it’d be a little off piste and my gosh what a lovely suprise!

This gin is available directly from the distillery HERE or from Master of Malt HERE!

GO BUY IT NOW BEFORE I GET IT ALL!!

Cheers!

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Zuidam Dutch Courage 44.5%

Gin

I received a rather lovely gift from my other half. She signed me up to a subscription with the Gin Crowd. This is the first one I tried and wanted to share this beautiful gin with you!

Located in Baarle-Nassau, around 2 miles from the Belgian border. Zuidam Distillers B.V create their products in the traditional way. With all 100% natural ingredients which are carefully selected and processed into the most fantastic products at their family owned and run distillery. All recipes are designed by father Fred and son Patrick van Zuidam.

This gin is a rich dry gin in style. It’s based on grain spirit, which is flavoured with 9 botanicals juniper berries and iris root from Italy, coriander from Morocco, angelica, sweet oranges and fresh whole lemons from Spain, liquorice root from India, cardamom and whole vanilla beans from Madagascar. Made in small batches, this is a crisp and full-bodied gin which works wonderfully in cocktails or equally on it’s own.

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I poured this gin in to a glencarin glass and left it to develop in the glass for ten minutes. For the review I haven’t added any water or tonic as I want to judge this spirit raw.

The spirit is syrupy in the glass and coats the side leaving long legs. There is a slight golden tinge to the spirit.

The nose is a classic juniper heavy aroma up front. Hints of vanilla, caraway and orange follow. Notes of red berry, sea salt and a hit of exotic spice. the end of the aroma is slightly sweeter with notes of icing sugar and coriander right on the finis.

The flavour is initially sweet with notes of vanilla, roasted spices and citrus peel bursting through prominently. This of caraway, aniseed and some slightly floral almost rose water flavours follow. The mouthfeel is oily with huge notes of juniper wrapping everything up in a well balanced tangy bow.

The finish is long lasting with a bright bitter liquorice flavour!

This gin is an excelent example of a classic Dutch dry gin and in my opinion not many will come better than this!

This was available through the January Gin Crowd subscription or for around £29 on Master of Malt and is well worth looking in to for the experienced gin drinker!

Cheers!!

 

 

Eden Mill – Love Gin (42%)

Gin

I had hoped to continue my outdoor tastings throughout the Scottish summer but due to the monsoon like rain I have been unable to.

On going to the shop to buy some Fever Tree tonic water for this review I managed to make to the shop dry with the over head promise of clearing sky. After paying for the goods I turned around and what I was faced with made my heart sink. (See below).

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After pushing my boat off from the pier, paddling home and eventually drying out I got to work on this review.

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Eden Mill have produced gin since 2014 and are based in Guardbridge by St Andrews. The gin itself is made with 5 core botanicals and eight further, exotic flavours (including red rose petals, marshmallow root, goji berries and whole hibiscus flowers).

The gin is presented in a very clean simple and beautiful style. The bottle is clay with a simple red label on the front.

The gin pours clear with a pink tinge.

Straight:

The nose is floral with notes of red berry and soft citrus. There are notes of rose, hibiscus and orange in the background.

The flavour has notes of lime, rose, hibiscus and the goji berries come through also.

With water:

There is more notes of lime coming forward with hints of berries, orange, soft sugar sweetness and floral rose and hibiscus in the background.

The flavour has notes of goji berries, lime, lemon orange and hibiscus. This is followed by sweet and slightly herbal notes at the finish.

This gin is most definitely challenging and very different but that is by no means a bad thing!

These flavours push traditional boundaries and are just fantastically balanced!

Cheers!

Strane – London Dry Gin (47.4%)

Gin

Continuing down the road of gin reviews I’ve picked up a bottle of Strane London Dry Gin made by Smögen Whisky AB who were founded in 2009 and based surprisingly enough in Smögen.

Having spent some of my childhood on and around Smögen and some of my family still stay there I guess it’s a place I’m familiar with. About an hour and a half drive north of Göteborg the island is a magnet for Swedish and Norwegian tourists.

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The design of the packaging is simple with the Nordic flare for clean lines and a paragraph about the gin on the side of the box. This notes that the gin is made in a pot still over a live flame.

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On to the gin.

The gin pours perfectly clear

Straight:

The nose is pungent with juniper, coriander seed and candied mint. In the background there are notes of sea salt and pine. The nose finishes with hints of orange peel and lime.

The flavour is a burst of juniper and lime followed by mint and a sweet sugar note. The alcoholic strength isn’t as prominent as I’d imagined. There is a smoothness and balance from the herbal and citrus flavour which makes this very drinkable even neat!

With water:

The nose opens up and more juniper comes busting forward. The mint is much more prominent and notes of pepper and coriander seed. Notes of lime and lemon are in the background and hints of rose on the finish.

The flavour is juniper and lime on the front with lemon and coriander. There are hints of cumin and mint down the middle of the tongue. The finish again is very smooth and slightly sweet.

This gin is hugely complex but also very easy going. This gin is perfect for summer and has a great balance and refreshing flavour.

I purchased this from the Dufftown Whisky Shop but it is widely available.

The Swedish gin experiment.

Gin

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I’ve always had a strong connection with Sweden (My mum is from Gothenburg). So when I had the chance to pick up some gin made in Sweden I jumped at the chance.

I picked up three bottles in all, from three different parts of Sweden.

I’ve only just started gin reviewing and three in one is a little daunting. I’m going to lay this out as logically (at least in my head) as I can. So I’ll tell you a little about the gins and go straight in to the reviews after.

The gins are made by The Spirit of Hven, Svenska Eldvatten & Hernö Gin.

Normally I do these with a set of notes with tonic, for the sake of brevity I’ve skipped this.

I’m going to start with The Spirit of Hven, who are based on the island of Ven which sits between Sweden and Denmark. This gin is organic, non chill or carbon filtered and bottled at 40%. It also comes in a fantastically shaped conical bottle!

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Straight:

The nose is a little spice forward with hits of black and pink pepper, aniseed, cardamom and vanilla. This is followed by sweeter notes of white sugar, juniper and a dried wood hit almost like oak. There is a sea air brine note which reminds me of olives.

The taste is quite balanced and rounded, the spices wash over your palate leaving a soft  juniper flavor in the background. There are notes of red fruit almost like cherry stones which finish in a cranberry like dryness. There is a sweet and spice note to this which is a wonderful balance.

The finish is dry with a long lasting aniseed note.

With water:

The nose become much sweeter, the vanilla note is much more prominent. There are now notes of smoke and hay along with the spiced aromas which now tie in much more closely and provide a much more balance aroma.

The flavor too is now sweeter with the fruit and aniseed notes coming through at the beginning of the taste. This is followed by notes of juniper and an almost resinous woody flavor.

The finish is much dryer with an almost medicinal aniseed and juniper flavor.

Next is Göteborg Gin by Svenska Eldvatten. This is a more traditional style of gin which is bottled at 45%. (Don’t imagine I’ll need to tell you where this is from).

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Straight:

This is much more citrus and juniper forward on the nose. This is followed by notes of pine, sugar, blueberry and soft vanilla spice. There are slight herbal notes but this adds to what is a very well balanced nose. At the very end there is a light sea salt (marine) quality.

The taste starts with intense citrus and juniper followed by a soft spice note. This is followed by a bittersweet (burnt caramel maybe?) flavor. There is a redcurrant note followed by again a sea salt flavor. The taste finishes with a ginger like prickle across the tongue.

The finish is dry but smooth.

With water:

The nose now has much more of a marine (sea side) quality to it. There are huge hits of citrus and juniper followed by brown sugar and cardamom. With the water the berries come more more to the fore and balance out the nose nicely.

The flavor has juniper, lemon and sea salt. There are sweet notes followed by lemongrass and notes of pink pepper. With water there is this almost beach side freshness which is beautifully refreshing!

The finish is a long lasting dry hit of juniper.

Finally is Hernö Gin who are based in Härnösand, around half way up Sweden on the Baltic coast. (Unless you know where Sundsvall is that’s the best I can explain). This is a London style gin bottled at 40.5%.

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Straight:

The nose is hugely floral and grassy. The juniper comes forward followed by something quite resinous in the background. There is a slight minty herbal note at the end.

The flavor is pungent with huge floral and lavender notes. There are sharp herbal and resin notes. There are notes of coriander and lemon peel at the end.

The finish is dry with a long lasting herbal note.

With water:

The floral note is almost instantly calmed and this allows the more herbal tones to come forward. There is a light almost tree sap sweetness that come through followed by lemon and juniper.

The flavor is much more juniper forward but I still find myself getting distracted by the floral lavender notes which I find a little overpowering for my tastes. The end of the taste is a huge blast of herbal flavours almost like you’ve pushed your face into a pot of parsley.

The finish is very dry and floral.

It’d be impossible to surmise all of these gins in one go as they’re so different. In their own way they are all fantastic, challenging and enjoyable drinks!

It’s great to see such verity in just three expressions of the same drink and I can’t help but feel excited about whats next!

I purchased these from Master of Malt.

Cheers!

Crossbill Gin (43.8%)

Gin

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Following my recent penchant for tasting gin I thought I’d give another one a go!

This time not based quite as close to home but Aviemore isn’t that far away.

Crossbill caught my eye because they are doing something just a little different to other distillers. They’re producing a gin using 100% Scottish juniper in partnership with the Forestry Comission.

To be fair many people use Local as a byword for quality and I want to see if that can be proved by the use of Scottish juniper (and rosehips) in this gin and find if it has any effect on the flavor!

Founded at the end of 2013 this distillery is now in full production but from what I can understand (If I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected), batches are produced when the juniper is harvested (in October).

The gin is made using only two botanicals. As you may have guessed these are Juniper and Rosehip which is again produced locally.

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So on to the gin!

Appearance: Crystal clear with a slightly syrupy quality in the glass.

Neat:

The nose is intense with red fruit, orange, white sugar and herbs. After a small amount of time in the glass notes of pine and citrus peel come forward. The aroma is surprisingly complex for such a small number of ingredients.

The initial taste has huge amounts of pine, orange, mint and sugar. There are floral notes and a huge hit of juniper. The feeling in the mouth is intensely dry with a slight alcohol spice.

With water:

The nose opens up more with more pine and juniper coming through. This is followed by notes of orange lemon peel and notes of herb. Red berries come through from the rosehip ending in a sugar sweetness.

The flavor has again more notes of pine, a slight grain sweetness and a soft red berries. The middle of the taste becomes more bitter with juniper and fresh herbs finishing with a dry citrus note.

The mouthfeel is slightly oily but drying.

With tonic:

The nose has much more citrus and pine coming forward with huge hits of red berry. The notes are floral with hits of bitter juniper.

The flavor is sweet with red fruit, juniper and red berries. There are notes of dry herb lemon and cloud berries at the end of the taste.

The finish is dry but refreshing.

This is a straightforward to point drink, rich with red berries and floral notes from the juniper. The ingredients give this gin a unique selling point and in my mind really had to deliver. It really doesn’t fall short!

I picked this up at Hammerton Stores, Aberdeen. This is also available on Crossbill’s own website.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

Caorunn gin – (41.8%)

Gin

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This is my second gin review and again I’ve decided to go local….(ish).

This gin is distilled at the Balmenach Distillery which is probably better know as a whisky distillery. This distillery is located in Cromdale about 30 miles south of Elgin.

When being made the gin is infused using a berry chamber from the 1920’s. The ingredients are spread on trays and the spirit vaporised and left to pick up the flavours from the 5 botanicals.

The local botanicals used are rowan berries, Coul Blush apple, heather, bog myrtle and dandelion which supplement the more traditional juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root and cassia bark.

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As this is only my second gin review I’m still pretty new at this. If I have made any mistakes please contact me and I’ll rectify them.

The notes were done in three stages. Neat, with a tea spoon of water and with tonic water.

The gin pours completely clear.

Neat.

Nose – Initially sweet on the nose with floral notes, citrus flowers, juniper, apple skin and vanilla spice.

Taste – Floral up front with notes of apple and heather. There are herbal notes along with clean refreshing citrus and juniper. Feels very think and substantial in the mouth with an almost marine (sea air quality) at the end of the taste.

Finish – The finish is spicy and floral but refreshing. Even neat there are no overt notes of alcohol but there is a long lasting herbal dryness.

With one tea spoon of water.

Nose – Initially sweet but this time with more of a citrus oil note coming through, floral notes again with hints of heather in the background. Next comes a hit of juniper, this is followed by soft apple notes and vanilla. There is a slight spice to the nose maybe pink peppercorn.

Taste – Now much more apple coming forward with a fruit sugar note. This followed by juniper and a slight spice. Toward the end of the taste there is a refreshing almost peppermint note which replaces the spice.

The finish is dry and long lasting with the same sea air note at the very end.

With tonic.

Nose – Orange blossom, soft sweetness and notes of lemon peel. There are juniper and floral notes which come through. At the end there is a slightly medicinal herbal note.

Taste – Much more floral, with citrus and cucumber. A huge punch of apple and vanilla follow. Hugely refreshing with a slight dryness.

Finish – Much dryer with a long lasting citrus rind bitterness.

I picked up this gin from Oddbins for around £30. It’s a very intense and rewarding drink and I’d definitely recommend picking this up!

Cheers!

My first gin review. (Rock Rose)

Gin

I’ll be honest here. I’ve never reviewed a spirit before never mind a gin.

This is very much a beginners view of a drink I know very little about.

Rock Rose it’s self is situated only about 20 miles away from where I was schooled in a village named Dunnet. This is a village which has a wonderful beach and some amazing scenery.

The gin is fantastically presented in a clay bottle with a textured label and flavoured with Juniper, Rose root, Sea Buckthorn, Rowan berries, coriander seed and verbena (and more).

I was able to get this gin from the Store House in John O’ Groats but it’s available in the Hammerton store and whisky shop in Aberdeen (other shopping options may vary) https://www.masterofmalt.com/gin/dunnet-bay/rock-rose-gin/?srh=1 is also an option.

Now on to the review…(If I make any glaring errors please tell me!)

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  • Neat: The nose has Juniper, Red currant, Sea Buckthorn, a medicinal sweet quality followed by an iodine sea salt note.
  • On tasting it neat: there are notes of juniper and red fruit, this is followed by some soft spice, soft sugar and sea salt notes.
  • Adding a small amount of water: The nose opens up slightly allowing the Sea Buckthorn and Juniper notes to come flooding through, this is followed by confectionery sugar, sea salt and now some citrus orange peel notes.
  • On tasting the sweetness is now a lot more prominent followed by the red berry and juniper notes this finishes in a dry sea weed & iodine taste which rounds out the flavours nicely.
  • With tonic water (in this case Fever Tree) On the nose there is a lot more citrus, this almost makes the juniper more prominent, there are now notes of orange peel, lemon rind, cardamom, a creamola foam sweetness and red berries. The sea side notes have now been pushed to the peripheries.
  • On tasting with tonic the orange is now much more prominent but in this case it leans toward a blood orange flavour. This is followed by red berries, soft spice, juniper, oak, sugar sweetness and drying sea salt notes which in my view accentuate the sweetness,

This gin is more than worth it’s price tag. It strikes a fine balance between flavours which make this extremely accessible to novices like myself and more hardened gin drinkers.

I hope this was as fun to read as it was challenging to write!

Any feedback is more than welcome!

Cheers!!