Some gins!

I’m a big fan of gin. Gin also happens to be quite trendy at the moment, especially in Spain, where you can’t move for gin bars and where gin and tonics come in big bowl shaped glasses and are wonderful.

Here’s a round-up of some gins that landed in my sample pile recently. I tried them neat without tonic, but the confounder here is that almost no one drinks gin neat. Once you put tonic and a garnish in, clearly the nature of the gin changes. But then we’re dealing with so many variables it’s hard to know where to begin with reviews. Fever tree is currently the darling of the tonics, but I’ve seen blind tastings by people who know their stuff where Schweppes has won.

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Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin
44% alcohol
This includes elderflower and 10 secret botanicals, and it’s fabulous. Nicely packaged it has an amazingly intense nose that’ssweet and very spicy with some ginger notes. Exotic, rich, powerful and complex, this is serious stuff. 8.5/10

Haymans Old Tom Gin
40% alcohol
Based on a 19th century recipe this is a slightly sweeter style. It is very lively with bright citrussy, juniper and floral notes on the nose. There’s a sweet edge to the palate and appealing texture, with a seductive personality. 8/10

Portobello Road London Dry Gin
42% alcohol
A spicy, richly textured gin with some sweetness and a restrained juniper character. Nothing sticks out, particularly. Taut, compact in flavour and nicely complex, this is a good all rounder. 8/10

Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin
42% alcohol
Distinctive nose. I’m not sure I like this: fennel, citrus and pear with a hint of mint. Very herbal and exotic with mint, herbs, spice and pepper. Crazy stuff. Weird. 6/10

Caorunn Scottish Gin
41.8% alcohol
Detailed and pretty with nice juniper and citrus peel notes. Has a rounded texture. A delicious, rounded gin of real appeal. 7.5/10

2 comments to Some gins!

  • Tim Carlisle

    Caorunn is my wife’s gin of choice, I tend to like variety and prefer different gins in different settings… That said I like Warner Edwards a lot – and the boys who make it are great too and worked really hard with retailers to make it a success.

    As for tonics – I’m not sure I necessarily subscribe to the ‘this tonic is better than that tonic’ of course there are some like that – but in lots of cases it’s more about finding the best tonic to enhance the gin. A delicate citrus led gin like Plymouth for instance will be overwhelmed by Fentimans which is a bit of a bruiser. Fever Tree meditearanean tonic doesn’t work with a lot of gins but partner it with Gin Mare and it’s a match made in heaven. Gins like Whitley Neil that have a really subtle tropical fruit note lying in the background work best with a tonic that is much more subtle and neutral – surprisingly perhaps I’ve found Aldi’s tonic does quite well here and at about 25p per litre is dead cheap because it isn’t a complicated tonic. That said why spend money on a premium gin if the tonic overwhelms it (which happens in most cases) or you are making other cocktails that again the gin sits in the background.

  • Patrick

    Well… I drink my gin in very dry martinis which is (almost) as neat as it gets. None of this tonic malarkey, just a spray of Vermouth on the glass…

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