When I was in New Zealand in January, Hannah Burns of Craggy Range and I did an impromptu tasting of Kiwi gins. We tried the gins neat, and then in G&Ts with Quina Fina tonic. We also tried a range of tonics on their own. These are my notes.
Broken Heart Navy Strength Gin
57% alcohol. From Queenstown in the South Island. Very aromatic with nice juniper and citrus aromas. Complex and really intense with an attractive spiciness. Boldly spicy and delicious. 9/10
Reid & Reid New Zealand Dry Gin
42% alcohol. From Martinborough, North Island, uses native botanicals. Batch distilled in a 200 litre copper pot still. Not too aromatic. Mellow with some juniper notes and warm spiciness. Very textural and spicy with a nice rounded character and some exotic spicy notes. Makes a smooth G&T. 8.5/10
Rogue Society Premium Dry Gin
From Auckland, with 12 botanicals. Slightly medicinal nose. Smooth, broad palate has some warmth. It’s very easy going in a G&T and doesn’t assert itself. 7/10
Chatham Islands Black Robin Gin
43% alcohol. From Auckland, with 11 botanicals. Juniper on the nose with some medicinal hints. Attractive, warm and spicy palate. A good solid performer in a G&T. 7.5/10
Ariki Ultra Premium Gin
45% alcohol. From Auckland. Interesting aromatically with some juniper, spice, camphor and citrus. There’s a spicy, smoky edge to the palate. Very distinctive: almost peaty. The Islay of gins. Makes a G&T full of character. 8.5/10
Lively and fresh and not too strongly flavoured. Pure, nicely bitter, and not too sweet.
East Imperial Tonic Water
Lively, complex, savoury and grapefruity.
East Imperial Yuzu Tonic
Really aromatic and exotic. Spicy and distinctive. Lovely.
East Imperial Old World Tonic
Dry and delicate with subtle flavours: not overpowering