Gift Ideas, Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Gift Idea: Pothecary Gin Chocolate Gift Box

Gin, chocolate, fireside. There, we’ve got your attention 😉 For those looking for the perfect gift for the gin-lover in your life, we invite you to consider this heavenly pairing from Pothecary Gin and Kerry Witt of “Chocolate by Miss Witt”.

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Both parties having a passion for botanicals and flavours, we could only anticipate delicious things from the pairing!

Included in the gift set is a 100ml bottle of Pothecary Gin and 4 gourmet chocolates. They come in a beautiful (and very gift-able) ribbon adorned box. The good folk at Pothecary recommended the chocolates were paired with the gin either neat or over ice and for our tasting session, we chose to try it over ice.

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Now, we first tried Pothecary back in May just before they launched, so for a review of the gin flavour profile, we kindly direct you here. So let’s get to it and talk about the chocolate in the gift set and how it compliments the gin!

We tried the the “Ana” chocolate first (gold in appearance – perfect for Christmas). Named after Anatolia, the region where the organic black mulberries grow which feature in the gin. The ganache is cleverly crafted using the gin distillates from the black mulberries and organic Sicilian lemons, so a true partnership is born. The chocolate paired really well with the Pothecary gin and in fact it enhanced all of the key flavours and tones in the gin, in particular the lavender.

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Next up was the “Provencal” chocolate, in signature Pothecary turquoise. The crisp white chocolate shell offers a hint of the wonderful signature Pothecary lavender flavour without being too overpowering and the soft creamy mousse inside leaves a salty tang which works wonders when combined with the gin itself. A lovely combination and the favourite of the two at The Gin Club.

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You can tell that real consideration and craftsmanship has gone into the creation of both the gin and the chocolates. A wonderful partnership, combined in a beautiful gift set – great job guys. I know all of us at The Gin Club would be happy with another one of these in their stocking this coming Christmas.

The gift set retails at a very palatable £25 and is now on preorder at The Gin Kiosk & from tomorrow on 31dover.com and Master of Malt.

 

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Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Tasting: Pothecary Gin

Ladies and GINtlemen – we have a very special tasting to share with you today. The good folk at Pothecary Gin proffered us with a bottle to try in advance of their grand launch in the UK and I must say, we’ve very much enjoyed this delightfully smooth tipple.

For us, this gin took us straight back to a late spring day on the island of Jersey surrounded by lavender bushes, warmed by the sun and smelling the bright scent of the ocean. And yes, lavender is a key botanical in this fresh-off-the-stills expression.

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Now, what we really love about Pothecary Gin is that it is a British (distilled in Dorset), blended gin. They have a unique process of distilling each botanical separately – and this yields a delightful profile of flavours that are both well-balanced and refreshingly individual, including wild-foraged juniper from Bulgaria, organic lavender from Provence and Organic black mulberries from Anatolia to name a few.

Incredibly smooth and easy to drink, lovers of floral, soft gins will really get on very well with Pothecary. And before it’s even properly launched, Pothecary Gin has been awarded ‘Double Gold’ at the globally renowned ‘San Francisco World Spirits Competition’. Accolade indeed.

Concepted and carefully distilled by friends Lukasz Dwornik and Martin Jennings, the pair decided after tasting one too many bland gins that they could do something better. And they may just have.

You won’t have seen Pothecary Gin on the back bar yet in London town… but fear not! If you’re off to Junipalooza this year, a) see you there and b) look out for the Pothecary team as they will be officially introducing London to their gin!

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THE TASTING

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Lavender (BIG TIME!), palma violets, liquorice and caremelised sugar.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

That lavender doesn’t give way – it shines through on the palette, quickly followed by gentle juniper and lemon sherbet.

#3       THE FINISH

A mellow, ripe blackberry finish with earthy tones of cocoa and even a hint of basil.

If you’ve tried Pothecary Gin, tell us what you thought on Twitter @the_gin_club.

 

The Perfect Serve:

OK so a G&T is great, but gin rickey (soda) let’s this delicate profile shine. Even better, a dry martini, shaken with a twist of lemon.

The chaps at Pothecary recommend a Vesper Martini or a Gin Sour.

Price:             £39

ABV:              44.8%

Our rating:     8/10

Where to Buy It in the UK:

 

Exclusively at Gin Kiosk until it launches on World Gin Day at Junipalooza, £39

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Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Tasting: Malawi Gin

Imagine you are sitting under a palm tree, skin too hot from a day in the sun, feet buried in warm sand and you are listening to a gentle fish eagle call from way back in a deep red and orange sunset over the water. That’s Malawi Gin – a soothing sunset, bottled.

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M.G.T. (Malawi Gin & Tonic), as it is fondly known, has become something of a cult amongst holidaymakers and travellers who have ventured over to the warm heart of Africa. You need only check the forum boards on TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet and you will find travellers desperately seeking a bottle once they returned to the UK. Well great news, travellers – Malawi Gin is finally available here in the UK (see end of post for where to buy)!

Established in 1965, Malawi Gin is a firm favourite not just with travellers, but with most gin lovers in Africa and it’s easy to see why – it’s a soft, gentle gin with a classic profile that has become all too forgotten lately with the prolific and wild botanicals that are awash through the gin industry right now. It’s polite and very easy to drink. Subtle notes pushing through a very silky gin indeed.

The packaging will have hipsters delighted – there’s a quaint 70s vibe I really like about it and it’s nice to see a gin that isn’t bamboozling with design and print finishes for a change. It’s true to its original look and hasn’t changed in 40 years or so.

This is indeed a dry gin, but it’s got some really lovely sweet and fruity notes that shine through.

Having grown up in Malawi, it would be fair to say that this gin has a special place in my heart and I am absolutely delighted it’s now available to buy here in the UK and I was very excited to share this delightful gin with our members.

THE TASTING

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Honey, juniper, citrus and fresh cut grass with a surprising undertone of coconut.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

Predominantly juniper and black pepper which make way for softer, sweeter notes of toffee, candied lemon peel and fresh mango.

#3       THE FINISH

Silky hints of chocolate and orange sherbet.

If you’ve tried Malawi Gin, tell us what you thought on Twitter @the_gin_club.

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The Perfect Serve:

We tried it in a classic G&T with a mango garnish. The gin is so gentle it disappears a bit with tonic, so we also tried it as a Gin Rickey (soda and fresh lime) and this really worked well too.

 

Price:             ±£35, depending where you buy it from.

ABV:              43%

Our rating:     7/10

 

Where to Buy It in the UK:

Africanos World, £33

The Gin Festival Shop, £38

Amazon, £41.95

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Gin review

Gin Tasting: Gin Lane 1751 London Dry Royal Strength

This is altogether the most unique spirit we have tried in a long while. Do you love liquorice? Are you a savoury gin fan? Then you may enjoy Gin Lane 1751 London Dry Royal Strength.

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Having only been released in late spring this year, Gin Lane 1751 is still fairly new to the craft gin market. However, as a creation of 8th generation London Distiller Charles Maxwell, their credentials are strong (which is why we were really looking forward to trying this gin). Made with 8 botanicals in a traditional Victorian style, London Dry Royal Strength is one of 4 released this year by the brand and is the first we have tried. You can read a great interview with Charles Maxwell by the good folk at GinFoundry.com (who else?!) here.

Gin Lane 1751 Royal Strength G&T

The name and liquid profile is inspired by history. Back in the mid 1700’s, the government felt that ‘Mothers Ruin’ was indeed causing far too many problems on the streets and they created a campaign to try and encourage people to switch back to a more ‘gentile’ drink – beer. Gin was blamed for a lower birth rate and for more infant deaths than ever before. As part of the campaign, this famous print by William Hogarth was commissioned, titled ‘Gin Lane’.

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Hogarth claimed that this print was ‘calculated to reform some reigning Vices peculiar to the lower Class of People’. Not long after, The Gin Act of 1751 was introduced which ensured licensing of retail premises and finally reduced consumption. Hence our Victorian style gin here is delightfully named Gin Lane 1751.

So, onto the gin – it’s a London Dry Royal Strength – and let me tell you, it really does pack a punch on the palette at 47% ABV! But even more so in flavour profile. Read on to see our tasting below. Before we get to the profile though, it must also be said that this gin has a really refreshing price point – £22.99 for a 70cl bottle. They have a principle of bringing affordable craft gin to the market place which I really like.

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THE TASTING

Made in a traditional Victorian style, it is heavy on juniper and star anise. What hits you right away is the strong citrus, bitter juniper and heavy pepper, which quickly opens up into a real hit of liquorice and fennel. I’d be so bold as to suggest that this isn’t a beginner’s gin – with quite a complex palette and a very bold profile, this gin is for those looking for something very different. Not everyone at Gin Club got on with this expression, but I’m pleased that it’s a gin bold enough to inspire opinion.

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Plenty of juniper, rosemary, lemon and limes.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

The citrus and juniper are still very much there and are quickly followed by a powerful hit of aniseed and cracked black pepper.

#3       THE FINISH

Coriander, a hint of lemongrass and even a tiny notion of bitter cacao.

If you’ve tried Gin Lane 1751, tell us what you thought on Twitter @the_gin_club.

The Perfect Serve

We tried it in a classic G&T with lemon, a Negroni, a dirty martini and then we also tried it again as a G&T with coriander and chilli. We felt this London Dry suited the savoury servings most and the simple garnish of chilli and coriander helped to compliment some of the natural punch in this gin.

Price:             £22.99

ABV:              47%

Our rating:     6/10

Where to Buy It

At TheDrinkShop.com (£22.99), here.

At MasterOfMalt.com (£22.99), here.

As Selfridges (£26.99), here.

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Gin review, Naked Tasting

Gin Tasting: Silent Pool Gin

Price:             ±£35

ABV:               43%

Profile:            Citrus, Kaffir Lime leaf, lavender, chamomile and fresh grass

Our rating:       9/10

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In the world of craft gins, you can easily become overwhelmed and bamboozled by obscure botanicals and quirky flavour profiles and exaggerated marketing… So much so that when you do come across a gin that is as well balanced, polite and altogether delightful as Silent Pool, you remember why you started drinking gin in the first place. Thank you, Master Distiller Cory Mason, for reminding us that, like a Gregory Peck or a Jaguar E-Type… sometimes the classics never go out of style. Indeed, Silent Pool have remade the classic profile of a quintessential gin but added a modern twist that is undeniably exquisite.

Having first discovered Silent Pool gin at The London Gin Festival back in February, we knew knew almost immediately that this would become a firm favourite at The Gin Club (not least of all because their distillery is not far from my house in Surrey!). We were then reminded of how superb it was whilst stopping in for refreshment on a long country walk at The Drummond, Albury (if you haven’t been you really must make a trip out to Surrey and enjoy the fine hospitality of the team and enjoy a Silent Pool by the babbling brook in the pub garden) and that was that, we knew we had to get several bottles in. A few weeks later we drove out to Ripley to meet Ian from Silent Pool distillery and acquire a few bottles for the next Gin Club meet. Needless to say, it was the most popular gin that night.

Silent Pool itself is a site of mystery, magic and legend based near Albury, Surrey. The Distillery takes spring water from Silent Pool in the making of the gin, hence the name. A place of extreme beauty and shrouded in mystery and magic, we’re pleased to report that the gin is just as interesting. Legend has it that a woodcutters daughter drowned in the bottomless pool and that her spirit can be seen rising from the waters at night. If you’ve ever been to silent pool, you’ll know how incredibly clear the water is and how many glorious rainbow colours you can see on the bottom created by various plant life. The Silent Pool gin bottle aims to reflect some of this magic and it certainly is a beautiful bottle that can be proudly displayed on your gin shelf.

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24 unique and unamed botanicals (the gin is as mysterious as it’s namesake) come together to deliver a very refreshing gin that unfolds gently on the palette. Our tasting notes in full below, however you will be rewarded with a crisp citrus and peppery profile to start that gives way to the deep sweetness of honey and that leaves a soothing wave of lavender and chamomile behind. We tried it neat and with Jack Rudy’s Tonic syrup and sparkling mineral water.

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An absolutely delightful gin – polite on the palette, refreshing with a confident citrus profile that is balanced beautifully with gentle notes of honey, lavender and rose.

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Lots of lovely juniper followed by bright lemon, kaffir lime, fresh cracked black pepper, coriander and sherbet.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

Citrus quickly gives way to silky aniseed, sweet chamomile and lavender, a touch of rose.

#3       THE FINISH

Warm honey, fresh oranges and maybe even a hint of mint.

The Perfect Serve

We tried a simple orange slice garnish & a gooseberry – which complimented the citrus profile of the gin and then again with a slice of pear and sprig of lavender – which really sung.

Because Silent Pool has such a wonderfully balanced profile, a classic dirty martini, served extra cold, with lemon stuffed olives to compliment the citrus profile is just wonderful.

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Gin review, Naked Tasting

Gin tasting: Warner Edwards Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin

Price:                          ±£38

Profile:                        Rhubarb, citrus, crème brulee

Perfect serve:             Frozen, over ice as a sipping gin or a gin rickey

Our rating:                  8/10

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Gin fit for a Queen. No, really. This byoot-ee-fool gin is a Limited Edition from the chaps at Warner Edwards and it will really make you put your pinky up when sipping such a delightful drop. It’s made with rhubarb descended from a crop that grew in Queen Victoria’s garden – a most regal rhubarb that not only gives it a glorious flavour profile that’s both sweet and tart at the same time, but it colours the gin an elegant pink! And I, Lady Jenever, do heartily declare that this is one of my favourite gins of 2014.

I had seen Warner Edwards gin about, as one does, but had not got round to trying it until we met Sion Edwards and Tom Warner at Taste of London Christmas this year on a Gin Club mini-meet. The guys are such fun, a delight to chat to and I imagine the kind of chaps who would just make a dinner party with witty banter and good humour. Chatting a little more to Tom, he offered us a taste of Victoria’s Rhubarb and we had to buy a couple of bottles immediately for the rest of the Gin Club to taste.

Everything about this gin is delightful, from the story of how they came to become gin distillers (they met at agricultural college and started out with the intention of making essential oils..!) to the story of the rhubarb to the story of their still (it’s called ‘Curiosity’ thanks to the Distillery cat). It’s all delightful. The good folk at Gin Foundry wrote an awesome blog post about the Warner Edwards story – we won’t try and write one better, do have a read.

But to the gin itself… it’s a surprising gin to the palette, yet heart warming. We can thoroughly recommend getting your hands on a bottle before it’s all gone.

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#1:      ON THE NOSE

This is a summer Saturday afternoon with good friends in a glass – English rose, crème brulee, baked rhubarb and apple pie and a hint of lavender.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

 A big hit of rhubarb (as you’d expect), soft citrus, pecans and caramel. This could easily be a sipping gin served ice cold.

#3       THE FINISH

Dry & warm but syrupy.

The Perfect Serve

We tried it straight up and of course as a classic G&T (Fever Tree tonic) with a slice of fresh lemon.

This would make a great gift for Christmas – if you’re looking for a last minute gift, get to your local gin retailer ASAP and bag a bottle, or do an IOU and buy from Warner Edwards direct.

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Gin review, Naked Tasting

Gin tasting: Jam Jar Gin, Botanical No. 1

Hand’s up if you’ve heard of Yerburgh’s JAM JAR GIN? No? We hadn’t either. Jam Jar Gin is a new gin that hasn’t even made it to market yet, but this evening they made their crowd-funding target just 3 days after it went live. You can imagine how chuffed we were here at The Gin Club to get some samples of their first born to try! We tried Botanical No. 1 and can confirm it really does the Founders, Dan and Faye Thwaites, proud.

Yup, you guessed right - bottled in Jam Jars!

Yup, you guessed right – bottled in Jam Jars!

This is a delightful London Dry with a divine story – you can read it on their website. Delivered in miniature jam jars, the samples just looked the business. The real deal is of course going to be bottled in large jam jars – they’ve even invented a pourer for those wishing to be more accurate on their serves. This gin is going to really stand out on shelves. It doesn’t just look good – it tastes fantastic.

Inspired by ingredients found in their Victorian kitchen garden, Dan & Faye have created a truly British gin. Carefully selected botanicals, like raspberry leaf, give the gin a clean, citrusy & uplifting fragrance. On the palette, a rounded, peppery sweet taste with a long, creamy finish. Dan says of the botanicals, “They’re all inspired by the original experiments we did in our garden. To get the volume and quality, we select them from the best sources to make a flavour that we love.” Watch this space! They plan to build a distillery in their garden, right at the source of inspiration!

Their recommendation is to freeze the gin before serving; we tried it both frozen and room temperature – both work. (If you want some top tips for nosing & tasting gin like a pro, read this earlier post).

Quite simply, this gin is bloody marvellous. We were so inspired by the profile of Botanical No. 1 during the neat tasting that we immediately experimented with ingredients in the cupboard. And do you know what? It worked! Here’s what we came up with:

  1. ‘Jam Fine’ – blended frozen raspberries, organic bramble jam, mint, lime & Botanical No. 1 served with lime, fresh mint and a sprinkle of sherbet on the top.
  2. ‘Earl-y Marmejamjam’ – cold steeped Earl Grey tea, marmalade, candied orange peel, soda & Botanical No. 1 served with dehydrated clementine slice and ice shards. A breakfast gin if ever there was one! (Drink responsibly folks…)

We’ll post the recipes tomorrow – you’ll just have to wait!!

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Our experiments: ‘Jam Fine’ and ‘Earl-y Marmejamjam’ cocktails made with nothing more than what we found in the cupboard.

As it goes, we enjoyed this gin so much we had to go and support these determined GINdependants as soon as we tasted it and buy a bottle. They’ve already hit their target, but take a look at their crowd-funding page here and support them – that way we won’t have to wait long to get Jam Jar Gin in more G&T’s. Hoorah! *Makes room on the shelf for Jam Jar Gin*. Dan told us, “We’ve got big dreams for our lovely gin but the drinks business can be pretty tough, so we need to get as much of a head-start as we can. With some very generous backing, we’ve already hit our minimum target. We’re keen to keep going to see if we can get a jar of our lovely gin on as many shelves as possible!”

The official Gin Club Review

#1:      ON THE NOSE

If you could bottle the first day of spring in London… you know, that day when you can just SMELL it and everything feels GOOD? That’s this gin! Floral, freshly cut grass, lime zest and gooseberry.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

 So much… just… so much! Gentle pink peppercorns come through at first which make way for a fleeting burst of bitter dark chocolate and orange peel. Surprising, to say the least.

#3       THE FINISH

Boiled sweets that remind you of younger days on Brighton beach, warming custard and blackberry crumble too.

The Perfect Serve

Here’s the best bit… there isn’t one! This is a gentle gin that can play with lots of flavours. The whole philosophy behind Jam Jar Gin is to hold a space in the world of cocktails for those of us who aren’t necessarily professional mixologists, but who enjoy experimenting.

“The perfect garnish? We’re simple souls, we like frozen fruit! We have a lot of produce from the garden, but more often than not it all comes at once. So we often end up bunging some in the freezer. One time, when I was making some drinks, we had run out of ice, so I just grabbed what was to hand – some frozen blackcurrants. Not only did they cool the drink beautifully, but they slowly infused the mixture.” – another top tip from Dan. We love this!

Rating: 9/10

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