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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