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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How To Guides

How to: Let it SLOE, let it SLOE, let it SLOE!

So, back in October I wrote a post on how to make sloe gin. And, with less than 10 days to go until Christmas day, tonight was the night to filter & bottle the good stuff! Here’s a quick guide to getting your sloe gin out of the KILNER and ready to gift.

What you’ll need…

  1. I have used 250ml KILNER clip top bottles. You’ll need as many as you have made gin for!
  2. Muslin. I use butter muslin from Kitchen Craft. You probably only need one pack.
  3. Conical sieve. I like the Kitchen Craft 16cm conical sieve for this.
  4. Stainless steel funnel. I use this one, again from Kitchen Craft. It has a small filter you can remove.
  5. Labels. I used chalkboard labels this year. You could buy some like these ones from NotOnTheHighStreet.com

Let's get these sloes on the road

So. First things first. You need to remove the sloe’s. Simples! Just pour your gin out of the jar through a large sieve or colander and throw your sloes away.

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Next, you want to line your conical sieve with a few layers of muslin. This will help to filter away some of the sediment. Note: it will never get rid of all of the sediment, but that’s OK. This is homemade sloe gin and a little sediment never hurt anyone. We aren’t talking professional chill filtration here, clearly. Do fold the muslin over a few times though before you line the sieve – the more times, the better the filter. Pour the gin through the muslin and sieve slowly (or is that sloe-ly?). Under the sieve, make sure you have another pyrex pouring jug or similar.

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Now that you’ve filtered your gin, you may wish to go again for a second filtration. Up to you.

Finally, you’re ready to decant into your bottles using a funnel.

Get those bottles labelled and you’re away! You could add some festive ribbon or decorations if you liked.

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Word of caution: I use these clip top KILNER’s because I like them and they are easy for the recipient to reuse, but they can leak (even though they aren’t meant to). Recommend wrapping and keeping the bottles upright under the tree!

So from everyone at The Gin Club and from myself, Lady Jenever, here’s wishing you the most wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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