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The 2014 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

RH-winner2014

2014 was another strong year on my website as it relates to the spirit which is called Gin. During the month of August, I published the Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge a competition where I chose 17 different gins to pit against each other in constructing the quintessential summer cocktail, the Gin and Tonic. A fortunate by-product of my summertime challenge is that I obtained a large sampling of gin spirits for review this year and have a strong field from which to select my award winners this year.

As I usually do, I invited one of my gin loving friends to help me in the judging process for the 2014 awards. Each spirit was served in two cocktails (Darby Cocktail, and a Dry Gin Martini) as well as served neat with no ice. I also included the results from my Gin and Tonic Challenge in my analysis.

Allow me to reveal the recipients of my 2014 Rum Howler Awards for Excellence in the Production of Gin.

These Awards are for the Best Gin Spirits, I encountered in the year 2014:

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Sahara GinThe 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Gin Value

and the winner is:

Sahara Dry Gin

Runner-up award to: Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)

Honourable Mention to: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

We judged this competition in head to head tastings, serving each Gin in the three aforementioned cocktails, (as well as serving a small sample of each spirit neat). Afterwards we selected the spirit which we felt gave us the best bang for our buck, factoring the cost of each spirit into our considerations. The winner of this category would be the best gin for a budget conscious individual.

For the third year in a row, the winner was the little known Sahara Dry Gin which is produced in a batch style process by Highwood Distillers.

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Orthydoxy SAM_1227The 2014 Rum Howler Award for the Best Mixing Gin

and the winner is:

Dictador Ortodoxy Gin

Runner-up award to: Sahara Dry Gin

Honorable Mention to: The Botanist Isla Dry Gin and Ungava Gin

For this category, I was only concerned with what made the best cocktails. I did not consider price, and I did not consider the performance of any of the spirits as sippers. I gave each cocktail equal weight in the process, and determined my award winners from my friend and I’s scores.

The results of my Gin and Tonic Challenge earlier this summer had a strong impact on the results as all of the finalists were strong gin and tonic contenders. The winner was a gin from of all places Colombia, Dictador Ortodoxy Gin. Dictador is well-known for their fantastic rum, now they make fantastic Gin as well.

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Citadelle 2013 SAM_1363The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Sipping Gin

and the winner is:

Citadelle Reserve (2013)

Runner-up award to: The Botanist Isla Dry Gin

Honorable Mention to: No. 3 London Dry Gin

The choice for best sipping gin came down to an aged gin from France (Citadelle Reserve) and a spirit which represented Jim McEwan’s personal journey of discovery which he underwent while he went through the process of researching and producing the first Islay Dry Gin. It was very close, however the added subtleties of oak aging won the day and the Citadelle was judged as the best sipper. The very good (and very traditional) No. 3 London Dry Gin was a strong honourable mention.

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Bot and Tonic SAM_1260The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Gin

and the winner is:

The Botanist Isla Dry Gin

Runner-up awards to: Citadelle Reserve 2013 Edition and Beefeater 24

Honorable Mention to Ungava Gin and Dictador Ortodoxy Gin

For this category, half the score was based upon the taste of the constructed cocktails, and half the score was based upon the performance of the gin when served neat.

After going through all of the scoring, and tasting many wonderful gins neat and in cocktails I awarded the title of Rum Howler 2014 – Best Overall Gin, to Jim McEwan’s delightful  Botanist Isla Dry Gin.  The 2013 Edition of Citadelle Reserve and Beefeater 24 put up a strong fight and were each named Runners-up Award winners. A surprisingly strong contender from Quebec Canada, Ungava Gin deserves honourable mention along with another strong contender from Colombia, Dicatador Ortodoxy.

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RH-winner2014The Winners:

The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Gin Value:  Sahara Dry Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Mixing Gin: Dictador Ortodoxy Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Sipping Gin: Citadelle Reserve (2013)

The 2014 Rum Howler Award for Best Overall Gin: The Botanist Isla Dry Gin

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RH-Runner-Up-2014The Runner-ups:

The 2014 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Gin Value: Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)

The 2014 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Mixing Gin:  Sahara Dry Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Runner-up Award for Best Sipping Gin: The Botanist Isla Dry Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Runners-up Award for Best Overall Gin: Citadelle Reserve 2013 Edition and Beefeater 24

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RH-HM-2014The Honourable Mentions:

The 2014 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for Best Gin Value: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Awards for Best Mixing Gin: The Botanist Isla Dry Gin and Ungava Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for Best Sipping Gin:
No. 3 London Dry Gin

The 2014 Rum Howler Honourable Mention Award for Best Overall Gin: Ungava Gin and Dictador Ortodoxy Gin

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