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Posts Tagged ‘Gin Review’

Review: Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 24, 2016

Hayman's Family Reserve Hayman Distillers is the longest-serving family owned gin distiller in England today and they produce a family of gins of differing styles which are each made from their own recipe of botanicals and grain alcohol. They produce each gin separately upon their 450 litre copper pot still which is affectionately called “Marjorie” in a batch style where the botanicals and grain alcohol are steeped for a full day within the still before it is fired up distillation begins.

Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin was created to reflect a past style of gin which could be found in English cities in the 1800s. The recipe for the gin is said to have been developed in 1850. Unlike most English style gins, this gin is rested in Scottish Whisky barrels for three weeks to mellows the overall flavour profile of the spirit. This idea is based upon the fact that until the 1860s gin would more often than not be sold from within an oak cask rather than from the bottle. This meant that the gin was slowly maturing as it was being sold.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin

“… The breezes in the air above the glass tell a story of a very traditional gin profile. Soft juniper and light black licorice notes rise first followed by pleasingly sweet citrus scents (orange and lemon) which mingle freely with the juniper. Some spiciness of citrus zest and coriander are apparent as well …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding gin, Chimo!

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Review: Berkeley Square Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 21, 2016

6397_berkeley_square_still_no._8_limited_release_gin_0_7l My gin binge continues today with a lightly floral London Dry Gin from G and J Greenall, Berkeley Square London Dry Gin. The company likes to bill this spirit as the ‘single malt’ of the gin world based upon the production methods used which they trace back to the late 1700s.

According to their website:

On day one, the traditional four core natural botanicals, which ensure Berkeley Square can officially be called a ‘London Dry Gin’, Juniper, Coriander, Angelica and Cubeb berries are placed by hand in copper pot still No. 8 along with the Kaffir Lime Leaves. The remaining three unique botanicals of Lavender, Sage and Basil are wrapped in muslin and immersed in the triple distilled spirit to infuse their essential oils …

On day two, the still runs at a very slow rate to simmer all the ingredients gently which allows the delicate essential oils of the botanicals to develop, letting the flavours release further into the spirit. Once the temperature inside Still No. 8 reaches approximately 80°C the spirit will vaporise and travel up the column of the still. As the vapour passes over the swan neck, it takes with it the essential oils from the eight botanicals …

The resulting gin is bottled at 46 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Berkeley Square Gin

“… The juniper is crisp and is surrounded by fruity lemon and lime scents. There is a ribbon of earthy bitterness which seems to entwine itself into that fresh juniper and citrus fruitiness. As I let the glass sit I sense a very appealing floral component which reminds me of a bouquet of spring flowers …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a couple of recipes, my Modern Gin Cocktail (which was featured yesterday) and the Pegu Club Cocktail.

Chimo!

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Review: Empire London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 12, 2016

empire-gin1The Highwood Distillery is the only locally (Albertan) owned major distillery in Canada. It sits in the town of Highwood, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountain. The distillery producing more than 300,000 cases of bottled spirits per year. Although the bulk of their production goes towards Vodka, Flavoured Vodka, and Premixes, they also produce a sizable (and growing) amount of Whisky and Gin each year.

Empire Gin is the company’s premium traditional style London Dry Gin. It is produced by blending a light-bodied vodka spirit with juniper and the distillery’s own special botanical selection of natural herbs, spices and citrus. These botanicals are introduced during the final distillation, and the final spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Empire London Dry Gin

“… The aroma from the glass is very nice, although I might be tempted to call it somewhat mellow. We have a floral bouquet of coriander and citrus elements (in particular orange and lime; but also some grapefruit zest and hints of lemon). I also sense a firm juniper aroma with a mix of flowery herbs, building black licorice and a hint of mint and in the breezes above the glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this wonderful locally produced gin.

Chimo!

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#59 The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2015

The Botanist is the creation of Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. The spirit is produced upon an old Lomond Still in a distillation process which lasts 17 hours. During the final distillation, the core botanicals are placed into the pot of the still in a particular order after the distillate has been raised to a hand hot temperature. These core botanicals (I believe there are 9 in all) are steeped in the hot distillate for 12 hours before distillation begins.

Bot and Tonic SAM_1260Interestingly, in addition to the core botanicals, the gin also uses 22 unique Islay botanicals which have been gathered by hand from the hills and valleys which surround the distillery. These Island botanicals are placed in loosely woven muslin sacks and then into a casket within the lyne arm of the Lomond still where the vapours of the distillation will run through them near the end of the distillation process bringing a unique Islay character to the Botanist Gin.

Here is a link to the review of the #59 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#59 – The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

“… Although the juniper is firm, as the glass rests, the breezes above the glass fill with the subtle nuances of the other botanicals. Ginger-like spices tickle the nose along with hints of spicy cinnamon and cardamom. A light impression of mojito mint weaves its way into the breezes along with lightly bitter undertones of the broken tops of Russian Blue Thistle and the lightly sweet herbaceous tones of sweet clover blossoms …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#76 Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 10, 2015

Beefeater London Dry Gin has roots stretching back to 1820, when the Chelsea Distillery was constructed on Cale Street and served as the first home for Beefeater Gin. The founder of the company, James Burrough, was not born until 1835, and it was not until about 1876 that the Beefeater brand was created from gin produced at the Chelsea Distillery. Over time the brand has changed locations twice, first in 1908 to Hutton Road, and then in 1958 to its present location in Kennington.

Beefeater 24Beefeater 24 and T SAM_1250  is advertised as being handcrafted with 12 botanicals which include grapefruit, bitter almond, orris root, Seville orange peel, rare Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea. This makes the new Beefeater 24 gin more complex in construction than the flagship brand, Beefeater London Dry Gin which lists 9 ingredients. There are other differences as well, the Beefeater 24 is bottled at a higher proof (45 % alcohol by volume) which to me seems most welcome, and all of the ingredients are apparently steeped in grain alcohol for 24 hours prior to a 7 hour distillation where the master distiller makes an artisan cut by hand from the heart of the distillation run.

Here is a link to my review of the #76 entry in my 2015 Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#76 – Beefeater 24 (London Dry Gin)

“… There is a ‘freshness’ rising out of the glass and I liken it to the scent of an alpine forest on a warm spring day when the snow melt is just beginning. The aroma of evergreen boughs and juniper jumps out of the glass pushed ahead by a crisp citrus-like aroma (grapefruit, orange and lemon in that order of dominance) …”

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You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 5, 2015

Lady of the Empire

Lady of the Empire

Tanqueray Gin was originally produced by Charles Tanqueray in London, England in 1830 at the Bloomsbury Distillery. The distillery prospered through the nineteenth century; but after being in production for over one hundred years, it was badly damaged in the bombing raids of World War II by the German air force. One still survived, and this still affectionately called “Old Tom” was moved to the new facilities in Cameron, Scotland where Tanqueray gin is currently produced. Tangueray Rangpur is a new style of gin from Tangueray. Whereas their flagship gin simply called Tanqueray is a traditional London Dry Gin which features , juniper, coriander, angelica root and licorice as the four major botanicals used in its construction. The Rangpur on the other hand is not labeled as a London Dry Gin, (it is simple labeled Gin) and according to the Tanqueray website features the Rangpur Lime as one of its major botanicals along with Juniper, Coriander, Bay leaves and Ginger.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Tanqueray Rangpur Gin

“… The aroma from the glass is more citrus forward with scents of both lime and lemon dominating the breezes and the juniper trailing along behind. The Rangpur also seems to have a stronger herbal component with hints of menthol and grassy lemonbalm. The spiciness of the coriander and ginger is very restrained …”

Please enjoy the review which is followed by one of my gin cocktails, the Lady of the Empire.

Chimo!

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Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 1, 2015

Sahara and Tonic SAM_1258Highwood Distillers is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The distillery was originally established as the Sunnyvale Distillery in 1974, however it was renamed ‘Highwood Distillers’ in 1984 linking the Distillery geographically to the nearby Highwood River and the scenic foothills in which the Town of High River is situated. Several years ago I visited the distillery and watched first hand as (using a batch still) they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka, and gin.

1830 Sahara Dry Gin is a step up from Highwood’s very dry Sahara Dry Gin (click on the link to read the previous review) and features a slightly sweeter, somewhat more citrus forward flavour profile. It is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. The botanicals mentioned on the Highwood website are juniper, citrus of orange, lemon, and lime. There are of course a few other secret botanicals not mentioned  which are all added just prior to the final distillation.

Here is a link to my review of the spirit which won last summer’s Rum Howler Gin and Tonic Challenge, the 1830 Sahara Dry Gin.

Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

“… The nose has indications of juniper with lighter accents of lemon, orange and mild scents of black licorice. There is also impressions of a mint-like scent mingling within the breezes and additional scents of spruce boughs, and white flowers. The impression is of a mellow spirit which promises to be laid back and enjoyable …”

Cheers Everyone!

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Review: Citadelle Reserve Gin (2013 Edition)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 3, 2015

Citadelle 2013 SAM_1363While most gins are not matured in oak casks, Citadelle Reserve (2013 Edition) Gin is not only aged in small oak casks, it is the first gin to be aged using a solera style maturation. According to the information provided on the Citadelle Gin website:

“The Solera aging method used for Citadelle is a very intensive process of putting Citadelle into different type casks for a anywhere from 2 to 5 months and will include American oak cask (to impart a touch of vanilla sweetness) and casks that once held Pineau de Charente (for a full-bodied, flowery roundness) and also Brandy (which imparts elegance). Once the gin has spent some time in casks, a portion of the gin from each cask will be moved into a large vat for blending, and new gin will be added to the remaining gin in the cask. Again, after aging for a specified period, the process of taking some of the aged gin out to be blended and adding new to the casks starts all over again.”

I was given a bottle of the 2013 Citadelle Reserve Gin directly from River Valley Beverages (the distributor for Cognac Ferrand spirits here in Alberta) for the purpose of a review here on my website.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Citadelle Reserve Gin (2013 Edition)

“… The 2013 Citadelle Reserve Gin has a lightly sweet and moderately spicy flavour profile with dominant flavours of juniper, oak, coriander, cardamom, and lemony citrus zest forming its backbone. Although the gin has a moderate but firm spiciness, it is nevertheless easy to sip (especially with an added ice-cube) …”

The 2013 Edition of Citadelle Reserve Gin is a spectacular gin! It is marvelously complex, and the oak forward spiciness is extremely appealing set beside the juniper forward flavour profile. The moderate spiciness within the gin which gives me an impression of robust masculinity; however there is more than enough other nuances of flavour found within which make the gin extremely interesting to sip.

Cheers Everyone!

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Gin and Tonic Challenge – 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 26, 2014

Sahara and Tonic SAM_1258Highwood Distillers, who provided my recent sample of 1830 Sahara Dry Gin, is a Canadian distillery situated in the town of High River, Alberta, which lies just about 40 minutes due south of Calgary, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The distillery was originally established as the Sunnyvale Distillery in 1974, however it was renamed ‘Highwood Distillers’ in 1984 linking the Distillery geographically to the nearby Highwood River and the scenic foothills in which the Town of High River is situated.

1830 Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style from Canadian prairie wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. Juniper, Citrus of Lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation. The gin is as described, very dry; so dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood Distillers named it Sahara.

When I reviewed this local gin I was quite taken in by its lightly bitter, softly dry nature, and I was very enthusiastic about the cocktails which I constructed which included a Lime Fizz, a Lime Gimlet, and of course a Gin and Tonic. During this challenge (about half way through it actually), when I made my G&T cocktail with the Sahara Gin, I was taken in all over again. It was so good that I made the decision to delay its published score such that I could sample it head to head against the other G&T cocktails which populated my leader board, and use it as the yard stick by which I would judge the other Gin and Tonics by. A few of the G&T cocktails which I made came close, but none measured up to the wonderful G&T made with the 1830 Sahara Dry Gin.

I think, and I am only guessing here, that it is the wheat base for the gin is what makes everything work so well. Although the 1830 Sahara Gin is very dry, it has a softness and a mellow quality which I have noticed before in spirits distilled from wheat. It is this softness combined with the dryness that is making me like the gin so much. In fact in my review, I concluded that this is a paradigm shifting gin which softly rocked my cocktail world!

All of the results from my head to head sampling is completed, and the Best Gin for Gin and Tonic Cocktails is Highwood’s Sahara Dry Gin with an outstanding G&T Score of 91.5/100.

All of my Scores for the Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge can be found here:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my newly published review of 1830 Sahara Dry Gin here:

Review: 1830 Sahara Dry Gin

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Gin and Tonic Challenge – The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 25, 2014

The BotanistBot and Tonic SAM_1260 is the creation of Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan whom I had the opportunity to meet and talk to this past fall when he came to Edmonton to host an exclusive Bruichladdich Tasting at our city’s historic Chateau Louis Hotel. Although the focus of the tasting seminar was the new range of Bruichladdich Single Malt whiskies, Jim did include his new Botanist Islay Dry Gin in the flight of spirits. In fact he spent more than a little time describing to us how the distillery had come to the decision to produce this gin and his own personal journey of discovery which he underwent while he went through the process of researching and producing the first Islay Dry Gin. (Jim McEwan even admitted to trading some of his prized Single Malt Scotch with one of the industries venerable gin producers in return for some of his gin secrets.)

At the end of the tasting, I was invited to talk to Jim, and he offered to pour me another glass of my favourite spirit from the tasting. Although, I had tasted a range of Single Malts which included spirits 12 years old (and older), Mr. McEwan did not seem at all surprised when I asked for a second glass of The Botanist straight up with no ice. It was, in my opinion, the star of the afternoon.

I finished my review of this lovely gin last night after and one of my conclusions was that it is not only a great cocktail gin, it is also equally enjoyable as a sipping spirit which is most unusual in the gin category.  of course this means, it scored rather well in my G&T Challenge landing near the very top of the leader board.

My G&T Score for the Botanist Gin is a very high 90.5/100 points.

By now you all know that you do not have to keep track of these scores yourself, as I have constructed a separate page to keep a running tally of all scores as they are published:

Rum Howler 2014 Gin and Tonic Challenge

As well you may read my newly published review of The Botanist Islay Dry Gin here:

Review: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

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Note: I received my sample bottle of The Botanist Gin from the local distributor, Select Wines.

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