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Archive for the ‘Gin Review’ Category

Review: Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 6, 2013

SAM_0877 Uncle Tom's CabinOld Tom Gin represents a style of gin which was popular in 18th Century England prior to the introduction of London Dry Gin. According to gin lore, Old Tom Gin derived its name from Captain Dudley Bradstreet who in the early 1700′s purchased property in London which had a good amount of gin on the premises. He set a picture of a “tom cat” upon the window facing outside and allowed word to be spread that gin was available at the establishment with the cat in the window. A passerby who wanted a shot of gin would place a penny in a slot in the wall under the windowed cat which would roll into the establishment signalling the bartender inside to pour out a shot of gin which would be funneled into a tube running through the wall. The passerby would either drink it  directly from the tube or collect it to consume later. Apparently this practice spread throughout London, and gin generically became know as that ‘Old Tom’ Gin in reference to the Tom Cat which signaled the presence of gin within an establishment.

Hayman’s Old Tom Gin is apparently produced from an old English recipe which can be traced to the 18th century. The style of this gin is softer and sweeter than the more typical London Dry Gin. Part of the reason for this is that the gin is lightly sweetened (which in 18th Century England was probably done to mask the taste of impurities as distillation was in its early days of refinement). When the Coffey still was introduced, a better quality of spirit became more readily available which did not need to be sweetened and the resulting style of London Dry Gin replaced Old Tom Gin as the industry standard. However many old cocktail books from the 19th century still refer to Old Tom Gin in their recipes. The recent cocktail renaissance has led to a demand for this older style of gin.

Note: According to their website, Hayman Distillers is the longest serving family owned gin distiller in England today. Their Old Tom Gin has recently arrived in the Alberta market imported by Lifford Spirits who provided me with a bottle to review upon my website.

You may read my full review by Clicking the following excerpt (link):

Review: Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

“… The initial breezes above the glass also reflect this sweetness as the resulting aroma has a pleasant sweetness with effervescent citrus notes underlying a soft but firm juniper presence. If you take time with the glass it is possible to catch glimpses of orange peel, lilacs, hints of anise and a soft earthiness …”

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails which follow, the Martinez, and my recipe, Sunshine Days.

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Review: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 26, 2013

M47I came across Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin quite by accident. I had just finished publishing my review for Beluga Gold Line Vodka, when I received an email from Fabio Rossi who unbeknownst to me was part of the distribution team for Beluga Vodka in Italy. Fabio is of course the man behind Rum Nation, and we have struck up a bit of a correspondence over the last few years as I have reviewed several of his rums here on my website. It was a bit of a surprise to me that his company also distributed the Beluga Vodka, and of course that prompted me to ask him what other spirits were part of his distribution portfolio. That is when he mentioned Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. He also mentioned that this unusual spirit is apparently taking Europe by storm. I asked Mr. Rossi if he could be persuaded to let me try some, and he was kind enough to send me a 200 ml sample for review upon my website.

You may click on the excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin

“… The ground is thick with juniper berries and tall spruce trees rise up over me. The ground is carpeted with green moss, and underneath that moss there seems to be a disturbance of the fresh black soil. A light spiciness wells up reminiscent of ginger and cardamom with bits of fresh lemon peel thrown in giving the glass a hint of effervescence …”

Please enjoy my review of this most unusual dry gin!

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Review: Caorunn Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 17, 2013

SAM_0692 Dandelion MartiniCaorunn Gin is rather unusual in that it not only uses six botanicals which are seen as traditional in the gin trade; but it also contains five non traditional Celtic botanicals which are found growing in the hills which surround the Balmenach Distillery where the gin produceded by Gin Master, Simon Buley is crafted. According to the Caorunn Gin website, the six traditional botanicals are, juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peel, lemon peel, angelica root, and cassia bark. The non traditional Celtic ingredients are rowan berries, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion, and coul blush apple.

The gin is hand-made in small batches (about 1,000 litres per batch), using a quadruple distilled grain spirit as its base, with the flavours from the hand-picked botanicals infused into the spirit when the distilled vapour of the final distillation passes through the trays of the Balmenach Distillery’s vintage 1920′s Copper Berry Chamber which contain the botanicals.

(Note: I was provided a sample bottle of Caorunn Gin by The Bacchus Group, who are responsible for its importation here in Alberta.)

You may click on the following excerpt to read my full review:

Review: Caorunn Gin

“… my initial impression was that this spirit seems to look and smell very much like a traditional London Dry Gin. The scent of juniper is foremost (as it should be) and citrus accents of lemon and orange peel fall nicely in behind. However, after the glass sits for a minute or two I begin to notice a sort of herbal spiciness in the air …”

I have included two excellent cocktail suggestions as part of the review, The Dandelion Martini, and The Grange Cocktail.

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Review: Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 7, 2013

SAM_0660 MagellanMagellan Iris Flavoured Gin is a French spirit imported into North America by Crillon Importers Ltd. The gin is named to pay homage to Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer whose expeditions on behalf of King Charles I of Spain, led to the first circumnavigation of the globe.

Magellan’s travels were in search of a westward route to the Spice Islands (also known as the Maluka Islands of Indonesia). The key here of course is Magellan’s search for the Spice. Magellan’s Expedition around the world brought back three barrels of cloves (although Ferdinand Magellan died before the trip was completed), and apparently cloves are an important ingredient in the overall flavour profile of the Magellan Gin.

Of course there is much more than cloves in the botanical mixture of this blue gin. In all eleven botanicals are listed on the Magellan Gin website: cloves, Iris root and flower, juniper berries, cinnamon, cassia, orange peel, coriander, licorice, grains of paradise, cardamom, and nutmeg.

You may click on the following excerpt to read the full review:

Review: Magellan Iris Flavoured Gin

“… The aroma from the glass is rather fascinating. I notice the floral character of the gin immediately. This must be the iris flower, although for me the scent very similar to hyacinth especially with its perfume-like intensity. Under that rich floral aroma, I can discern a light but firm juniper, a hint of lemon balsam, and the vague spiciness of cloves and cinnamon …”

Please enjoy the review which includes a new recipe variation called the Long Darby.

Cheers!

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Review: Citadelle Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 10, 2013

SAM_0635 Citadelle

Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege. The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.

Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of its original heritage and refinement lessened by time. They decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately, records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France.

Please click on the following excerpt to read the full review which contains a fantastic cocktail recommendation, The March Lion.

Review: Citadelle Gin

“… The initial scents from the glass reveal a fair amount of juniper with hints of the other botanicals reaching my nostrils. Over time, the lightly spicy scent of cardamom appears giving the glass a light effervescent character. The juniper and cardamom are then joined by floral accents (mainly lilac) and a light lemony citrus. There is much more … “

Please enjoy the review, and do try my new March Lion Cocktail.

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Review: Victoria Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 13, 2013

VictoriaGin-white5x7-brightVictoria Gin is hand crafted using a German copper pot wood-fired still. The company producing the spirit (Victoria Spirits) is located on Vancouver IslandBritish Colombia, and it is produced in a small batch process from a neutral grain spirit which has been enhanced with ten natural and wild-gathered botanicals. These botanicals include, juniper berry, coriander seed ,angelica, orris root, lemon and orange peel, star anise, cinnamon bark, rose petals and a secret ingredient which the company encourages you guess. Prior to distillation, these ingredients are blended with natural spring water and neutral grain spirit and allowed to steep overnight.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“”…  Soft piny notes of juniper greet my nostrils beside some light scents of orange and lemon citrus. Mild scents of ginger rise into the breezes along with some light floral notes and a quiet but firm impression of  licorice (Anise) …”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Victoria Gin

I would like to thank Blue Note Wine & Spirits Inc. who provided my sample bottle for review.

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The Year in Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 26, 2012

When I began to publish my Rum Howler Awards two years ago, I had no idea how quickly they would grow, nor how popular they would become. Although, these awards were originally meant to be a fun excuse for me to revisit my most favoured distilled spirits and share that re-visitation with you, my readers, from the beginning I tried my best to treat the process with respect. Apparently Industry respects my awards too. Last year I saw my Rum Howler Award Badge proudly displayed on company websites (see here), on bottle neck ringers (see here), and in the advertising campaigns (see here) of some of the winners. It is my belief that my Rum Howler Awards have become more than just a fun excuse to revisit my most favoured spirits, they have become important markers for both connoisseurs and for industry.

This Year I am going to begin presenting my awards by looking at the Rum Howler’s Year in Gin.

Here is a Link to the Awards Page:

The 2012 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

Congratulations to all the Award Winners!

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Review: Sahara Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 30, 2012

Highwood 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. I have visited the distillery and watched first hand as they turned the local wheat into whisky, vodka. and gin. Sahara Dry Gin is produced in the London Dry style. This spirit is produced from Canadian wheat and naturally sourced Rocky Mountain water. Juniper, Citrus of Lemon, and other botanicals are all added during the final distillation.

This is s very dry gin. So dry in fact, that the folks at Highwood named it Sahara. I was provided with a sample bottle of this gin from the folks at Highwood Distillers (early in the summer) for the purpose of a review on my website.

Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:

“… The nose has a laid back quality of juniper and lighter accents of lemon and grapefruit. There is a bit of an alpine scent mingled with the juniper and perhaps some scents of willow thicket, meadow grass, and spring flowers. Everything is all rather mellow; but it is also rather enjoyable …”

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Sahara Dry Gin

I have also provided a very nice ‘cooler’ style cocktail to enjoy with the Sahara, one I call the Jumping Buffalo Cooler. Please enjoy my review and my suggested cocktail.

Cheers!

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Review: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 30, 2012

I have been on a bit of a gin kick lately, and recently re-acquainted myself with Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin. The reunion went quite well, and I thought I would update my review here on the website. The result was some minor changes to the tasting notes and a very minor change in the score.

Bombay Sapphire Gin is distributed by Bacardi. It was launched in 1987, and draws its unusual name from a competition where several marketing agencies were asked to submit possible names and bottle designs for the new Gin. Bombay Sapphire, the chosen name, refers to the British Empire and India heritage for the spirit in India, as gin was an extremely popular spirit during the time of the British Raj. The Star of Bombay (featured on the label) is a famous Indian Sapphire now on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Bombay Sapphire Gin is a London Dry Gin. This style of gin is produced through a double distillation of a neutral grain spirit with botanicals added during the second distillation. The botanicals in Bombay Sapphire Gin which are listed on the company website are as follows:

Spanish almonds and lemon peel, West African grains of paradise, Chinese licorice, juniper berries from Tuscany, orris root from Italy, angelica root from Saxony, coriander seed from Morocco, cassia bark from Indo China, and cubeb berries from Java.

It will be most interesting to see what this bevy of ingredients from around the world has imparted into the spirit.

“… The aroma from the glass is a clean aroma with a piny (juniper) citrus note. A well-defined floral character sits with the juniper, but it will take a better nose than I have to distinguish the effects of each of the ten botanicals used to produce the gin. What i smell is a hint of lilac and mint. I also seem to catch an aroma reminiscent of sweet grass, and a vague humus like scent in the glass which is not unappealing.… “

You may read my full review here

Review: Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin

This is such a nice gin that instead of one recipe, I found myself recommending two, the traditional Dry Gin Martini, and my recipe, Mean Streets.

Please enjoy the review, and do try a few cocktails, Cheers!

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Review: Tanqueray No.10 Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 16, 2012

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 almost destroyed 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.

Tanqueray No. 10, is produced through a quadruple distillation process with the botanicals infused prior to the fourth distillation. Rather than using only the citrus peel for their infusion, Tanqueray 10 is instead made with the whole fruit. Thus entire grapefruits, oranges and limes are used along with juniper, angelica, coriander, licorice and chamomile in the production of the No. 10 Gin. It is named for the “Tiny Ten” still, from which all of the No. 10 Gin is distilled, and is considered the most premium gin in the Tanqueray line up.

I recently revisited Tanqueray No. 10 and here is an excerpt from my new review:

“… The initial nose is light juniper and alpine forest. It reminds me of what I sense when I go camping in the forests of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. There are some sweet floral notes which are hard to identify (probably some chamomile in there); but the floral character combines well with the citrus flavours of lime and grapefruit (especially the grapefruit). I also sense a light ribbon of orange liqueur and the subtlety of other mixed botanicals. Nosing this Tanqueray gin is relaxing and enjoyable, as everything seems well balanced with no sharp notes and no single element causing disharmony… “

You may read my full review here

Review: Tanqueray No.10  Gin

This is such a nice gin that instead of one recipe, I found myself recommending three, the Key Lime Gimlet, the Key Lime Slushy, and one of my favourites, the Pink Rocket.

Please enjoy the review, and do try a few cocktails, Cheers!

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