Gins In June
June 12, 2018
- Sipsmith Independent Spirits London Dry Gin, Great Britain, 41.6% abv. $55.99
In 2009, Sipsmith was launched by Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall. The pair grew up as friends in Cornwall and both ended up working in the drinks industry in America. The duo teamed up with Jared Brown (who in the past has developed spirits in Sweden, Norway, Vietnam, and in the US) to pursue their passion for handmade spirits. They called the distillery Sipsmith after the name they gave themselves: “sip-smiths” – a celebration of the craft of distillation and their artisanal methods. Recipe: Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Seville orange peel and Spanish lemon peel. Tasting Notes (courtesy the folks at Flaviar): Appearance: Crystal clear. Nose: Honey with ripe fruits and a little yeasty. Nutty undertones with a hint of chocolate and grape jam. Palate: A gentle mouthfeel, with initial dry juniper joined by growing sweetness, showing lemon tart and orange marmalade, garnished by a wave of fresh lemon zest, followed by bolder juniper and light dryness, before all the flavours harmonise into one integrated taste.
- The London No.1 Original Blue Small Batch Gin, U.K. 47% abv. $47.99 750 ml.
The London No. 1 – one of a handful of gins actually distilled in London – was created to echo the complex and full bodied gins of yesteryear, albeit with a modern twist – a striking turquoise-blue colour derived from maceration with Gardenia flowers and some certified colors. Although this gin is produced in England, it is under the ownership of the Spanish company Gonzalez Byass, best known for its winery. The gin is triple distilled in a traditional pot still in small batches. Recipe: Juniper from Croatia; Angelica root and Savory from France; Coriander from Morocco; Cassia bark from China, Liquorice from Turkey, Cinnamon from Ceylon, Almond from Greece; Lemon peel, Orange peel, Lily root and Bergamot from Italy. Tasting Notes (courtesy Cheri Loughlin The Intoxicologist): Color: Pale blue to pale turquoise. Aroma: Clean with lots of juniper on the nose. Delicate aromatics on the nose. No abrasive alcohol aroma. Tasted Neat: Burn up front. Light sweetness, with lots of juniper and floral notes. Hints of citrus and wee bit of spice. Tasted with Ice: The aroma mellows out with the little bit of ice melted into the spirit. Burn less. The texture is clean with just a bit of creaminess to it. Juniper, spice, and delicate floral sweetness come to the forefront.
- Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Ireland 43% abv. $63.99 750 ml.
On the 21st of December, 2014 --a winter solstice-- the tiny rural village of Drumshanbo in County Leitrim witnessed the birth of a rustic new handcraft distillery. ‘The Shed’ marks a return to traditional distillation using medieval copper stills, and is the first multi-purpose distillery of its kind in Ireland. It is the first new distillery in rural Connacht in over 100 years. Like most Irish distilleries born into the resurgence of Irish Whiskey, The Shed currently produces gins, while they wait for their whiskey to mature. This new project is the brainchild of P.J. Rigney —the man behind the Boru Vodka and Sheridans liqueur success stories— and pioneer in the scenic Irish village, his efforts in experimental distilling bringing the small rural town into the 21st century. What makes the Shed Distillery special is that everything done at the Shed in terms of the manufacture or the creation is done with medieval copper pot stills. Everything is done by hand. Old traditional recipes are used. Many ingredients are from the local area, along with selections from around the world. Recipe: (a: slow distilled in medieval pot stills): Meadowsweet (Drumshanbo), Juniper berries (Macedonia), Angelica root ( Germany), Caraway seed (India), Cardamom (India), Coriander seed (Romania), Orris root (Morocco), Star Anise (China), (b: vapor infused): Oriental grapefruit (Indonesia), Chinese Lemon (China), Kaffir Lime (Cambodia), Gunpowder tea (Drumshanbo).
Distiller`s Notes: Appearance: Clear. Nose: Citrus, star anise with notes of tea. Palate: Coriander, citrus and warm spice. Finish: Bold, spiced and long.
- Dillon`s Unfiltered Gin 22, Ontario, 40% abv. $48.49 750 ml.
The story of the ingredients is the story of Dillon’s. They have access to fresh, local products grown using healthy, responsible practices on some of the best growing soils in the world. These elements are fundamental to Dillon’s. A close proximity to ingredients and materials means substantially less fuel and resource consumption; the goal was to avoid this form of waste by proper situation and resource selection. The "22" in the name refers to the number of botanicals in the mix, which is more than that of most competing gins. It's also bottled unfiltered on the theory that filtration strips away flavour, and as a result, there will be a faint haze when it's mixed with ice. Recipe: (hard to come by). Tasting Notes (courtesy Beppi Crosariol, Globe and Mail): Lively and herbal, with prominent notes of lemongrass, citrus rind, spice and licorice, the latter growing in intensity when the spirit hits the ice.
- Rig Hand Wild Rose Gin, Nisku, Alberta 40% abv. $61.99 750 ml.
Established December 17, 2014, Rig Hand Craft Distillery (formerly Big Rig Craft Distillery) is a small, family-owned business, and is proud to be the first Craft Distillery in the greater Edmonton area. Owners Geoff and Karen Stewart are strong advocates for supporting local: they source all of their input products locally, employ locally, manufacture locally, and sell locally. Their products are packaged in a distinctive trademarked bottle that is a replica of the Leduc #1 drilling rig, paying tribute to the rich history of both agriculture and resource development in Alberta. It is Alberta in a Bottle. Recipe: Juniperas Communis berries (Alberta Rocky Mountains), Wildrose hips (Alberta foothills), locally foraged crab apple, Saskatoon berries, and chamomile, cardamom, lemon and star anise. Tasting Notes (courtesy Linda Garson Culinaire Magazine): the gin opens with a pretty and floral orange peel nose, but is rounded with big, bold flavours on the palate.
- Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Original Indigo Gin Sydney, B.C. 42.5% abv. $57.49 750 ml.
For the past 10 years Victoria Distillers have been producing some of BC’s finest handmade spirits in their copper pot still under the name Victoria Spirits. To accommodate their growing business, in 2016, the owners moved to a unique location on the Seaport Place waterfront of Sidney, BC, and changed their name to “Victoria Distillers”, bringing a new focus on the team as makers and collaborators, as well as highlighting the distillery as a destination. This larger distillery facility opened its doors in May 2016. The indigo-coloured Empress 1908 gin is a collaboration with Victoria’s newly renovated Fairmont Empress Hotel, and is made with butterfly pea blossom that transforms its shade when it meets acidic lime or tonic. Recipe: Fairmont Empress Blend Tea, Juniper, Grapefruit Peel, Coriander Seed, Rose Petal, Butterfly Pea Blossom, Ginger Root, Cinnamon Bark. Distiller’s Notes: More juniper than our Victoria Gin, with robust citrus notes from grapefruit peel. We also use rose, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and Fairmont Empress Blend Tea.
- Zing 72 Botanical Gin, France, 40% abv. $57.99 750 ml.
Zing 72 Gin is handcrafted in Provence in the South of France. The gin is distilled in antique-like small copper alembics in the distillery. The bottle design takes its inspiration from the copper still in use, and the name reflects the maceration of the botanics which lasts 72 hours. Recipe: 6 Botanicals: Juniper, Black Berries, Citrus, Chamomile, Coriander, Angelica. 6 Provencal Herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Savory, Chives, Marjoram, Lavender. Distiller’s Notes: an aromatic gin full of character and flavour.
- Hayman’s Old Tom Authentic Victorian Style Gin, U.K. 40% abv. $35.99 700 ml.
Hayman's old Tom Gin, distilled (apparently) to a family recipe from the 1870s, is an authentic mark of English heritage. Old Tom Gin was and is more botanically intensive than other styles of gin that both preceded and followed, lending a rich and rounded profile with a light sweetness. A much too short history of this style of gin: The first gins produced in England were often not very good, with low standards of production (crude distillation, incentives to cut the resulting spirits with products like turpentine to increase profits). Common practice was to add sugar to the gin to mask these imperfections. As gin production became more sophisticated, these imperfections were gradually eliminated. But the folks in England, having gained a taste for sweetened gin, kept demand steady for the product, so sugar continued to be added and it’s this style of gin that became known as Old Tom. Recipe: Juniper berries (Macedonia and Bulgaria), Coriander seeds (Bulgaria), lemon peel (Spain), orange peel (Spain), angelica root: (Belgium or France), cinnamon (Madagascar), cassia bark (China), orris root: (Italy), liquorice: (Sri Lanka), nutmeg (India). Distiller’s Notes: Nose: a botanically-intensive, lightly sweetened fruity nose, with aromas of almond and creamy lemon-citrus. Hints of warm ginger and light herbal-spiciness from juniper and coriander give a more rounded fragrance. Palate: A rich, soft and round mouth feel, yielding to hints of orange peel, lemon zest and floral notes, provide the balanced and traditional flavour of this lightly sweetened gin style. Finish: After an initial delicate sweetness, hints of juniper and earthy notes supply a smooth complex finish.
- Brockman’s Premium Gin U.K. 40% abv. $56.99 750 ml.
Brockmans was born in 2007, when 4 Gin enthusiasts got together to create a new kind of gin. Distilled in a 100 year old traditional copper still, it’s a gin like no other. Along with the cast of usual suspects in the recipe, blueberries and blackberries find a home, imparting a unique olfactory and taste profile. Recipe: Juniper (Italy), Blueberries (Northern Europe), Blackberries (Northern Europe), Cassia bark (Indo China), Liquorice (China), Lemon Peel (Spain), Coriander (Bulgaria), Angelica (Belgium and Saxony), Orange Peel (Spain), Almonds (Spain), Orris (Italy).
Distiller’s Notes: The more traditional notes of gin are combined with a refreshing influence of citrus and aromatic wild berry. This creates an intensely smooth gin with a beautifully crafted taste that is sensual and daringly different.
- Dillon’s Strawberry Gin Liqueur Ontario 30% abv. $29.99 350 ml.
Dillon’s Cherry Gin is the combination of local Niagara Peninsula Cherries and their signature, locally grown 100% Ontario Rye base spirit, the same base spirit they use in many of their spirits. Tasting Notes (courtesy the folks at Great Gins U.K.): The strawberry comes out immediately on the nose, with a light dusting of icing sugar detectable just below the surface. The sweetness is not overwhelming, but is lovely and soft, with a pastry like quality to it. The palate is bolder, with more flavour and bigger notes of strawberry candy floss and sherbet.
List Of Sources
Childerly, Caroline, Haymans Old Tom Gin, The Gin Queen, 3 years ago
Crosariol, Beppi, Pick of the Week: Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22, Ontario, The Globe and Mail, Published June 30, 2015, Updated April 17, 2017
Dykstra, Chip (Aka Arctic Wolf), Review: Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, The Rumhowler Blog, August 06, 2013
Dykstra, Chip (Aka Arctic Wolf), Review: London No. 1 Original Blue Gin, June 6, 2012, Rumhowler Blog
Garson, Linda, 12 (Mostly) Local Gins to Love, Culinaire Magazine, Oct. 4, 2016
Gin & Griddle, Gin Review: Brockmans Gin, March 11, 2016
Gin & Griddle, Gin Review: Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, Canada (Unfiltered Gin 22), October 23, 2015
Gin Foundry, Hayman’s Old Tom, 28/11/2013
Gin Foundry: Review Of Sipsmiths Gin 23/10/2013
Great Gins, Dillon’s Strawberry Gin Review, December 11, 2017
Lisa Wolansky, The Art of Craft Distilling at Alberta's Big Rig Craft Distillery, Eatnorth, April 22, 2016
Loughlin, Cheri, The London No 1 Gin Review, The Intoxicologist, September 8, 2017
Rooke, Charlene, Victoria Distillers Empress 1908 Gin, Montecristo Magazine, Apr 11, 2018
Roos, Juanita, Explore Alberta's Top Artisan Gins on Summer Distillery Tours, Edmonton Journal, June 6, 2018
The Drinkhacker, Review: The London No. 1 Gin, December 1, 2014