What a year 2018 has been for gin! Sales have been rocketing and the bubble isn’t going to burst any time soon. We’ve seen, as a consequence, every ‘gin’ imaginable join the fray, from Hubba Bubba Bubblegum Gin to shimmering spirits and, of course, sugar-saturated pink gins galore! But, for now, let’s forget the ridiculous and focus on the sublime. Here are my top ten for 2018 and this year it was harder than ever to pick them! Keep reading for your chance to win a bottle of Brentingby!
Gloriously, 2018 was the year in which I finally got an answer to that thorniest of questions: “What is your favourite gin?”: Garden Swift! Every inch of this product, from the cork to the contents, is a true labour of love and produced to exceptional standards. With 34 botanicals including peppermint, rowan berries and Sicilian blood orange, this is a complex and balanced gin with floral honey sweetness giving way to warming spices. I love it!
Read my full review here.
Serve with neutral tonic and a slice of orange.
50cl 47% ABV £36.00
Batch Innovations Industrial Strength Gin
Having never tried Batch Gin before, I had no idea what to expect from this Industrial Strength version. And yet, the moment it passed my lips I knew it would make my top ten for the year! Based on their signature recipe, but featuring more juniper, less spice and the addition of lemon balm and apricot kernel, this is a balanced and refined gin – and genuinely tasty too – which is no small achievement given its 55% ABV!
Read my full review here.
Serve with premium tonic and grapefruit or a couple of dried apricots and a fresh sage leaf.
70cl 55% ABV £42.00
Described as quintessentially British with a South African twist, Brentingby Gin is made by Bruce and Sian Midgley with the expert guidance of Mr Tanqueray Ten himself, Tom Nichol. Featuring hibiscus from Bruce and Sian’s homeland, and Tom’s signature whole grapefruit, this is a delicious juniper-forward gin with notes of citrus and liquorice – and the copper-themed bottle is simply stunning. Continue reading to find out how to win your very own bottle and two matching glasses!
Serve with Indian tonic and grapefruit or rosemary.
70cl 45% ABV £36.95
I’ve long been a fan of Pothecary Gin – in fact their original lavender blend was my very first review on this blog – so I was really excited to hear about this new limited edition, and even more excited when I received a bottle. The label is absolutely stunning and the contents doesn’t disappoint either. With coconut, pineapple, ginger, mango, turmeric, coriander and lime, this is a fascinating and delicious spirit – as exotic as its botanicals suggest but somehow still traditional at heart. It’s well worth seeking it out.
Serve with Peter Spanton Lemongrass Tonic, mint and lime or regular tonic, mango and chilli.
50cl 46% ABV £46.75
Turncoat x LEAF Bold St. Chai Gin
“Bold” is the operative word where Turncoat Gin is concerned. Terry Langton, their founder and head distiller, refuses to cut corners in pursuit of each new recipe which are always striking in their originality. Made in collaboration with Liverpool’s finest tea merchant, LEAF on Bold Street, this gin features their black chai tea alongside juniper, coriander, angelica, black pepper, orris root and cubeb pepper. A delightfully balanced and wonderfully spiced gin; Turncoat Terry has done it again!
Full review coming soon.
Serve with Indian tonic, star anise and a burnt orange peel.
70cl 40% ABV £42.00
Trevethan Chauffeur’s Reserve Gin
Trevethan’s inaugural gin made my Top 10 Gins of 2016, so when I heard they were bringing out a navy strength, it was fair to say I had exceptionally high expectations! Featuring the same botanicals as their original gin (coriander, cassia bark, angelica, cardamom, orange and lemon peel, vanilla, cornish elderflower and gorse flower) but in higher quantities due to the increased ABV, this version is beautifully complex and yet still as well balanced. Cinnamon-like cassia is the star of the show, creating a predominantly dry and spicy profile, alongside some sweeter orange notes.
Read my full review here.
Serve with Indian tonic, a twist of grapefruit peel and a sprig of oregano.
70cl 57% ABV £50.00
I first tried Hapusā at Junipalooza’s newcomer section and was immediately enamoured (although the lovely founders were even more enamoured with my cricket journalist husband!). Featuring only Indian botanicals including turmeric, mango, ginger, cardamom, coriander seeds, gondhoraj limes, almonds and Himalayan juniper, this is an outstanding gin. It’s earthy and dry with tons of juniper upfront opening out into gentle spice, and I can’t wait to experiment with it further.
Serve with Indian tonic and lime peel or Aromatic tonic and orange peel.
70cl 40% ABV £42.50
I’ve been incredibly impressed with the entire range from Puddingstone Distillery – their navy strength is exceptional while their cask-aged gin was arguably the first of that type that I genuinely enjoyed. But their Campfire London Dry Gin just pips the others to the post for me. With its rather unusual botanicals, including physalis, roasted hazlenut, rooibos and lavender, this is a smooth and balanced gin with an impressive depth of flavour.
Read my full review here.
Serve with Fever-Tree Indian or Aromatic tonic and orange peel.
50cl 42% ABV £33.00
Launched at Junipalooza, Twelve Keys was a big hit and undoubtedly one of the stand-out spirits at the festival. It is named after the alchemical text “The Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine”, and boasts a recipe apparently inspired by different periods in the history of distillation, including figs, apricot, quince, wildflower honey, basil, frankincense and caraway seeds. It may not appear the most accessible of gins, but it is different, distinctive and very intriguing indeed.
Read my full review here.
Serve with Indian tonic, fig and a coffee bean or Franklin & Sons Rosemary and Black Olive tonic with orange and basil.
70cl 46% ABV £44.00
A compounded gin with an amber hue and featuring seaside botanicals including red clover flowers and leaves, chickweed, and freshly foraged sea beet. This is, I suspect, always going to divide opinion. Personally I think it’s a triumph. Dry and earthy with tons of juniper and a spicy warmth, this is deep and bold and probably unlike anything else you’ve tried.
Serve with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, a wedge of orange and sprig of thyme. Or simply enjoy it neat.
50cl 39.6% ABV £39.95
So there we have it, my favourite gins of 2018. But what are yours? Let me know in the comments section below and you might just win a bottle of Brentingby Gin and two branded glasses!
Competition terms and conditions: Europe 18+ only. Proof of age may be required. Glasses may be different from the one pictured. To enter comment below with your favourite gin or enter on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Closing date Sunday 10 February 2019.
Interesting list! I keep hearing about Brentingby and it’s nothing but high praise so will have to try it at some point! My friend bought me Campfire navy strength for my birthday which I love so good to see the regular strength is also great!
Thanks! I love the Campfire Navy too. So much so it very nearly made this list instead of the regular strength.
So many I loved last hear my top at the moment are Firkin port cask rested gin was exceptional a real stand out for me. Loved Leith gin, Red door , Hrafn, Daffy’s, Twelve Keys, Selkie, Dancing Dragontail, Crag & Tail and by not forgetting Agnes Arber…. my list could go on and on been so many awesome gins this year
Some really interesting gins there and a few I haven’t tried yet too! Thanks for entering and good luck!
Most gintriguing! Do I win a bottle yet?
Not quite yet! First you’ll need to tell me you’re favourite gin from last year?
The boys at Dyfi Distillery take some beating #Hibernation #Original #Pollination. High street gin ~Whitley Neil Quince #Roku #Malfy and special shout out to #Piston and #Cotswold I love gin!!! ;-D
Ooh yeah, some great gins in there!
My favourites are: Love Gin from Eden Mill, Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin and just in at the end of the year, the brand new Holly’s Gin from Cornwall. 🍸☺️ Xx
Not tried Holly’s Gin yet but love Love!
Enjoyed reading this. My favourite gin from last year was a locally produced gin called Wyre Forest Gin. It’s delightful in summer with fresh fruit 🙂
Thank you! That’s a new one for me. Thanks for the tip, I’ll keep an eye out for it.
My fave straight gin this year has to be Kirkjuvagr Orkney gin but I have developed a taste for anything with a hint of orange!
I’ve loved tanqueray sevilla gin with ginger ale! Absolutely gorgeous!
Wicked Wolf gin, no contest. It’s perfect with Fevertree Aromatic Tonic and a slice of orange.
Harris Gin for me!
Boadicea Gin is gorgeous and one of the best ginspired I’ve tasted so far.
Mackintosh gin is also sublime with a great citrus profile.
Brentingby gins are amazing too. I met Bruce last year at an event in London and his passion and enthusiasm fot his product is second to none.
Orkney Gin is also a beautiful gin so it’s very hard to choose as all are very different but amazing!!
Ophir for me. I live the aroma and taste of cumin. This one really hits the spot
Got to be Tappers for me ♥
Beautiful earthy and richly refreshing…. It’s simply genius.
Some good gins there. My favourite gin at the moment is greenalls.
I have 2. Daffys I lovely Scottish gin.
Then Shining Cliff. A local distillery near me in Ambergate Derbyshire. Beautiful gin. And I think you should try it.
Ooh not heard of Shining Cliff. Will definitely keep an eye out for it, thanks!
Thank you to everyone who took part in my Brentingby Gin competition. The winner, selected at random, is Elizabeth Rioka on Facebook. Congratulations Elizabeth!
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