I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Rachel and Andy from Sky Wave Gin a couple of times. They were guests on my table at the World Gin Awards two years running and when, in that second year, they won Best English Contemporary Gin their delight was written all over their faces. Better yet, that award was swiftly upgraded to World’s Best Contemporary Gin 2020! Since then they’ve gone on to claim Gold at the Women’s Wine and Spirits Awards 2020, Double Gold at the China Wine and Spirits Awards 2020 and a Double Masters medal at The Spirits Business The Gin Masters Awards 2020.
Both times I met Rachel she told me how she had asked Andy to make her a special gin for a “significant” birthday but, back then (even as relatively recently as January 2020), we had little idea what the future had in store for us all.
Lockdown struck and everything changed. Many of us were nervous and alarmed – and more still isolated and isolating – but Rachel and Andy, like others, saw the small positives: people were calmer, kinder, less rushed and, consequently, began to notice nature again. They drew inspiration from these changes, and created a gin that paid homage to the nature all around us. And, as we emerged from the strangest times, they decided to name their new gin Liberation.
Liberation Gin reflects the nature growing in Oxfordshire during lockdown and features nine botanicals: juniper, coriander seeds, vanilla, crushed raspberry, lemon, lime, lemon verbena, mallow and angelica. With an inviting and reassuringly traditional nose, with sharp citrus alongside dry juniper and spices, Liberation Gin immediately appeals. To taste it is (at 42% ABV) pleasingly smooth but also dry and herbaceous with a slight astringency. Juniper and dry spices – specifically coriander – dominate the palate but are balanced with zesty lemon and subtle, lifted vanilla notes. With some rounded sweetness on the medium finish this is a very pleasing London Dry Gin which reveals softer, more delicate notes with the addition of water.
Having received a pre-release bottle, I’ve really enjoyed tasting and getting to know Liberation Gin but I haven’t got terribly far with experimenting with serves. However, I can confirm it makes a cracking gin and tonic and have been advised that the recommended garnishes include lime, lemon verbena and/or lemon.
With an impressive array of spirits (and medals) under their belt already, Sky Wave’s next project promises a numbered limited-release edition of cask-aged London Dry Gin. Intriguingly Rachel and Andy are keeping the details of the cask close to their chests, but, excitingly, they have hinted it may never have been done before! Looking further ahead, Sky Wave Gin are promising two new gins next year – one flavoured and one paying tribute to an Oxfordshire landmark – so they are undoubtedly well worth keeping an eye on!
Purchase Sky Wave Liberation Gin here at £35 for 50cl (42% ABV).
With thanks to Rachel and Andy for the complimentary bottle of Liberation Gin.