What a month! The sun has shone and pub gardens have reopened! The industry still has a long way to go, but finally there is light at the end of tunnel. And that light got a little brighter for me today as I not only had my first haircut in well over a year, but I also got my first covid-19 vaccine! There’s been plenty else going on this month too, mind, so without further ado….
As you probably know, I had the pleasure of judging The Gin Guide Awards again this year, so it’s been great to see who came out on top. Huge congratulations to all the winners, but especially to Cooper King who won the Spirit of Gin Award, and to Puddingstone Distillery who were not only winners in the Cask Aged, Navy Strength and Old Tom categories but also snagged Distillery of the Year!
A special mention must also go to Walter at Inshriach whose gins (produced in Channel Four’s Shed of the Year 2015) I reviewed back in 2017 when I declared: “I don’t think it will be long before that shed has a few more awards to grace its tumble-down walls”. Admittedly it has been quite a long time but, proving you’ve got to be in it to win it, Inshriach Gin has this year won Best in Scotland as well as the London Dry and Traditional categories in the Gin Guide Awards, in addition to Gold at The Global Spirits Masters, a silver for Fidra Gin (which he also produces) at the London Spirits Competition and, Walter says, he even has a “tingle” for The San Francisco World Spirits Competition…!
Beyond awards, Silent Pool have been making headlines by launching the world’s first spirit in a cardboard bottle. The lightweight Frugal bottle is essentially a bag in a box, with both a carbon and water footprint at least four times less than a glass bottle. The spirit within, Green Man Woodland Gin, meanwhile is said to be inspired by the forests of Surrey offering pine, fir and herbal notes.
New Gin Alerts
Just missing out on a mention in last month’s Gin Monthly, we must welcome Bombay Sapphire’s new Sunset Special Edition Gin to the world. Alongside Green Man Woodland Gin, this month has also seen the launch of John Robert’s Botanic Request from Ben Peel (formerly of Sipsmith), as well as the latest addition to Salcombe Gin’s Voyager Series, “Daring” – for which they collaborated with Michelin-starred Chef Paul Ainsworth – and Adnams‘ new Avocado Leaf and Botanical Gin, inspired by Mexican food and cookery.
My Month in Gin
With the world still not quite open, virtual events have continued this month, and I’ve had the pleasure of learning all about Sipsmith’s Strawberry Smash Gin with Master Distiller Jared Brown; Portobello Road’s range with Jake F. Burger, and Italy’s Ginepraio through the medium of Nightjar’s Etruscan Negroni courtesy of Speakeasy at Home and Strongwells. I also indulged in a little cheating on gin with Strawbar and The Oxford Artisan Distillery’s amazing new Oxford Rye Whisky, and even took part in a live sustainability Q&A for the Craft Distilling Expo. You can’t beat a real life experience though, and Bar Swift’s park drop cocktail service is a smashing one if you find yourself in an East London park (luckily for me I live 5 mins from one!).
Thanks also to my industry pals for their support and help in promoting #GinADayMay this year. The lovely Vanessa wrote a feature for ilgin.it and the ever-generous David T. Smith also organised and edited this nice little video!
Welcome to My Collection
There have (as usual!) been lots of lovely new additions to my collection this month, which I haven’t yet had time to try but may well feature on my social media over the next month… As I’m getting increasingly interested in the world of sustainable distilling, it’s been a huge pleasure to receive Arbikie’s Nàdar Gin and Green Man Woodland Gin. I’m also really intrigued to try Fishers‘ new, and the UK’s first, London Dry Smoked Gin. And I’d like to thank Pink Marmalade Colour Changing Gin for, frankly, exceeding all my exceptions, and also MPR Communications for generously sending me samples of both Cotswolds No. 1 Wildflower Gin and Aviation Gin. But, even with all that, I still couldn’t resist purchasing one of the brand-new bottles of Beefeater Gin too!
I’ve also, as always, loved all the little tasting packs I’ve received and am really looking forward to joining Warner’s virtual tasting next month to judge their new London Dry Gin.
I was also super chuffed to be gifted my first Crag & Tail pin from Gin Pin, but with 19 more up their sleeve, this could become a very expensive hobby. Not that that stopped me from also picking up a lovely little Scapegrace pin from eBay of course!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
Now, with all that out the way, it’s time to focus on #GinADayMay which kicks off tomorrow! I’m not at all prepared this year so it’s hard for me to think of anything else happening next month, but I am also pretty excited about seeing my second article published in Gin Magazine…! In the meantime, I can’t wait see what you’ve all created for #GinADayMay, and will catch up with you again on the other side! Good luck, have fun and please, as always, drink responsibly. 🍸🛎🛎