Kicking off with International Scottish Gin Day, continuing with a fair share of gin launches and drinks judging, and with London Cocktail
Week Month extended again, I’ve been on the go all October and, frankly, it’s little wonder this gin monthly is late (again)!
Hot on the heels of International Scottish Gin Day came the Scottish Gin Awards which saw Beinn an Tuirc’s Tarbert Legbiter take home the gold in the High Strength Gin category, Mackintosh’s Pineapple & Grapefruit Gin achieve gold in the Old Tom category and Isle of Harris Distillery win Scottish Gin Distillery of the Year 2021. Congratulations to all the winners!
Congratulations also to York Gin who have just got the keys to a new 5,250 sq ft distillery, as demand for their gin has seen them increasing production from two runs a week to sometimes having to do two runs a day. With lots of space to further expand production, and plans to develop a visitors’ centre, York Gin are well worth keeping an eye on. And, in the meantime, they’re also transforming a unit in the city’s train station into a second York Gin shop just in time for Christmas!
New Gin Alerts
Bombay Sapphire’s Premier Cru Mercian Lemon was the big launch of the month but a few others grabbed my attention including Scotland’s Foghouse Gin featuring almond, olives, olive leaf and grande wormwood; the first in Biggar’s series of cask-aged gins which has been aged in a 100l virgin French oak cask, and Turncoat’s Hold Fast Navy Strength Gin which comes in at a whopping 60% ABV. I’m also really looking forward to trying Papillon’s Sloe Gin which launches on 11 November, and – having tried it at Junipalooza – I already know just how good Thunderflower’s Negroni 58 – featuring their FireShip58, Cocchi Storico Vermouth di Torino and Amaro Montenegro – is going to be and it is also available on pre-order now!
My Month in Gin
And that’s not all, October also saw the launch of two French Gins in the UK. Hailing from, and inspired by, the sandy beaches of Île d’Oléron on the west coast of France, Melifera Gin introduced us to their spirit and signature botanical – the beautiful immortelle flower – at the recently reopened and rather wonderful London Gin Club. I was also delighted to attend the exclusive launch lunch of Provence’s Mediterranean Gin by Léoube at Stanley’s Chelsea. Created using leftover olives and grape alcohol distilled with traditional local botanicals including rosemary, fennel, almonds and citrus, we enjoyed Mediterranean Gin in a selection of cocktails (including an exceptional dry martini!) before being treated to a wonderful three-course lunch paired with delicious wines from Château Léoube.
I was also lucky enough to catch up with Chris Klug and the team from America’s Gothic Gin at Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour while they were in the country to celebrate their official sponsorship of Strive for Perfection: The Royal Edition – an official publication for the International Club for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts. Having first met Chris at Gin Live in 2019 it was wonderful to revisit this tasty gin and also try a few cocktails from the impressive menu!
This month I’ve also been putting my palate to the test even more by not only judging the The Second Gin Masters 2021 for The Global Spirits Masters, but also The Pre-Mixed and RTD Masters 2021 and No and Low Spirits for The IWSC. While I’m pretty experienced at judging gin, and had a fairly good idea of what to expect from the pre-mixed and RTDs, no and low is a relatively new (but rapidly growing category) which proved to be a really mixed bag. However, we definitely found some treasure including Clean G, Ceder’s Crisp, Wales’ Juniperl and France’s 0% Sober-Rum which achieved a very impressive 98 points!
And as if all that wasn’t enough to break me, I also had the honour of joining the Ambassador Team for London Cocktail
Week Month! As an Ambassador I agreed to catch up with staff at, and record some video footage of, ten bars across the city but I made sure not to put my complimentary wristband to waste and managed to hit up another 7 or 8 bars too! I couldn’t even begin to pick a favourite but some of my highlights included [Roots], Discount Suit Company, The Sun Tavern, Three Sheets, The Natural Philosopher and ELLC.
Welcome to My Collection
This month I was delighted to receive Salcombe Gin’s stunning new Seamist liquid garnish distilled with olives, coastal botanicals and Cornish sea salt to complement their Provence inspired Rosé Sainte Marie Gin. Thanks also to Tarquin’s for their seasonal Figgy Pudding Gin (and all the ingredients to make a Festive Figroni!); Bombay Sapphire for their new Premier Cru Murcian Lemon, Léoube for the wonderful hamper I took home from the launch of their Mediterranean Gin and also to Stranger & Sons for their lovely London Cocktail
Week Month care package including a Foraged Gimlet and two jars of pickles!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
November brings with it more judging, some freelance writing and a couple of distillery visits for me and the return of Master of Malt’s #WhiskySanta for everyone else so be sure to get your wishes in soon! See you on the other side! 🍸🛎🛎