The Hayman family is, impressively, the longest serving gin-distilling family in England. And yet, despite that – and much to my embarrassment – I knew little about them before they relocated to London in 2018. Worse still, and despite them being incredibly generous to me, I have never written a full article about them. Now, as Christopher Hayman celebrates an incredible 50 years in the gin industry, it seems like the perfect time to rectify that and sing their much-deserved praises.Continue reading
Inspired by the Picts – a tribe believed to be some of the first settlers in the Scottish Highlands Greenwood Distillers call home – as depicted by Theodore de Bry, a 16th century engraver and publisher. Produced by two master distillers – one British and one French. Influenced by the art of perfumery and combining old and new production techniques. With liquid (currently) produced in London and Cognac but blended and bottled in Scotland. The story behind Theodore Pictish Gin is every bit as complex as the spirit itself.Continue reading
“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 (he blames his years working in beer!), and each finished product is always striking in its originality. I was blown away by their Cascade Gin when I first met Terry at Catford Gin Festival in 2017 and when I saw him again at the same festival (albeit in a rather grander venue) last year, Terry returned with not one, not two, but three new gins; the citrusy Our Man in Sicily; the delicate and floral Dragon Tears (featuring the top buds of the jasmine tea plant); and my personal favourite, the spicy Bold St. Chai.Continue reading
For a true gin-lover, Sipsmith require no introduction, and it won’t be long before their new Orange & Cacao Gin needs none either; it’s that good! After 10 years in the business, and with plenty of competition in the craft spirit category, Sipsmith are still undoubtedly leading from the front. I’ll be amazed if anything pushes this latest member of the family out of my Top Ten this year!Continue reading
It’s hard to believe that Twelve Keys is not yet a year old. When they launched at Junipalooza in June 2018, founder Matthew Clifford, and his wife Alex, presented a polished product that was undoubtedly one of the stand-out spirits at the festival. Since then it has cropped up time and again in gin bloggers’ best gins of the year, including my own, and with very good reason.
When I was planning my trip to Junipalooza last year, Koval wasn’t particularly high on my list. But I got drawn to that beautiful laser-cut label and then couldn’t resist a sample either. And as I tasted both their Dry and Barrelled Gin, and learnt more about Koval, I got more and more drawn in, for theirs is a pretty impressive story.Continue reading
I suspect we’ve all had days when we’ve travelled to work and dreamt of better ways to spend our time. Alan Bottomley, an engineer, was driving to his job when the idea struck him to “make gin and grow Christmas trees”! Although it took a little while to win round his partner, Amy Conyard, his idea wasn’t quite as crazy as it may first sound. His father, Stansfield Bottomley, used to make whisky in the mid-1950s and Alan grew up watching him, fascinated, before learning the process himself in the early 1990s. So it was that, in 2016, Alan and Amy decided to take the plunge and Bottomley Distillers was born.
I’ve been a firm fan of Trevethan Gin ever since I first tasted it courtesy of Little Gin Box, when it sailed straight into my top ten of 2016. Not long after, in my rave review of early 2017, I admired their modest ambition – that anyone opening a bottle should “remember the reason it was created by Norman Trevethan in the first place (was) to be shared” – and tipped them for greatness. They may not have gone for world domination (yet) but boy have they been busy – adding not one, not two, but three more gins to their range – and I’ve been lucky enough to get my mitts on every one.
Provenance is undoubtedly popular these days – after all who doesn’t like the feelgood factor of buying something local? – but, like anything that matters, it’s not easy to get right. There’s confusion about names (my friend up north is forever confusing Slingsby and Harrogate gins); there’s the all-important matter of honesty and authenticity (it recently transpired Snowdonia Gin is actually made over the border in Warrington); and then, to really mean something, provenance needs to go beyond the name to the product itself. It’s not just what the gin is called and where it’s made that matters, but also what it’s made of and why. Provenance is about stories and people, botanicals and landscapes. And to do provenance properly it all needs to connect with that community.