A brief glance at Mary Rose Gin, from HMS Spirits, conveys a sense of voyage and expedition. But it goes beyond the compass emblazoned on the back of the bottle, the sailing ships and the instruction to “Chart Your Own Course”. HMS Spirits began with one chap from the South Coast, Ben Maguire, who had a passion for travelling and also a love of gin (born of a desire to lose weight without compromising his social life!). Having been enticed by the art of distilling, Ben bought a 35 litre copper still on a trip to Hungary (as you do!) but it took four years of experimentation in his garage before he settled upon a recipe he felt would “respect the art of the London Dry whilst adding a new modern twist”. There was then a further year of researching bottles, labels and stoppers and building a brand that reflected his love of the sea, travel and enterprise.
Boozy advent calendars have to be the best addition to the Christmas festivities since a stuffed stocking first appeared at the foot of your bed! And, better still, 2017 has seen the line-up grow larger than ever. From rum and bourbon to absinthe and mezcal, there is something for every spirit lover. There’s even a Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Advent Calendar with each of the twenty-four daily drams of vodka increasing in heat from 10,000 to 240,000 scovilles! But one of the newest additions to the market, and almost certainly the most beautiful, is That Boutique-y Gin Company‘s first ever Advent Calendar.
If you’re anything like me, then your heart most likely skips a beat every time you spot a new gin on social media. And then sinks a little with the realisation that there is yet another product you have to add to your must-try list and attempt to track down. And it’s hard enough to keep up with just the UK gins. Don’t even get me started on the European and worldwide gins. It is nigh on impossible to keep up with the insatiable growth in the market at the moment but a new gin subscription service from Master of Malt may just keep you one step ahead of most of the rest of us.
These are interesting times indeed in the gin subscription service market. Of the five services that launched in 2016, Tipple Box and microbarbax have already long since dropped their spirit and gin clubs (although both still offer their original cocktail clubs). And, as Gin Explorer prepare to call time on their miniature subscription service next month, Master of Malt have just announced their brand new Dram Club. Things appear more stable at the full-sized end of the market with Craft Gin Club, launched in January 2015, still going strong. But the competition there is clearly heating up too, especially with One Time Gin preparing to take on everyone else with a variety of bottle sizes when they relaunch later this year.
Limited edition gins are big news. Very big. But they can also be problematic; being expensive, risky and time-consuming for distilleries to bring to market. But that is where the newly launched That Boutique-y Gin Company comes riding gallantly to the rescue. That Boutique-y Gin Company, sister to the highly successful whisky company of the same name, is the world’s first independent gin bottler, taking secret unreleased projects and exciting experiments from distilleries in their purest form before bottling, labelling and marketing the products themselves.
With the boom in gin showing no sign of abating, the number of subscription services continues to grow. There is now a wealth of choice in the miniatures market with five companies, including Gin Explorer and Little Gin Box, launching in 2016. Until recently though the Craft Gin Club, launched in January 2015, was the only gin subscription service offering full size bottles delivered to your doorstep. Now The Juniper Club is squaring up to them.