Words by: Simon Difford
The following are newly released and other gin & genevers we've reviewed recently (newest at the top).
Please click on product names for full tasting notes, further information and to view the qualitative score out-of-five attributed to each product according to our Difford’s Guide rating system.
A classically styled London distilled dry gin but with strong Italian influences - particularly delicate olive and thyme notes.
Portobello Road Gin Director's Cut No.3 Pechuga Gin
Turkey breast notes are far from obvious in what is perhaps more aptly described as a cinnamon gin with notes of Dentine. Apart from raisin and sultana, fruit notes (apples, pear and passionfruit) are also restrained. This suitably festive, spicy gin has generous piney juniper and Jake Burger's wit. It makes a tasty G&T and as it says on the back label, "Feliz Navidad y feliz año nuevo!" (Merry Christmas and happy new year!)
Himbrimi Icelandic Old Tom Gin
Flavouring by cold infusion (the maceration of botanicals in neutral spirit) rather than re-distillation gives this old tom gin a golden aged-like appearance. Bitter notes extracted during infusion somewhat mask attractive floral notes.
Nikka Coffey Gin
This gin may be Japanese, but it is distinctly new western in style (with subdued juniper) and zesty sherbety citrus to the fore.
Bols Genever 100% Malt Spirit
Bready and spicy with piney juniper. Light but warming clove. Piet van Leijenhorst has produced a superbly-balanced example of a 100% moutwijn genever.
Tosolini GinT Italian Dry Gin
Being based on grape rather than grain neutral spirit seems to add body and faint sweetness to this classically styled yet subtly herbal dry gin. Traditionalists will be reassured by forward piney juniper, while those seeking something more contemporary will delight in its subtle herbal complexity.
Caspyn Cornish Dry Gin
Attractive black tea tannins dry this very dry and aromatic Cornish gin which has subtle floral parma violet notes.
Considering the complex distillation and extraction processes used, along with the care taken over the botanicals selected, at first blush Hepple Gin is remarkably classic London dry and restrained in its tightly complex character. But that's the point, this gin has subtle nuances rather than being brash and shouty. Considering the 45% alc./vol., spirituous attack is also remarkably restrained.
Mayfield Sussex Hop Gin
Don't be put off by the hop notes suggested in the name of what is actually a classically London dry styled gin. The headline Sussex hops are very subtle and beneficial in their influence. Dry pine fresh juniper leads with enlivening cracked black pepper spice.
Fishers London Dry Gin
A tactile rounded, intricately screen-printed bottle holds an equally rounded, bright fresh juniper-led gin, with enlivening cardamom spice and herbal notes.
A traditional juniper-led London dry style of gin with assertive spice and attractive floral notes.
Wonderfully clean and fresh throughout. A soft mouthfeel with dry piney juniper and delicate sweet berry fruitiness leads to a cleansing peppery spiced finish.
A traditionally styled, wonderfully fresh juniper forward Danish gin with attractive fresh coriander notes.
Marylebone London Dry Gin
Floral lime notes with muscular black pepper spice characterise this London distilled gin. Burnt rubber notes on the nose detract.
Makar Old Tom Gin
A beautifully balanced, very characterful gin which is reassuringly dry in character for an old tom. Juniper forward with pleasing nutty linseed notes. The use of black pepper adds a pronounced spice which slightly detracts from other more delicate botanicals.
Makar Cask Aged Mulberry Wood Limited Edition Gin
Maturation in mulberry wood casks adds a pleasing buttery woodiness to this herbal spicy Scottish gin.
Dockyard Chatham Dry Gin
Most gins express their all-important juniper content as a pine fresh aroma and flavour. Some also have an attractive overripe banana fruitiness. Dockyard is one of those gins.
Newton House London Dry Gin
A traditional London dry style gin with Sharp citrusy notes, pine fresh juniper and cracked black pepper.
Nicholson Original London Dry Gin
Cracked black pepper is more prevalent in this classically London styled gin than I remember from rare vintage samples, but this modern recreation does have Nicholson's attractive liquorice notes. It's great to see a lost brand revived.
Old Bakery Wholesale Small Batch London Dry Gin
A very classically styled London Dry Gin with pronounced citrusy notes.
Durham Cold Distilled Cucumber Flavoured Vodka
This is not an 'in-your-face' flavoured vodka, it's subtly flavoured. The aroma has a hint of cabbage about it while the palate is succulent cucumber.
Conniption American Dry Gin
A big bold gin, distinctly American-style gin with plenty of spice - black pepper, white pepper spice, green cardamom, lemongrass and piney juniper - yet smoothed and made interesting by cucumber and honeysuckle, which present as an aloe vera-like flavour in this gin.
Four Pillars Bartender Series Spiced Negroni Gin
This gin was specifically designed to be used in a Negroni and it does indeed make a cracking Negroni.
Juniper Green Trophy London Dry Gin
This organic, London distilled, classically styled London dry gin has assertive resinous pine needle-like juniper notes with equally powerful spicy notes. The decanter-style bottle has one of those nifty glass and nylon stoppers. We also like the premium 43% strength. But strangely, both the packaging and the gin inside lack the refinement to be truly outstanding.
Haymans English Cordial Gin
Classic London dry flavours and character presented as a well-balanced liqueur. Enjoyable just sipped neat but also a versatile cocktail ingredient.
Partridges Chelsea Flower Gin
Rose and other floral notes on this gin are obvious but subtle - it is a London dry with a delicate floral note rather than being a rose flavoured gin.
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Australian Gin
The Australian answer to slow gin - this Shiraz grape steeped gin is slightly sweet with rich jammy berry flavours, but these are balanced by pine needle freshness, tannins and enlivening black pepper spice.
Four Pillars Navy Strength Australian Gin
Strong in alcohol strength and character with assertive zesty citrus and spices such as turmeric, this is far from 'London dry' in style - understandably - it's distilled on the other side of the world from London in Australia.
Four Pillars Rare Dry Australian Gin
The nose of this gin is wonderfully fresh with attractive banana aromas. This leads to a classically based dry gin with zippy spice, lavender and zesty citrus.
Colombo No.7 London Dry Gin
This gin may be distilled with exotic ingredients such as curry leaf but it is classically restrained in style - a true London dry - just with subtle hints of a more exotic place than London.
Isle of White HMS Victory Navy Strength Gin
A truly Navy Strength Gin (57% alc./vol.) that's juniper-led and classically dry in style but with an attractive saltiness. Perfectly suited to salty dogs.
Elephant Gin Elephant Strength
This high-strength bottling certainly packs an Elephant Strength punch - it also has a long herbal bitter finish.
Sweet orange and berry fruit notes characterise this Japanese influenced English gin.
Longtable Texada Vodka
This superbly clean vodka is restrained as flavoured vodkas go with subtle notes of lemon glass. Perhaps best termed "with a hint of" rather than "flavoured". Well-conceived, well-made and very enjoyable.
Poetic License Northern Dry Gin
Heavily cardamom spiced with pine fresh juniper, this pungent gin could be inhaled to clear a blocked nose. Fresh and enlivening in a G&T.
De Borden Holland Gin
An attractive combination of old-style genever maltiness and modern fresh resinous piney gin with star anise, liquorice and cracked black pepper.
Hendrick's Orbium Quininated Gin
This isn't, as I first thought it might be, a gin with enough quinine whereby you only need to add sparkling water to make a G&T - dilution brings out this gin's wormwood perhaps more than it does the quinine. That said, Orbium does make a superbly complex and wonderfully rounded G&T with a long dry wormwood finish.
This characterful gin punches above its weight and alc./vol. in the flavour stakes as it explodes with piney juniper and zesty citrus freshness along with earthy liquorice and enlivening spice.
Tiger Premium Gin No.1
A classically styled London Dry Gin that's quality is worthy of a very slightly increased alc./vol. and more deluxe packaging.
Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
Attractive resinous pine, citrus and eucalyptus freshness with enlivening black pepper spice. Faint cashew nuttiness.
Classic in style, superbly clean and straightforward, but perhaps lacks complexity and subtlety.
Portabello Road Gin Local Heros #02
This is a big gin bursting with bergamot freshness, timut pepper spice and subtler grassy and floral notes. These flavours - particularly bergamot explode in a G&T.
Trevethan Cornish Gin
Good juniper character with enlivening cardamom and black pepper spice, refreshing zesty orange and violet blossom. Invigorating and complex.
Before Gin Gevener
Beautifully balanced piney juniper, spice and leathery oak with rounding maltiness.
Blackdown Sussex Dry Gin
We found the nose off-putting but then were surprised by just how much we liked the taste of this silver birch influenced gin. Although bottled at a mere 37.5% alc./vol. Blackdown is also we'll-priced compared to some other "craft" gins.
The West Winds Gin The Broadside Navy Strength
Powerful in both flavour and alcohol by volume, The Broadside is an appropriate name. However, this bold gin is subtle and complex with faint saltiness, parma violet and nutty liquorice.
The West Winds Gin The Captain's Cut
Despite its very high alcohol content and cracked black pepper forward spicy botanicals, The Captain's Cut is surprisingly subdued with water/tonic. A gin for those who like their G&T served spicy with delicate herbal complexity.
The West Winds Gin The Maidenii Voyage Barrel Expedition Gin
This barrel aged gin is incredibly complex with strawberry, nutty and floral notes.
A most unusual gin from Switzerland with pronounced bitter lavender.
Graveney Organic Gin
There's something honest and innocent about this micro-distilled juniper forward gin with its distinctive black tea, nutty and parma violet notes.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Sloe Gin
Distinctly drier and spicier than classic sloe gins with pronounced freshly sawn spruce woodiness.
Kyrö Distillery Company Koskue Finnish Aged Rye Gin
Rye spice bursts forth from this pungent pine and eucalyptus forward aged gin.
KWV Cruxland Gin
Kalahari truffle is the headline botanical in this South African gin but this is overwhelmed by cardamom and aniseed spice. Pleasing notes of rooibos help pull this very distinctly South African gin together.