Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tasting Gin | Begin Gin

Begin gin reviewI was in Canberra over the weekend for a birthday party. Rooftop. 2pm. 38 degrees. Gin and tonic weather. We were staying right in the CBD so I expected easy access to a good liquor store, but on. The only option was a supermarket with a liquor section. All the spirits were locked behind glass, it felt being a naughty teenager waiting for a staff member to come and unlock the cupboard.

They had Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire, at horrifyingly high prices, and they had Begin Gin for just $30. I did a quick search, no reviews but I found that it’s an Australian gin distilled in Victoria. I’ve been wanting to review more Australian gins so I decided to give it go, despite serious apprehension.


This is a distilled dry gin, but not a London Dry, which means it can include sugar and flavourings in the recipe.  There is no information on the bottle or the website, so beyond that I’m just going on what I can taste and smell.


There is no ingredient list on the bottle or on the website, so there is definitely juniper in but everything else is a guess. There are citrusy notes as well as hints of spice. There are definitely some earthy roots in there, angelica or orris perhaps but I can’t be sure.


On the nose there is juniper, citrus and hints of turpentine. On the tongue it is full and floral and over-sweet up front, I suspect it is mixed with sugar. This is followed by a very sharp, acrid aftertaste reminiscent of Semillon and cough syrup. This is not a gin to drink on its own.

Mixed with tonic water it is lightly refreshing and the tonic cuts the unpleasant aftertaste. With plenty of ice and cucumber it was reasonably diverting on a hot afternoon, but the faint note of turpentine lingered and makes one a bit headachey. At its price point I would recommend Beefeater as significantly better and you know how I feel about Beefeater!

What others say

I can’t find any reviews, but if you try do tell me what you think.


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A love letter of sorts to Bombay Sapphire

Dear Bombay Sapphire,

gin, Bombay Sapphire, London Dry Gin

You were the first good gin I met. Sure, I’d pilfered Vickers from Mum’s dusty liquor cabinet and survived a few years of Gordon’s and postmix in sticky uni bars, but you were my first real gin. And oh how I loved you!

My grandmother introduced you to me. I can’t remember exactly when, but do remember thinking, ‘so this is what gin’s supposed to taste like!’ It was a revolution in my mouth.

I bought a few bottles duty free and saved the pretty clear bottle. I studied the botanicals etched on the sides. For the first time I really started to think about what goes into gin and wanted to know more. You, Bombay Sapphire, inspired me.

That was some time ago now. I’ve tried a lot of other gins. Flashier gins. Gins with special flavourings and unusual spirit bases. Gins that just about sing on your palate. But Bombay Sapphire remains in my heart. When reaching for an everyday gin, one that’s versatile, happy with tonic, good in a martini. And you, Bombay, are easy to find. Stocked in most bottle shops, at varying prices, offered as a premium gin in most bars. You are reliable and ubiquitous and you will always be the first gin I loved.


The Ginstress


Filed under Tasting Gin