Tasting Gin | Willliam Chase Gin

// gin, William ChaseWilliam Chase Gin is a gin I desperately wanted to love. William Chase is the only gin in England made from a neutral spirit made by the distillery; all other distilleries buy in their neutral spirit. Most gins are made with a grain based neutral spirit, William Chase make their spirits from cider apples. So you can see why I was excited to try it.

The process

Chase Distillery have a field to bottle approach, they grow apples and potatoes for their vodka on their property in Herefordshire. They make their base spirit, essentially vodka, by fermenting then distilling the apples and potatoes. The base spirit comes out at about 96% ABV.

To make their gin they put the botanicals into a pillowcase (yep, a pillowcase!) and toss that into the carter of their still, Ginny. As the vapours pass through the pillowcase they are flavoured with the botanicals.

Once flavoured, the spirit is mixed with water drawn from a source on their property, down to 48% ABV.

There’s no reason not to describe this gin as London Dry, although they do not market it as such.

Botanicals

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Liquorice
Orris
Orange
Lemon
Hops
Elderflower
Bramley apple

Tasting notes

With an ABV of 48%, ethanol overpowers the botanicals on the nose. There is a sense of juniper, but it’s very subtle. On the palate, again the neutral spirit is the star with the botanicals very difficult to detect. Given the provenance of the spirit I expected it to be more remarkable, to have a more distinct flavour, maybe the deficiency is in my palate, but it really didn’t taste the difference in the neutral spirit and found the botanicals almost undetectable.

When I was in London I tasted the William Chase Vodka, which I thought was delicious and wonderfully smooth. Look, I’m a bit confused about this too.

Drinks

I only had a 50mL sample bottle, so after tasting it neat I only had enough left for a gin and tonic, with Fevertree tonic and lemon peel. I was hoping the mixing the William Chase with tonic water would open up the flavours of the botanicals, but I found the flavour of the lemon peel overwhelmed any subtle botanical flavours.

What others say

The Gin Blog
Drinks Enthusiast

Where can you buy it

I can’t find an Australian supplier for William Chase Gin, but you can order it from Master of Malt in the UK, just watch out for the shipping!

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Tasting Gin | Farmer’s Organic Gin

// FarmersMy beloved Gentleman Caller recently took a business trip to the States, and bless him, used up his entire duty-free allowance on gin for me. Didn’t bring home a single bottle of whisky for himself. Now that is true love.

My first tasting is of a gin I hadn’t heard of before. Farmer’s Gin is a small batch organic gin made by the distillery behind Crop Harvest Vodka. I’ve been trying to work out where the distillery is, but their websites and Facebook pages give little away.

The process

The base spirit is made with certified organic grains. Its small batch distilled, not sure if it is vapor infused or macerated, but it doesn’t have that distinct copper/metallic flavour that a lot of contemporary American gins have. It’s also a strong gin at 46.7% ABV, but not quite Navy Strength.

Botanicals

Again, a bit cagey about their botanicals, though they do give more away than [Stone Pine].

Juniper

Elderflower

Lemongrass

Coriander

Angelica

& other select botanicals

Regular readers will know I strongly dislike coriander, but in this instance the coriander seeds do not dominate, rather they, along with angelica root, create a lovely earthy base note.

Tasting notes

The bouquet is sweet and spicy with sharp ethanol and distinct juniper. On the palate the elderflower hit the middle of your mouth and blossoms. Along with the warmth from the ethanol you can feel the warmth and floral flavour explode and fill your mouth. The earthy notes come in underneath and linger with a slightly strange aftertaste.

Drinks

Farmer’s really comes to life mixed with Fever Tree tonic. It’s warming and sharp without overwhelming. All of the notes balance out beautifully with the tonic, the base notes of coriander and angelica root ground the flavour with the juniper making of soft bed for slightly subdued elderflower top note.

What others say

Gin is in

Gin Reviews

New York Times

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Tasting Gin | Stone Pine dry gin

Stone Pine Dry GinA dear friend of mine has been touring the country in various plays for quite some years now, and in doing so discovered the Stone Pine Distillery in Bathurst. He’d been telling me about this wonderful gin for a year or so before he was back in the region and had the chance to pick up a bottle for me. It was worth the wait.

Originally from Scotland, Bev and Ian Glen founded their mircodistillery in 2006. Bev’s background is in hospitality, while Ian is a biochemist and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, so they make a great team.

I’m excited about the emergence of some terrific Australian gins using native botanicals. (I have quite a few on my reviews to do list.) Overall they are punchy and flavoursome.

The process

Stone Pine Dry gin is pot distilled, the website says they gently infuse their botanicals, but it does not specify if it is vapour distilled or macerated then distilled. Based on the wording I would guess vapour distilled.

There is no indication of what is used in the spirit base, but the describes Ian Glen’s background is brewing whisky so I’d guess that he is using a grain spirit base.

They call the style ‘new world’ which I guess is another way of saying New Western, though it owes a lot to the London Dry style too.

Botanicals

They are a bit secretive about the botanical ingredients, describing a proprietary of native and traditional botanicals. There is definitely juniper and some earthy herb tones, and also some quite hot spicy notes. They use a lot of finger lime in their other products so it’s quite possible the citrusy top notes come courtesy of the delicious native finger lime.

Tasting notes

Unsurprisingly Stone Pine has a strong pine aroma with clean ethanol and juniper. On the palate it is full-flavoured with juniper and hot spice dominating. There is a subtle hint of a citrus top note.

Drinks

Mixed with Fever Tree tonic it’s a full and loud drink with a lot of complexity. The tonic dampens the hot spice and opens up the slightly sweet citrus top notes. While it doesn’t of the clean softness of a classic London Dry, it is an interesting and vibrant gin and tonic. They offer gift packs of the dry gin with Capi tonic water, which is an excellent Australian product. It’s so good to see a distillery committing to good tonic water.

What others say

I haven’t been able to find any other reviews of Stone Pine dry gin, if you stumble upon any, do let me know. Or if you have the chance to try it, I’d love to know what you think.

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Gin Cocktails | French 75

gin, French 75, cocktail, drinksSimply posting the French 75 as a gin cocktail will be controversial. Many claim that the classic French 75 features congac rather than gin, but I’m going to take my lead from The Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930, the first known recipe, which definitely uses gin.

There does seem to be a general consensus that the French 75 was invented at the New York Bar in Paris in 1915 by Harry MacElhone. It was named for the French 75mm field gun which was small, but packed a punch. A reference to the cocktail’s potency. As they said in The Savoy Cocktail Book it ‘hits with remarkable precision’.

There is also a vast discrepancy in the amount of gin that should be used, I’ve seen everything from 7.5mL (1/4oz) to 60mL (2oz), along with most of a glass of champagne or dry sparking wine, that can be quite a hit.

Here’s my best recipe:

30mL Gin, any solid mid-range gin will do, Tanquery, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater etc
15mL fresh lemon juice, it’s really worth juicing yourself, don’t use the bottled stuff
15 mL simple/sugar syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a champagne flute. Fill the glass with a brut champagne or sparkling wine, nothing too fancy. Pour the wine over a spoon so it doesn’t fizz over.

Traditionally a French 75 if a delightful pre-dinner drink, but I say indulge at any sparkling moment.

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Gin Quotes | Phyllis Diller

Phyllis Diller

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March 23, 2013 · 1:05 am

Tasting Gin | Beefeater 24

gin, london dry, reviewAfter tasting the Crown Jewel we wanted to try the replacement, Beefeater 24. Of course our gracious host had a bottle on hand.

The Process

Beefeater 24 is infused for, wait for it, 24 hours, then distilled for seven hours. The website describes that the cut for Beefeater 24 is taken in the middle of the distillation an ‘Artisan Cut’ which makes for a ‘more citrusy, softer, contemporary style of gin.’

Tasting Notes

The first thing that struck me about the Beefeater 24, as compared to the Crown Jewel, is that it’s much softer. That’s partly because it’s 45%ABV rather than 50%ABV, but possibly also because of the Artisan Cut process. It’s also much more complex. A heavy juniper base, but the grapefruit is much more distinct. I could also taste notes of black pepper. I’m not sure where the pepper flavour comes from and the only difference in botanicals is the addition of Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea.

The thing I found really interesting in tasting these two Beefeater premiums, as well as the regular Beefeater, is the distinct flavour palate across the three gins. They certainly have a very consistent house flavour which is very identifiable in each version.

Botanicals

Almond
Angelica Root
Angelica Seed
Chinese green tea
Coriander Seed
Japanese Sencha tea
Juniper
Lemon Peel
Liquorice
Orange Peel
Grapefruit Peel
Orris Root

What others say

The Gin Blog
Gin Journey
Drink Hacker

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Tasting Gin | Beefeater Crown Jewel

BeefeaterCrownJewelPeerlessWe were lucky to be invited to a housewarming party over the weekend. The host is a passionate spirits enthusiast. He has custom built shelves with down lights to house his collections. He even brews his own bitters.

My first gin sample of the evening was St George’s Terrior gin. I’m not going to write up full notes on this gin as it is very strongly flavoured with coriander, which I absolutely cannot abide. Coriander and its root a quite common ingredients in gin, and as long as I can’t taste or smell it, that’s fine, but it was so over-powering in this gin that I really couldn’t do it justice. Aaron at The Gin Is In has a very favourable review of it here.

Towards the end of the evening, in fact I think we were the only guests left, our gracious host dug out a bottle of Beefeater Crown Jewel. The Crown Jewel was the Beefeater premium before the Beefeater 24. It was discontinued it 2009. Our host found this bottle at the back of a dusty shelf in a Wellington bottleshop and snapped it up.

The process

As this gin is discontinued it’s very difficult to find out exactly how it was made. Being familiar with the Beefeater process, I’d assume it is macerated and infused then distilled, in true London Dry style.

Tasting notes

At 50%ABV this is a firey alcohol hit, spicy and warming. The flavour feels heavy on spice, but I think that is the interaction between the juniper and the very strong alcohol. There is also a slight metallic tingle at the front of the tongue. I tasted this late at night, so these are not my most detailed notes, but there isn’t a lot of subtly in this one, I guess it’s hard to be subtle when working with 50%ABV.

Botanicals
Almond
Angelica Root
Angelica Seed
Coriander Seed
Juniper
Lemon Peel
Liquorice
Orange Peel
Grapefruit Peel
Orris Root

What others say

Summer Fruit Cup
Everyday Drinking
Proof 66

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