Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I’m a bit of a gin-head, as well as being a dab hand at that thing called social media. So, when the Staffordshire Distillery appeared on my Twitter timeline, it only seemed natural to follow them. What happened next was a series of DMs (that’s Direct Messages, not the infamous work boots favoured by many), and on Staffordshire Day, Friday 1st May 2020, I received two samples in the post to taste and review.
Read on, dear reader. Read on ……
Uisge London Dry Gin – 42% volume. Pronounced ‘Ooos-ka’ from the Gaelic of ‘uisge-beatha’ meaning ‘Water of Life’’, Uisge London Dry Gin is distilled from water from a spring in the Highlands, where the story goes that the water passes through rock for 50 years before it gets to the spring.
On opening the bottle, thankfully I wasn’t bowled over by that familiar “aftershave” scent that many non-gin drinkers associate with traditional Mothers’ Ruin. If anything, it offered gentle spicy notes. Wanting to cover all options, I first tried it neat, at room temperature. On hitting my tongue and swallowing, it left a warm vapour, not unlike drinking neat brandy and the spices of cassia and cinnamon were subtle in their presence – mingling nicely with the floral botanicals used in the vapour-infused distilling process.
Mixing the Uisge with traditional tonic water immediately turned it into a session-pleasing gin, knocking the spice element back a degree or two in favour of highlighting the florals – an almost cleansing drink, making me long for an afternoon under the summer sun watching a game of cricket, G&T in hand, and on tap! I then switched the mixer to Gascoigne’s Grapefruit and Orange Tonic which, weirdly, knocked the florals back into touch and brought the spices back to the fore. Personally, if it was for any extended period of time, I’d stick with the regular tonic water, but mixing with the Grapefruit and Orange Tonic would certainly wake up the palette and act as a perfect opener to an evening out, or pre-dinner drink.
Thinking that this was the best Wednesday afternoon ever invented, I then moved on to the Lemon Distilled Gin – 40% volume and distilled from the same spring water as the Uisge.
Following the same routine, on opening the bottle I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t smell of sherbet lemons. The herbs used in the distilling process – Lemon Verbena and Lemon Thyme – give this gin a smooth, natural aroma rather than a processed, sharp artificial one.
Neat, and at room temperature, I was drawn to the flavours of lemon meringue pie and lemon puff biscuits: rich and satisfying, with an almost creamy taste. A far cry from the Limoncello purchased at Rome airport last year.
Mixed with regular tonic water, it displays a very natural pale yellowness whilst retaining the creaminess from imbibing it neat. I’m assuming it’s the quinine in the tonic, but mixing it almost gives it a bitter yet sweet grapefruit note – think of the juicy pink grapefruits rather than their dull yellow cousins.
For the final mash-up of the tasting session I opted for Fever Tree’s Mediterranean Tonic Water with the Lemon Gin, the lemon still very much in all its natural evidence but with a floral, not-too-sweet lift courtesy of the mixer.
I love the absence of artificial taste, which can be evident in some of the flavoured gins produced by the market leaders for mass distribution – which makes it (in my opinion) stand out as a small batch artisan product intended for those who appreciate the finer gins on the market.
I will definitely be making space on my gin shelves for the Lemon Gin – there’s just something comforting about its creaminess.
- Thank you to Rachel at Staffordshire Distillery for having the faith to send the samples
- No payment was received for the writing of this Blog
- Thanks to the power of Twitter for bringing the Staffordshire Distillery onto my GINdar! Follow me at @TaoSocialUK and Staffordshire Distillery @StaffsDistil
- Yes, I use plastic ice cubes – WHY would I want to use water ones and dilute the gin!?