When I started this blog and published my first post about the Aberdeen Gin Festival, a lovely lady called Karin McGivern got in touch to say she loved the post and wanted to send me her very first gin guide to read; This is Gin – the first publication in the ‘This is Guides’ series.
I have absolutely loved flicking through this small guide written by her and Scott Donald – so here are my thoughts…
Published this year, the guide includes around 40 of Scotland’s own gin distillers. From Gordon’s to Gordon Castle, it’s a delight turning each page to read a little about another different gin. It is beautifully presented, packed with photographs and illustrations, not to mention guest sections (I enjoyed the bit about Summerhouse Drinks and the Walter Gregor tonics!) and an overview of the history of gin. And, I have to say, what’s nice about it is that it’s not pretentious or overly informative (sometimes I think you can read too much about a gin), this guide gives you a little insight into where it’s made and some high level tasting notes. Just enough to give you an indication of what to expect.
And what’s better? There’s space to add your own notes! Hoooooray! How many times have you tried a gin you’ve been dying to get a taste of, only to forget what it tastes like (usually because you end up having too many… just me?!)? It’s great to be able to add just a couple of notes, whether it’s maybe what you drank it with (flavoured tonics, anyone?) or which garnish you chose to drink it with. I really like this feature – it’s like creating your own little gin diary. You can also fill in the stars and give it your own personal rating… Definitely feeling like a little gin critique right about now! *insert sassy emoji ;-)*
I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a garnish geek. I don’t have a natural ‘talent’ at pairing perfectly suited garnishes to individual gins, no no. But I do love being told what goes best and I usually try to re-create perfect serves to try and get the best out of the gins. Karin & Scott have done the leg work for you and have dedicated a page to suggesting some of the best gins for the best garnishes – this will now be my go to trusted source! As a side note, I would also pair Gordon’s Castle with rosemary – I tried this at the Inverurie Gin Club a few months ago and it was deeeeelicious.
And what’s even more wonderful, is that this is just the first guide. I recently saw on the Instagram page (@thisisguides) that the deadline has recently passed for different gins to request to be involved with the next edition – I cannot wait to see what’s been included for the next one. The Scottish gin market is growing at an impressive rate and the quality of those new gins hitting the market is equally as impressive.
At the beginning of the Guide, Mike Stewart from Inverurie Whiskey Shop writes a very relevant and palatable foreword. I feel like he’s summarised the gin market perfectly with this;
“Gone are the heavy Juniper hits, the old fashioned smell that could put you off gin for life. Young people are into gin in a big way, both men and women, its fashionable – the bottles are designed in a new and trendy way. But there are also the trend-setters. Those 30 plus who have been drinking gin for years, now get a sense of pride in the way that they pioneered ‘the movement’. This is what helps make gin so popular, it really is a drink for everyone.”
And I think the This is Gin guide is for everyone, too. I’m enjoying noting down my different, personal, tasting notes and rating the array of Scottish gins in the market. It’s like my own little private mission to ‘complete’ the guide. Maybe I should aim to have completed it by the time the second one comes out… Challenge Accepted! #WishMeLuck
If you’d like to purchase the book, visit the This Is Guides Facebook or Instagram pages to shop the collection! At £14.99, it’s a neat little addition to your gin collection and I would totally recommend it*.
*Karin kindly sent me this guide for free in exchange for a review. I was delighted to accept and all views are 100% honest and are all my own.