The Spring Collection

Well, it’s been a while!ย Life has been just a little bit crazy and the blog has been just a little bit neglected. But fear not, the gin drinking has not been quite so impacted ๐Ÿ˜‰

It seems that Spring has finally sprung (almost!?), so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share a few of my new gins, where they’re from and what I think…

First up, on our way back from a city break to Rome, I treated myself to a new gin in Heathrow airport (side bar: duty free, not so cheap). It’s calledย Rokuย and it’s a Japanese craft gin.

AF08FA95-4F2F-4AE8-A789-17392BD539EC

The Low Down

Name: Roku ย – Japanese Craft Gin
Origin: Japan
Perfect Serve: ice, tonic and fresh ginger in a high ball glass
Where to buy: Waitrose (ยฃ30) or Master of Malt (ยฃ29.95)

Roku Gin is described as “blossoming from the four seasons of Japan” with six of the key botanicals harvested at the peak of each season in the year. The unique botanicals include sakura flower, sakura leaf, sencha tea, gyokuro tea, sansho pepper and yuzu peel, which complement the more traditional gin botanicals which create that real ‘gin’ flavour. How different?! Compared with my usual ‘go-to’ Scottish craft gins, this one is very unique in flavour. You can read more about the gin here.

I really like the authentic feel to the bottle. The paper label, the oriental-type design and the embossment on the glass all contribute to a beautifully floral, blossom-like feel. It’s also unique with the hexagonal bottle design – definitely a pretty addition to the gin collection ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Next up, all the way from the Isle of Barra… Barra Gin.

97BF5359-91BB-477C-A020-E9178456D97B

The Low Down

Name: Barra Atlantic Gin
Origin: Isle of Barra, Scotland
Perfect Serve: neat over ice, or with a citrus garnish
Where to buy: Barra Gin website (ยฃ37)

From the beautiful island of Barra comes this unique gin, harnessing the spirit of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The key differentiator for Barra gin is the carrageen seaweed, harvested from the shores of the island before it’s distilled into this unique gin. Self described as showcasing aย “perfect balance of floral and herbal on the nose, leading to juniper, citrus and dulcet carrageen rolling across the tongue like mighty Atlantic surf breaking on Barra shores”, it’s got to be tasted to be believed!

This one would make a great gift, with the gift set arriving in a carved wooden box with two perfect gin tumblers. My family (on my dad’s side) is from this beautiful island, so as soon as the gin was launched, I knew I wanted to get my hands on it! Dad beat me to it – buying some for him and some for me ๐Ÿ™‚ it’s taken a proud place in my collection!

And, next…ย McQueen Gin.

3371C19C-3D7F-4D7D-ACBB-8762D370BE4D

The Low Down

Name: McQueen Gin
Origin: Callander, Scotland
Perfect Serve: big ice, tonic and garnished with orange and lime
Where to buy: McQueen Gin Website (ยฃ35)

I received the McQueen gin as a Christmas gift from my mother and father-in-law (clearly my family knows me so well!) and I was so excited to try it. Apart from the beautifully unique bottle (everyone loves a wax seal!), I had actually never heard of this one so was looking forward to tasting it. And it didn’t disappoint!

This gin is quite dry, with a deep forestry flavour and a crisp citrus finish. The flavour is so unique – to match its design – and it leaves you wanting more. McQueen recommend serving with orange and lime, but I’m not really a massive fan of orange in my gin (I find it overwhelms the juniper taste and it’s too sweet), but it does work with this one. I would probably prefer just to finish it off with the lime though ๐Ÿ™‚

What I didn’t realise until writing this post is that there are multiple variations of this gin, including; sweet citrus, spiced chocolate orange, smoky chilli, mocha and chocolate mint. I think my wish list just grew!

And lastly, for this round, is the Lone Wolf Gunpowder Gin

6C04AD97-2C29-4DFB-B4CE-1C03E1E5470E

The Low Down

Name: Lone Wolf Limited Edition Gunpowder Gin
Origin: Ellon, Scotland
Perfect Serve: However you dare to drink it ๐Ÿ˜‰
Where to buy: LoneWolf website (ยฃ30)

As the creators say, “expect the unexpected” when it comes to the LoneWolf spirit collection. At a mighty 57%, this isn’t for the faint-hearted! Distilled and bottled in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, this is a punchy creation behind the Punk IPA giant BrewDog. This limited edition version of their small batch gin is spicy to taste – and would probably be a well paired with a slice of orange. Finishing with citrus notes, flavours of lemon and grapefruit cut through and it’s mighty fine! But, really, at 57%, take it easy… (*sips with caution*).

 

And there you have it! A little update on some new additions to the Aimee Talks collection ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ll notice in the feature image of this post that I’ve included the Isle of Harris gin. However, I’ve decided to do a separate post on this one – it’s a real favourite of mine and there is just so much to say about the brand, the bottle, the gin and the ethos that it needs a page to itself ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you tried any news gins recently? Let me know what you’re loving as we move into the sunnier months!

Happy gin-ing – thanks for reading!

Aimee x

This Is Gin.

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…

fullsizeoutput_4012

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.

IMG_4986

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 ;-)*

IMG_4985IMG_4983IMG_4984

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.

IMG_4982

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.

IMG_4742

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

IMG_4750
L-R: The Botanist, Esker Gin, Eden Mill Botano Gin, Portobello Road Gin and Whitley Neill (note: not all of these gins are in the guide! But just a little part of my personal collection ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’d like to purchase the book, visit the This Is Guides Facebook or Instagram pages to shop the collection! At ยฃ14.99, it’s a neat little addition to your gin collection and I would totally recommend it*.

Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

Aimee x

*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.