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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

Flying First Class…

Thoroughly enjoyed my gin flights at Chapter One in Inverurie!

We went for a pre-wedding anniversary dinner with my mum and dad while they were over visiting from the States. I had seen Chapter One share their new gin flights on Instagram and Facebook so I knew I had to go along!

It’s a really lovely restaurant – tastefully decorated in grey and white hues… very Instagram friendly! We were straight away provided with the gin flight menu – I was definitely more interested in that than the actual dinner menu! ๐Ÿ™‚


So you choose what ‘class’ to travel in – I obviously chose first class! #allin

So I had the choice of Esker, House of Elrick, Teasmith, Gin Mare, Monkey 47 and Isle of Harris.

Mama went Business Class and had the choice of Rock Rose, Porters, Brockmans, the Botanist, Pickerings and Orkney Mikkelmas.

First up, business class took off…


Left to right, Pickerings garnished with lemon, Porter’s server with grapefruit and Rock Rose with orange and rosemary.

Apart from anything, how beautifully are these served?!

Of these, the Pickerings was the winner – the lemon garnish paired so well and it was absolutely delicious. Very refreshing. 

Next departure…


Left to right; Isle of Harris with orange, Monkey 47 with lime and then House of a Elrick garnished with a slice of lime also.

They’re all served with your choice of Fever Tree tonic – we went for Indian.

The House of Elrick gin is one I hadn’t tried before. It was very easy drinking, nothing particularly over powering in the flavour so very drinkable!

The Monkey 47 on the other hand does have quite a strong flavour, it’s juniper notes are predominante so the fresh garnish of lime compliments it well!

Isle of Harris… YUM! I think I have tried this one before, but I’d forgotten how good it is! Garnished with the orange was just scrumptious. I definitely savoured this one throughout my dinner!

And for food… Look at this feta, mint and tomato starter!


It was absolutely delicious, I could easily have eaten that as my main course too… But then I would have missed out on this steak…


A medium-rare fillet steak, served with wholegrain mustard new potatoes and salad with pickled onions. Highly yummy ๐Ÿ™‚

Chapter One is a nice, intimate restaurant in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire that’s tastefully decorated and hosted by friendly staff.

Gin flighting is so much fun – it’s the perfect excuse to try different gins and garnishes that you might not have had before.

At ยฃ12 for business class or ยฃ14 for first class, you’re getting great value, high quality drinks and it’s all a bit of fun too ๐Ÿ™‚

Where will you fly off to?!

Aimee x

Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin | Launch Event

I was very, very excited to be invited to the Aberdeen launch of Jindea, a single estate tea gin (“a tea gin?!” you ask… all shall be revealed!)

The event took place at The Tippling House, a very on-trend,  subterranean late night bar in Aberdeen city centre.

Being my first ‘blogger event’, I was a little nervous about what to expect, who would be there and what I would talk about (how do you introduce yourself as a gin blogger without sounding like a bit of an alcoholic? “Hi! I write about my hobby… gin.” Hmm…). But on arrival, I was immediately handed a B-E-A-UTIFUL heavy, crystal highball glass packed with ice, lime and Jindea gin with a bottle of Fever Tree tonic. There was no need to be nervous – I was right at home ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Seriously though, how beautiful is this glass? I really want some for home (I found similar ones here, here and here).

The bar was pretty busy already and amongst them I recognised a couple of faces so had some people to talk to. After a gin, the lovely staff came round with beautiful looking cocktails  called the “West Bengal Punch”, garnished with edible flowers – very pretty and very easy drinking, like an alcoholic iced tea… #yummy

[ West Bengal Punch ]

30ML Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin
20ML Crรจme de Peche
30ML Cold-Brew Darjeeling Tea
15ML Lemon Juice
1 TSP Caster Sugar
Shake all ingredients with ice. In an old-fashioned tumbler fine-strain over a large block of cut ice and serve with a spring of mint and slice of fresh peach.

More cocktail recipes here.

Then we got to learn all about Jindea, the gin itself, where it comes from and who’s behind the brand. I absolutely love learning the back stories of the different gins coming on the market, so I hope you do too!

Jindea is a single estate, first flush Darjeeling tea gin. I’m quite proud that I can now tell you what that actually means (everyday is a school day, and all that!). If you read my blog post ‘what makes gin, ‘gin’?’, you’ll now know that gin is categorised by its dominant juniper flavour. Jindea is no different in that regard, but where it sets itself apart is that the second main botanical is Darjeeling tea from the Goomtee estate in India (that’s where the label ‘single estate’ comes from – all the tea is sourced and exported from that one estate).

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Photo credit: Jindea

Darjeeling is often referred to as the ‘champagne of tea’ and it makes up less than 1% of India’s total tea production. It is superior in quality and is highly sought after, making it a premium contribution to the Jindea flavour. I also learned at the event that there are four ‘flushes’ which identify the season in which the tea is picked. First flush tea is the spring picking (March / April), enabling the creation of a gentle black tea – very desirable and, again, a valuable trait in the development of Jindea.

The gin also features other citrus-forward botanicals, including lemon and grapefruit, as well as coriander, ginger, fennel, cardamon, cinnamon and angelica. The spirit is produced in France in a traditional alembic copper still, which looks a little like this…

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Jindea is a London dry gin – I think I’ll do a separate post on the different types of gin, but in short, a gin can only be called a London dry gin if all of the flavour is developed in the distillation process. In other words, you can’t add any essence or flavours after the distillation is complete (it actually has nothing to do with being made in London!).

So, how do you go about creating a gin like this – how on Earth do you think to source tea from India and distill it in France? And how do you know what other flavours to add? Well, Adrian Gomes (owner of The Tippling House, Rye & Soda and events company 10 Dollar Shake), told us at the launch how Jindea came about.

“Jindea is the product of collaboration between three people with significant experience in the hospitality and drinks industry.”

As well as Adrian, the other key contributors to the development of this unique gin are Matthew Dakers (a tea sommelier, one of around only 20 in the UK!) and Jack Rackham (third generation family-owned  and London-based drinks importer).

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Photo credit: Jindea

The trio have worked together, drawing on their own experiences, connections and knowledge, to develop a vibrant, citrus-forward gin.

Adrian explained that this was their third launch event in the U.K. They have already seen great success with the gin now being stocked in Harvey Nichols and the Savoy hotel (pretty impressive). Although the guys have clear connections to Aberdeen through their personal and professional relationships, Adrian explains that they don’t claim this to be a ‘local’ gin; they’re proud to introduce the international nature of the gin to the buoyant market in the UK, and what an impression they have made…

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Jindea has just received the silver (outstanding) award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition – congratulations to the team! In celebration of this achievement (and if you’re local to Aberdeen), you can buy a bottle of Jindea at the Rye & Soda bottle shop with a 10% discount until Sunday, 30th July – get in there quick! ๐Ÿ™‚

All in all, I had a great time at the event learning all about the gin (and tea, apparently!) and the brains behind the operation. I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle for myself from one of their retailers (full list here if you’re interested).

Have you tried it yet? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you for reading!

Aimee x

 

What makes gin, ‘gin’?

The craft gin market has really taken off… There are new gins popping up all the time and it made me wonder how they can all be so successful. Aren’t they just the same thing?

If we take a step back for a second, what makes gin, ‘gin’?

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I don’t know about you, but other than knowing that it involves distilling something, that juniper is involved and that it is a clear liquid, I didn’t really know much else behind it. (Actually, that’s a lie. I also knew that it tasted really, really good. Maybe that’s why I didn’t bother learning anything more about it. I mean, it tastes really good…)

Continue reading “What makes gin, ‘gin’?”