Looking for the perfect present for the gin lover in your life? We’ve got you covered.
Online drinks retailer, Master of Malt, has put together The Christmas Gin Tasting Set – a selection of five fantastic gins from top producers hailing from far-flung New Zealand to the ever-so-slightly less exotic Yorkshire.
What sets this collection apart from the more high-street versions is that it gives a blossoming gin fanatic the chance to sample some of the more unusual and harder to come by products out there (only a huge gin nerd will have tried all of these expressions before)!
As per Master of Malt’s Drinks by the Dram service, The Christmas Gin Tasting Set contains five different 30ml glass bottle of gin, sealed with wax, nestled safely in letterbox-friendly box for ease of delivery. Drams in this set all have festive-leaning botanicals that will ensure they fit perfectly into the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas goings-ons.
The sample sizes give the recipient a sneak-peak into each gin without them having to fork out for whole bottles of each – a great way to discover a new favourite G&T! There are also Tasting Note cards for each gin: one side with notes from Master of Malt, the other left blank for the would-be taste tester to add their findings.
What is in the Box?
Pickering’s Gin is distilled using a recipe found on a piece of paper that harkens back to 1947’s India. This includes botanicals such as juniper, lemon, lime, coriander, anise, angelica, cardamom, clove and fennel, that come together in a 500-litre copper pot still called Gert, in Edinburgh.
Fresh and clean juniper nose followed by gentle cardamom and clove, and high notes of bright citrus. Juniper sings out on the palate, quickly followed by a richly spiced warmth meandering to the back of the throat. Cardamom, clove and cinnamon dance with fruiter notes and make us think a pricking oranges with cloves to make Christmas decorations.
While Masons likes to keep its botanical recipe a closely-guarded secret, the team has made an exception for this pepped-up expression – rumoured to be a favourite up at the Yorkshire HQ. Along with the Harrogate spring water and usual botanical mix comes a healthy dose of delicate pink peppercorns and juicy conference pears. Only 5,000 bottles currently exist, making this an exciting new number that few have so far tried.
Wow, what an aroma! Blanched pears steeped in a fragrant spice mix with pink peppercorn at its heart. A first sip calls up juniper, liquorice and a herbaceous bouquet garni. This lingers on the tongue, eventually trailing off into a sweet yet earthy pear.
We all know Tanqueray, with Tanqueray Export Strength London Dry being a solid choice for a classic G&T. This however is a new expression. Quadruple distilled (because, why not?) with zesty Rangpur limes – a sort of orange-lime hybrid – this is a fresh and zingy gin that will be sure to cut through the rich flavours of Christmas lunch.
An incredibly fresh and juicy perfume of orange, tangerine, lime and lime leaves wafts easily off this one, followed by bay leaves and rose petals. The freshness continues and fruity citrus burst onto palate with sweet lime playing a major role.
Watch out for this one – it’s a bit boozy! Weighing in at 57% ABV (the original is 42.2%), this is a higher strength edition of the New Zealand spirit that was named “Best Gin” at the International Spirits Awards 2018. Other than the higher ABV, Scapegrace has also added tangerine peels to its usual botanical bouquet of juniper, coriander, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon peel, orange peel, orris, cinnamon, cassia, angelica, clove and liquorice.
A demure start that opens up with time; earthy tones create a rounded backdrop for nutmeg, lemon peel, angelica and coriander. Very different once sipped with flavours blasting forward. Cassia and orris bring the heft with punchy lime, ever-present juniper and supporting fennel acting as back-up. Prickly fennel and developed cardamom finish the sip off with wonderful finesse. What a gin!
You can always trust That Boutique-y Gin Company to do something a little different. This is no exception. This time, they’ve decided to shove Christmas (minus the turkey and trimmings) into a still to create the ultimate Yuletide Gin. Nutmeg, cloves and Christmas tree needles sit alongside an entire gingerbread house and the Three Wise Men’s gifts of gold (just pick the bottle up and give it a shake à la snow-globe), frankincense, myrrh. Batch One is a release of 2,200 bottles, making this a rare and wonderfully festive gem.
Christmas in a bottle! A tonne of ginger (gingerbread, ginger cake, candied ginger, ginger syrup – you name it), clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, pine leaves as soon as you open to bottle. First sip is, surprisingly for all that spice, pretty juniper heavy (before the other flavours rush in). Ginger and nutmeg are first up with boozy sultanas and raisins, and dried orange and lime peels, following suit. Gentle clove spice tingles towards the end with a resurgence of ginger and nutmeg for good measure. A beautifully festive edition.
You can purchase Master of Malt’s The Christmas Gin Tasting Set for £24.95 here.