Today is the first birthday of one of the brilliant new additions to the distilling scene in both London and the UK as a whole. East London Liquor Company is located in Bow Wharf, East London, and is a great example of an urban destination distillery. It has a lovely bar with views into the still house and a separate bottle shop that not only sells a variety of products made by the distillery, but also a wonderful selection of other spirits from around the world; not least, products from the Lost Spirits Distillery in California.
Following a recent visit, we shall be looking at their three gins and rum.
1. London Dry Gin – 40.0% ABV
This gin’s botanicals include: lemon & grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cubeb berries, and cardamom; and it’s currently available for around £21 for 70cl from Master of Malt. On its own
Nose: Creamy with hints of nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla, as well as a touch of crisp citrus.
Taste: A lovely combination of flavours: upfront there is bright, juicy citrus, before creamy, sweet spice, and ginger. The finish is more dry, with crisp juniper notes. Well-integrated and sippable.
Gin & Tonic
Classic, fresh, and crisp with a little sweet spice in the background before the fresh, crisp, dry notes of juniper and coriander come through. This is a very solid choice for a Gin & Tonic that works well with a wide selection of citrus garnishes, although my personal preference is lime.
This makes a clean Martini with good intensity of flavour. There’s a little soft spice in the middle, before a lovely, dry crispness on the finish. A citrus twist would be my recommended garnish.
Soft spiciness, with some lightly sweet woody spice, ginger and cardamom coming through before a little sweet herbal complexity from the vermouth and then a dry earth bitterness from the Campari. Solid and sound – satisfaction for any Negroni fan.
2. Premium Gin: Batch No1 – 45.0% ABV
The first of ELLC’s premium gins has botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit peel, and cubeb berries. An additionally interesting note is provided by the use of Darjeeling tea. It is currently available for around £31 for 70cl from Master of Malt.
On its own
Nose: Rich spice with a hint of nuttiness and pleasant dry, leafy notes.
Taste: Bold flavours, with a hint of dark chocolate at the start, followed by bright spice and citrus from cracked coriander and vibrant grapefruit, before some floral hints. The finish is full of piney juniper and dry angelica, with a very slight hint of menthol pepper and alpine flowers, too.
Gin & Tonic
A classic Gin & Tonic with brilliant fresh, zesty citrus and a touch of oiliness. This is a clean drink with a long, dry, crisp finish. Serve with plenty of ice and a generous wedge of ruby grapefruit. A quality tonic, like Fevertree, helps to let the citrus aromatics come through, but the gin definitely still holds its own against Schweppes.
Very floral, with plenty of citrus, too; the pink grapefruit shines through as well as plenty of coriander seed and leaf. This cocktail has a lovely fragrance that stops just short of being overpowering and closes with a light, dry menthol finish.
Good long, dry notes: piney and resinous with a gradually-building bitterness that crescendos into a long, bitter finish with notes of intense, pure, dark chocolate and a hint of strong-roasted coffee with a touch of gentian root.
3. Premium Gin: Batch No2 – 47.0% ABV
Moving onto their second premium gin, this is slightly stronger (47% ABV) and is made using: juniper berries, corriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, thyme, winter savory, fennel seeds, orris root, lavender, lemon peel, sage, and bay leaf. It’s currently available for around £32 for 70cl from Master of Malt.
On its own
Nose: Bright spice, hints of wood, floral citrus and piney lavender.
Taste: Again, this has a bold flavour with plenty of spice as well as some green anise and caraway notes; cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, too. Rich and spicy, the higher ABV of this gin brings more complex aromas and flavours. Resinous pine and lavender on the finish.
Gin & Tonic
This has lots of delightful spicy notes that add an excellent complexity to the drink. Woody hints of cassia, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla are followed by the more traditional dry and crisp notes of a Gin & Tonic, such as lemon peel and piney juniper, with just a touch of forest lavender. Lemon peel would be a great choice for your garnish or, for those who like things a little less sweet, lime.
Bold and spicy with notes of fresh leaves, rich resinous pine needles, and lavender. Oily and intense, the spirit coats the mouth and hangs around for a long time, bringing with it notes of woody spice – cassia and nutmeg – before a little menthol pepper at the end.
This cocktail has lots of buttery, earthy notes, plus a hint of spice and dark chocolate and a touch of gentian root. Thick and luscious, it has a great intensity that will appeal to the aficionados that like their Negronis to grab them and make them sit up and pay attention.
4. Demerara Rum – 40.0% ABV
Finally, we have ELLC’s rum, which is distilled in Guyana from 100% Demerara sugar in a two column, wooden coffey still, before being aged for at least 3 years in ex-bourbon casks.
On its own
Nose: A light creaminess with hints of coconut milk and vanilla, plus a touch of crushed biscuit and roasted banana.
Taste: This has a lovely, soft, satin-like texture with milky creaminess upfront and then some caramelized sugar that gradually becomes darker, although not quite reaching the deep treacle notes of some English naval rums. A soft fruitiness then comes through towards and on the finish, with more banana, pineapple, and a spot of whipped cream before a light woodiness.
Dark & Stormy
Good – the flavours of the rum come through nicely and work well with the spice and ginger of the mixer. The lime adds balance to the drink. Overall, the character of the rum stands up to the drink and creates a smooth and refreshing cooler.
Happy birthday, East London Liquor Company!