Aged Gin Update from Master of Malt

Those chaps over at Master of Malt have been at it again with their experimentation, this time in the world of aged gins. If you are looking for a spirit that will please someone who is both a gin and a whisky lover, then definitely check out their range of aged gins. Here are some highlights from 2015.

lightly-peated-cask-aged-bathtub-gin-batshit-mental-ideasLightly Peated Cask Aged (43.1% ABV)

Subtly aged in an ex-Ardbeg Islay whisky cask.

Colour: Champagne gold
Nose: Light, with some deeper herbal notes and a little sticky fruitiness, followed by wisps of wood smoke.
Taste: A full texture that fills the mouth, whilst not being too thick. Strong, herbaceous botanical notes come through, before a light, woody sweetness. The dry wood smoke notes build on the finish and linger for minutes after.

rum-aged-bathtub-gin-10-months-batshit-mental-ideas-ginRum Aged Bathtub Gin (10 Months) (43.1% ABV)

Bathtub gin aged for 10 months in an ex-rum cask.

Colour: Pale golden yellow
Nose: Sweet molasses and allspice, somewhat reminiscent of Pimento Dram. There are also the sweet, herbaceous notes that evoke memories of old-time curiosity cola and some hints of Jamaican Ginger Cake, too.
Taste: Sweet and spice, with a little stickiness upfront, followed by woody spice – cassia, cinnamon, and nutmeg – before some bitter, herbal treacle notes and a woody and dry botanical finish.

manhattan-aged-bathtub-gin-aged-9-months-batshit-mental-ideasManhattan Aged Bathtub Gin (9 Months) (42.5% ABV)

Bathtub gin aged for 9 month in a cask that was previously use to barrel-aged a Manhattan cocktail.

Colour: Burnt ochre
Nose: Deep orange marmalade and woody, herbal notes of aromatic bitters, then some light, woody resin and bread notes with just a touch of wormwood.
Taste: Citrus notes of burnt orange upfront, before the dry, mellow, woody breadiness of rye, before a burst of spice and a botanical sweetness. This is followed by juniper and angelica notes, and an exceptionally long and lightly sweet finish of floral rose and turkish delight.

whisky-bitters-cask-aged-bathtub-gin-batch-2Whisky Bitters Cask Aged Bathtub Gin Batch #2 (43.3% ABV)

Bathtub gin aged in an ex-whisky bitters cask.

Colour: Light Chardonnay
Nose: Quite light, with some vanilla spice, moving towards hints of gentian root and the aromatics of cocktail bitters.
Taste: This has mellow aged gin notes to start, followed by a bitter, earthy woodiness, along with a touch of a maple-like sweetness. There is dry juniper on the finish.

very-old-tom-gin-batshit-mental-ideasVery Old Tom  (47.5% ABV)

Based on a blend of both aged and unaged spirits, cold distilled botanicals are then added before a maceration of juniper berries and a light sweetening. The spirit is finished in a 50 litre casks for 5 months.

Botanicals include:

Fresh Lemon Peel
Fresh Grapefruit Peel
Fresh Lime Peel
Fresh Orange Peel
Fresh clementine Peel
Earl Grey Tea

Colour: Burnt flame orange
Nose: This has a deep complexity, with the notes revealing themselves over time. There are some orange a woody notes to start, followed by a honeyed sweetness and notes of orange blossom, cherry, and other stone fruit. Finally, there’s a dryer, woody nuttiness.
Taste: A lovely texture: thick, like maple syrup. Like on the nose, rich, sweet orange and marmalade notes come forward, before some intense botanical notes: fresh juniper, woody angelica, and then citrus spice. The finish is similar to that of a Highland malt, with burnt citrus and nutty pecan notes. This is very complex and should appeal to whisky drinkers.

Cocktails with… Gold 999.9 Gin

Continuing the theme of gins available in the Spanish market and with Advent starting tomorrow, it seemed that a gin with a suitable colour scheme would be appropriate.

GOLD 999

Gin 999.9 is made in Alsace, France. It is based on a recipe from the 20th Century and is produced in a still made from gold. Gold is a better thermal conductor than copper, so that makes some sense, but it is also much softer, not to mention far more expensive.

The gin is bottled at 40.0% ABV and is made using botanicals including: juniper, coriander, angelica, cassia, vanilla, tangerine, poppy, and violet.

On its own
Nose: Bright orange: hints of peel, orange oil, and orange blossom. There’s a little tanginess, too, plus some sweetness and a little mustiness.
Taste: On the palate, there is a more balanced sweetness and plenty of orange notes, along with some chocolate. It really is packed full of citrus, though, with notes of lemon, orange, and clementine. It is reminiscent of the orange gins of old, with additional hints of dry juniper and angelica on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Strong flavours of menthol pepper come through, with hints of bitterness. This is very strong and may be too much for some, but the oiliness and intense bitterness may appeal to Negroni fans.

Sweet and incredibly citrusy, with bold flavours of tangy orange. This reminds me of Martinis made with vintage examples of Orange Gin.

This isn’t a terrible drink, but – bizarrely, given the bitterness of the Gin & Tonic – it is one of the sweetness Negronis that I have ever had. It’s flavour profile is dominated by citrus, reminding me a tad of Negroni sorbet.

In Conclusion
Those looking for a Classic London Dry Gin should look elsewhere; this gin, whilst a nice product, is rather sweet and heavy on the citrus, reminding me of a dry triple sec.

That said it did work well in the Martini.

Cocktails with… Indogin

On a recent trip to Fibar-Valladolid in central Spain, I was surprised at how many of the gins available were still being made in the UK and imported to Spain. The Craft Distilling movement has started in the country, but it is still to see the boom that Britain currently enjoys.

Indogin Bottle.jpg

Indogin is an example of one of these imported gins. Bottled at 40% ABV, it is made using botanicals that include: juniper, coriander, angelica, orange, lemon, liquorice, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and thyme. Here’s what it tasted like.

On its own
Nose: Herbaceous, with a little salinity. It’s quite powerful, before creamy citrus and spicy coriander take over.
Taste: A gentle start, with a little malty coriander and a little creaminess. This is followed by the sweet spice of cardamom and ginger, as well as a sweetness and some liquorice. The finish is of a mix of citrus and dry angelica.

Gin & Tonic
Indogin makes a very typical and classic Gin & Tonic: clean and crisp, with a little herbaceous leafiness and spice. The finish is pleasant and full of citrus notes.

Clean and crisp, with light lemon citrus notes. This is a cocktail that is elegant and very easy to sip. A textbook Martini. Brilliant!

A bold Negroni with quite a lot of bitterness, but the gin really powers through; it is not overwhelmed by the vermouth or the Campari. Another very classic cocktail, and one which would be great before a meal or, lengthened with soda water, a cooler to sip on a hot day.

In Conclusion
Indogin is a solid, classic gin that is both pleasant to sip neat and works well in a variety of classic gin cocktails. My favourite drink was the Martini.

Drinks by the Dram Advent Calendars from Master of Malt

December is just a little more than a week away and many kids (young and old) are looking forward to their chocolate advent calendars (I always liked the Mars bar ones, as you got three “fun-size” Mars bars in it in addition to the usual chocolate shapes). The last few years have seen an increase in connoiseur calendars; that is, high-end advent calendars. These are calendars that not only allow people to celebrate Advent / the countdown to Christmas, but also allow them to sample a smorgasbord of their chosen interest; I’ve seen calendars full of tea, coffee, fine chocolate, perfume, and all manner of goodies.

Of course, we at SummerFruitCup are most interested in the boozy ones. What started as the tie-up between Gin Foundry’s Ginvent and Master of Malt’s Drink by the Dram has blossomed into a full array of offerings, including Master of Malt’s new “Pick your own Advent Calendar”.

Whilst a new gin, whisky, or other spirit each day is pretty exciting, the sheer range of what you get to try is superb, too: from small producers to large ones, spirits from around the world, new to old, and maybe even an advent calendar exclusive!

There is also a growing interactive factor on-line, with both consumers and industry folks being encouraged to engage in online conversations about each day’s drams. As such, we were kindly sent some advent calendars from the folks at Master of Malt.


Ginvent Calendar 2015


24 x 30ml drams of delicious juniper libations from Europe, the US, and Australia, covering a range of different styles and one that is exclusive to the Ginvent calendar.

There will be daily tasting tweets led by the Gin Foundry (around 19:00 GMT) and, of course, we (@summerfruitcup) will be joining in, too. You can also check out the daily animated openings of each door on DT’s Instagram account.


Whisky Advent Calendar 2015


24 x 30ml drams of whisky, including a 50 Year Old Scotch, a blended whisky that was awarded “World’s Best”, and an award winning Japanese whisky.

There will be daily tasting tweets (around 18:00 GMT) by Mrs B (@saraandthebear) and you can check out her (crafty) daily Instagrams here.

There’s still time to get your own calendar from Master of Malt; here’s a list of their full range:

Whisky Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Ginvent Calendar RRP £114.95

Botanical Ginvent Calendar RRP £124.95

Bourbon Advent Calendar RRP £139.95

Rum Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Cognac Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Tequila Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Mezcal Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Armagnac Advent Calendar RRP £149.95

Absinthe Advent Calendar RRP £134.95

Vodka Advent Calendar RRP £99.95

Naga Chilli Vodka Escalation Calendar RRP £99.95

Cocktails with… Carpenter’s Gin

Carpenter’s Gin is made in Homerton, East London by distiller Edward Rogers who was also an accomplished carpenter with a particular talent for crafting furniture. His gin is made in small batches: the equivalent of eighty 700ml bottles at a time.

1 Carpenters Gin

The gin is bottled at 40.0% ABV and is made using botanicals including:

Almond Powder
American Oak Chips

On its own
Nose: A creamy nose with hints of cardamom, vanilla, and spice.
Taste: Very smooth upfront, with luscious, zesty citrus and coriander notes, before some broader spice notes and a lovely, dry finish.

Gin & Tonic
An excellent Gin & Tonic, very classic in style. It is dry and refreshing with a lovely citrus brightness and a mellow smoothness. A shining example of a succulent Gin & Tonic.

Pleasant to sip; very soft and smooth. There is a good interplay between lemon and lime citrus and warm spice notes. A delicious cocktail that is elegant and easy to sip.

Carpenter’s Gin makes a really rich Negroni with a silky texture. It has a pleasant, woody-vanilla mellowness that is followed by a clean, herbal, and bitter finish. The lingering richness at the end is accompanied by a touch of fragrant spice. A complex and evolving drink.

In Conclusion
I enjoyed Carpenter’s Gin and it’s great to see a craftsman moving from one medium to another. I think that the use of oak chips as a botanical is a nice nod to Edward’s past and it does make a difference, especially in the Negroni, which was my favourite drink.

Ccoktails with… Mews London Dry Gin

Last month saw the third Craft Distilling Expo in London. A precursor to this was the Expo’s Gin of the Year Competition, which is open to all new, European craft gins that have been produced in the past year.

1 Mews Gin Final

One such gin was Mews London Dry Gin, which is made by Mews English Distillers and bottled at 37.5% ABV. It is made by vapour distillation using 11 botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root, lemon, orange, orris, cassia, cubeb, liquorice, lavender, and pink peppercorns.

On its own
Nose: Relatively light, with some creamy chocolate and coriander.
Taste: Lovely texture: soft and silky, with a milky, vanilla creaminess and a dry finish. Very easy to sip.

Gin & Tonic
This is a straight-forward Gin & Tonic: it is relatively light, but accessible and refreshing with a little sweet spice. It would be well-matched with a pink grapefruit garnish.

Good, clean, soft, and smooth, with rich vanilla and chocolate notes, accompanied by light juniper and citrus.

With the standard equal mix of ingredients this is a good cocktail, but it improves considerably with a little more gin, which increases the dry juniper notes and provides for a more balanced drink.

In Conclusion
Mews Gin is a great example of the light, but nuanced botanical flavour that a distiller can achieve using vapour infusion. My favourite drink of those that I tried was the gin on its own, served over ice.

City of London Distillery – Square Mile Gin

Today’s review is of a gin that was released last year by the City of London Distillery (a review of their new gin, Christopher Wren, will feature in November). Square Mile Gin is bottled at 47.3% ABV and is made using botanicals that include: juniper, coriander, angelica, orris, lemon, orange, and liquorice, amongst others.

1 Square Mile COLD Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Clean, classic, and straight-forward. This has a lovely balance of citrus, angelica, and spice, with good, strong juniper, too.
Taste: A lovely, smooth spirit with a full mouthfeel. Initially, there are flavours of warm spice and little pepper, before notes of coriander and citrus, and a dry finish of juniper and angelica. Such a soft, but flavourful spirit – superb.

Gin & Tonic
Clean and crisp, with fresh juniper, citrus, and then a little dry bitterness towards the end, which works well with the tonic. A classic and delicious Gin Tonic.

Another excellent drink. Made using the Diamond Method*, the cocktail has a delightful viscosity, which adds to the silky nature of the drink and produces a truly textbook classic Martini.

This cocktail sees a superb integration between all of the ingredients, resulting in lovely, strong juniper notes and hints of spice. The latter fit in well with the vermouth, whereas the gin’s citrus notes complement the bitterness of the Campari.

In Conclusion
I think Square Mile is a textbook export/Martini strength gin. The bold juniper and bright citrus make it a great choice for long and short drinks alike. All of the drinks that I tried were excellent, but I especially enjoyed the Martini.