Adnam’s are well-known for their Real Ales (Broadside is a favourite of both my father and brother-in-law), but, more recently, they have ventured into the world of distilling.
I first found out about Adnam’s new products at the Crabbies Evening earlier this year; I’m glad that I’ve finally had the opportunity to spend some time with the two gins they make and appreciate them in full
.How are the gins made and how do they differ?
Adnam’s Copper House Gin uses their Barley Vodka as the spirit base, which is distilled from East Anglian Malted Barley. The Adnam’s First Rate Gin is based on their Longshore Vodka, which is distilled from a mix of three local grain: wheat, barley and oats.*
On top of having 7 botanicals in addition to those of the Copper House Gin, First Rate is also a finer cut of the three grain spirit used to make it. This is the very middle or heart of the distillation run, which contains fewer impurities. This spirit is then re-distilled with the 13 botanicals.Here are the results of my tasting experiments with Adnam’s Copper House Gin and Adnam’s First Rate.
Adnam’s Copper House
The nose is savoury, predominantly of rosemary. To taste, it is rather smooth, with notes of juniper and coriander. The flavour is straight-forward, but perhaps a little lighter than many London Drys, with a distinctive warmth at the end.
More intense and simpler than the Martini made with their First Rate Gin, this also had a slight biscuit-y nose. It was also not as smooth as the First Rate version. There were strong juniper and earthy herbal notes, as well as some floral ones and a bit of citrus. Overall, this was quite nice.
3) Gin & Tonic (*)
This tasted of cinnamon and cardamon, and was fruity and spicy; citrus comes through more after the initial flavours. Fresh and delicious; simply, excellent.
The gin really holds its own against the sweet lime cordial in this drink. It’s clean with some spice and tart lime, but my overriding thought was that it was very, very clean, almost like a cross between a Martini and Gimlet.
5) Dog’s Nose
I had not tried this before and I used Adnam’s Broadside Ale. The gin comes through in a subtle way and seems to smooth out the ale a bit. A touch of juniper is a nice touch. Quite a bracing drink, though.
6) Gin Bump
Lovely, fresh and intensely herbal; the gin works well alongside the ginger in this drink.
7) Alexander (*)
Rather delicious: the juniper and chocolate blend really well together, creating a drink that is neither too sweet, nor too rich.
8 ) Negroni (*)
Rather pleasant; this was quite sweet with a bitter finish. In fact, the bittersweet elements of the Negroni seem somewhat exaggerated, which some may really like. It seems a touch syrupy for my liking, though.
Adnam’s First Rate Gin
The nose is of juniper and light vanilla; slightly reminiscent of creamy bubblegum. To taste, it was very silky, with notes of cardamon and spice, but a little light on juniper. This was more complex than the Regular, with a stronger taste and a finish of cinnamon and liquorice.2) Martini (*)
This was flavourful, with a strong nose and a taste of vanilla. There was also some dry juniper and anise. The finish was long and of herbal and vanilla flavours. Rich and smooth, with minimal burn.3) Gin & Tonic
This drink was very strong on the cardamon and citrus. Packed full of flavour, it was very intense and pretty good.4) Gimlet (*)
Pretty good; any sweetness is well-balanced and there is some spice (including cardamon). Very fresh and crisp, with some lovely juniper notes on the finish. Again, there is some very strong cardamon notes (but these suit me nicely).
5) Dog’s Nose (*)
This adds a nose of juniper and cinnamon to the ale. In terms of taste, there was less juniper than in the version made with the regular gin and there was also a lot more cardamon. This spice seems to go rather well alongside the ale, adding another dimension to it.
6) Gin Bump (*)
This tasted of cardamon, vanilla and ginger and was light, creamy and a touch florid. This drink actually tastes weaker, in terms of alcohol, then the version made with the regular gin, despite the First Rate being 8%ABV stronger.
Creamy and more sweet than the version made with the regular gin. The juniper was lost, but was replaced by cardamon and cinnamon. I thought that this was more like a pudding and richer than many Alexanders; sadly, this also means that it was a bit sickly.
8 ) Negroni
Quite spicy and pretty herbal, and, in terms of alcohol, pretty strong, too. The middle is quite sweet and the finish is bitter with a healthy dose of juniper. Overall, this was a bit sweeter than most Negronis, but this is sure to appeal to some palettes.
*As far as I know, this is the only gin to be even partly based on oat spirit.
(*) Denotes my favourite of the two gins to have in this cocktail.