This post celebrates the 250th gin reviewed on Summer Fruit Cup.
For years – indeed, centuries – London has been the world capital of gin and despite some distilleries moving out or closing in the second half of the 20th century, 2013 saw a revival with at least 3 new distilleries launching; 2014 looks like it will follow suit. One such distillery, the first of 2014, is based at the Talented Mr. Fox bar, above One Leicester Street in Soho and their first product is Moonshine Kid’s Dog’s Nose Gin.
This produced using a three litre rotovap that is located on the right-hand side of the bar and, when I visited recently, was whizzing away enthusiastically. They also use this to make their in-house distillates (but more about those later).
The botanicals are macerated in spirit and then redistilled to make the gin. Despite the small scale of production, Distilling Chief Matt Whiley has resisted the temptation to make a gin concentrate and then dilute it with more spirit and then water. Instead, he uses the one-shot method: once the gin comes of the still (at around 96% ABV), all that is added is enough water to bring it down to its bottling strength of 43% ABV.
But what about the gin?
Scholars of gin drinks may be familiar with the once popular “Dog’s Nose”, a drink that is, essentially, a pint of ale with a tot of gin in it. Matt and his colleagues initially explored with this idea with some London brewers, before finally settling on making a gin with hops.
Dog’s Nose Gin is made using six botanicals: four that are classic to gin making:
In addition to this are two types of hops, which add some citrus notes more often provided by lemon and orange. Specifically, they are:
Columbus Hops – dual purpose hops bringin both bitterness and aroma to beer
Chinook Hops – popular in American and India Pale Ales
The base spirit of the gin is neutral grain and, as previously noted, it is bottled at 43% ABV.
On its own
Nose: Juniper & coriander, then some chocolatey, herbal and citrus notes from the hops.
Taste: Dry to start, then some slightly sweeter notes, followed by a little dry citrus. Next comes some slightly sweeter notes: chocolate and coffee, as well as a hint of hops. The finish is dry and slightly spicy. This is certainly an interesting and complex gin and, whilst there is a lot going on, the flavours work well together, smoothly moving from note to note.
Gin & Tonic
Rich and fruity with some lucious fruity notes coming through followed by a hint of malt, the citrus aspects of the hops really works well with the tonic. Bright and refreshing and really rather good.
This cocktail has a lovely thickness to it and the array of flavours that the hops add sing out: namely, citrus and chocolate and coffee. A good underlying dryness, characteristic of gin, is experienced throughout, with notes of juniper, coriander and angelica on the finish. Rather pleasantly, the vermouth is also given a chance to shine, so make sure your vermouth is fresh and of good quality (Dolin, Noilly Prat or the new La Quintinye) to do this drink justice.
An impressive Negroni with a fine depth of flavour and some lovely citrus and herbal notes coming from the hops. This is a really good way to enjoy the gin and, if you like Negrons,i then this is surely for you. I also got the chance to try the in-house Negroni variation at the Talented Mr. Fox – Lady & the Tramp.
Lady & the Tramp
This was a mix of Dog’s Nose Gin, Suze and Cider Vermouth
Despite my love of Campari, I am not a big fan, usually, of Suze, but this could turn me onto it. The Suze adds a notable level of bitterness, distinctively through its gentian flavours. The bold flavours of the gin join in well with the in-house cider vermouth (a mix of vermouth, herbs and vermouth), the latter adding that lovely, dry twang you associate with a good, dry scrumpy.
I’ve tried a few gins that use hops, but I think Dog’s Nose utilises them to the greatest effect. Those who aren’t lovers of beer needn’t worry, as this is certainly more gin than Eau de Biere, and the gin was good in all of the drinks that I tried, with the Negroni and Negroni variation being head and shoulders above the rest.
Dog’s Nose Gin is available for around £34 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange.