The sub-category of gin that is Aged Gin has really matured (sorry couldn’t resist) over the last few years. I remember doing a tasting back in 2011 when all that we could pull together were about a dozen varieties and that probably represented about 80% of what was available on the planet at the time.
Today, there are more than 200 varieties on the market, including a wide range of limited editions. Distillers have also started to experiment with barrels beyond the standard ex-bourbon, with a variety of different woods and finishes being used, such as Tequila, Applejack, and Islay Scotch.
Wine casks also have a lot of potential, whether that be fortified wine, such as port, sherry, vermouth, or madeira, or not. Shortcross Gin from the Rademon Estate Distillery is aged in an ex-wine cask.
Bottled at 44% ABV, Shortcross Cask Aged Gin is aged for around 3 months (essentially until it’s ready) in ex-Bordeaux oak casks.
On its own
Nose: Buttery and luxurious with a hint of fresh lemon curd, followed by vanilla and oily, resinous juniper.
Taste: This has an excellent, silky texture and wonderful flavours of cedar mixed with vanilla oak and rich wine notes. There are then some dry juniper, citrus, and a lingering spice on the finish.
Thick and viscous with rich raisin, fruit, and floral notes. These are followed by rich, creamy vanilla and a hint of very light sour cherry. The finish is pleasant and dry; complex and delicious.
Gin & Tonic
A fruity Gin & Tonic with woody spice notes. Rich fruit notes upfront are followed by a mellow and cosy palate, before a crisp finish.
Peter Cushing [Shake 2 parts Shortcross with 1 pt Ginger Wine]
Light and revitalising. Vibrant fruity notes to start, with hints of lemon. This gradually fades into gentle, but warm notes of vanilla, ginger, and a light, but complex woodiness. The gin comes through on the finish – and builds more on the palate with each sip – with soft notes of juniper, spiced vanilla, and more woody pine notes.
Amazing – this takes on a slightly fluffy texture when shaken, with rich, sherry-like fruit notes. Mellow and well-balanced, this is a delicious cocktail.
A complex, resinous, and intense drink, this is extra bitter with a sweet lift at the end. It also has a slight acidity and lots of woody, resinous notes.
The bitters really work well alongside the Aged Gin in this cocktail, which is well-integrated and easy to drink, with a pleasant, woody softness to it.
Suze Cocktails – Equal Parts Gin, Dry vermouth and Suze
Suze Original aka The White Negroni
This has a pleasant, bitter nose, with light citrus and gentian root. These come through on the palate, too, which is bitter from the start and becomes more so over time. Light and refreshing, it is herbal with a rooty bitterness that lasts on the finish.
This version is similar, but richer in texture; there is less of a rooty bitterness, which has been replaced by a more full-bodied flavour. There is a more pronounced lemon note at the start, which, combined with the herbal notes of the drink, is reminiscent of honey & lemon lozenges. The finish is less well-defined, but still bitter and lasting.
Suze Fruits Rouges
At the beginning, there is a very tart, herbal berry flavour, with cherry notes being prominent. This smooths out to a more herbal finish; the cherry flavour remains, along with light, medicinal notes.
Shortcross Aged Gin is a shining example of how a matured gin should be done: there is an elegant interplay between the flavour of the botanicals and those of the wood. The use of wine instead of ex-bourbon casks makes for a richer, fruitier, and more engaging gin that does not suffer from some of the overly sweet Christmas spice notes of some others.
We tried this in a whole array of wonderful cocktails, but my favourite was the Old fashioned or sipping it neat from the Freezer.