Cocktails with Hayman’s 1850

 

Back in June 2011 we were privileged enough to try a new product from Hayman’s: a new Yellow Gin; that is a gin that is rested in oak barrels before bottling. Hayman’s use the term “rested” instead of aged; I think is for clarity, as the gin only sits in oak barrels (mostly old Scotch ones) for 3-4 weeks, and some people might say it’s too short a time for “aging”.

As with many of their other products, Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin has historical significance behind it. Prior to the bottling act, introduced by William Gladstone in 1861, all gin was sold by either the barrel or the cask. The bottling act meant that it could be sold in single bottles and, thus, began the start of the off-trade market.

When stored, transported and sold in wooden casks, the gin would, unintentionally, take on some of the flavour of the wood. Hayman’s 1850 is an attempt to recreate such a gin; the kind you would have found in the great London Gin Palaces of the middle of the 19th Century.


1.  On its own

Nose: Initially, cream, vanilla, oak and grain. Light and creamy, followed by juniper and citrus.
Taste: Very smooth, with initial notes of juniper, followed by coriander and then some light creaminess. A pleasant sweetness appeared at the end.

2.  Gin & Tonic

Very nice; fresh and crisp juniper notes with a mellow ending. Very enjoyable and balanced.

3.  Martinez

Quite intense at the start, but the flavours softened and the profile lifts after a while, making a very pleasant drink. Sweet citrus from the bitters came in right at the end.

4.  Dry Martini

Rather classic, being crisp and clean with prominent juniper and citrus notes; the main difference from other examples of a “classic” Martini is that the end is a little more rounded. Very nice; full of creamy vanilla and oak flavours.

5.  Old Tom Cocktail

Very pleasant; dry gin notes alongside vanilla. The oak notes go well with the sugar and pastis. A crisp and tasty drink.

6.  Gin Old Fashioned

Silky and complex; keeps opening up. There was a definitive vanilla, woody sweetness, reminiscent of whisky Old Fashioneds, which went well with the sugar and sweet spice of the bitters. Juniper, coriander, citrus, and some earthy notes appear towards the end. Very good, indeed; superb!

7.  Gin Sour

These often work well at showcasing Gins, but not here; the lemon juice and sugar seem to take away from the Gin; I’d rather sip it on its own.

8.  Hot Toddy

Quite nice; a more subtle and laid back drink. There are strong notes of juniper and pine, but it is nonetheless warming and comforting.

9.  Negroni

Very nice. Smooth and silky. This tasted polished and well-rounded, with a pleasant vanilla oak character to it, more so towards the finish. The flavours of the Gin – especially the juniper – came through well.

10. Hayman’s 1850 – Frozen

This had a pleasant viscosity to it and the slight tint of colour found in the Gin at room temperature seemed more emphasised. The oak notes were also more prominent, with a little vanilla coming through at the end. Overall, this was simply a way to drink the Gin and experience its flavours more intensely.

11.  Bramble

Great! Full of flavour: sweet, sour and fruity, with a hint of vanilla. The Gin came through well. Very tasty.

12.  Milano

Fresh. Rich and bracing, but very tasty. The herbal notes of the Galliano and the oak from the Gin go together very well.

13. Clover Club

Soft, silky and smooth. The sweet pomegranate and berry notes of the Grenadine went well with the lighter oak and vanilla notes of the Gin. A very nice drink, indeed, with distinctive notes of lemon and juniper.

14. Shady Tree

A nice cooler, this has some sweet vanilla notes, as well as a citrus bite and a bit of fire. This is a good drink, but maybe not the best to harness the full potential of this Gin.

15. Pink Gin

This cocktail was quite pleasant, although it didn’t work as well as I had expected; the bitters seem to obscure the flavour of the Gin slightly.

16. Alexander

Superb; really smooth and creamy, but with a decent amount of dryness, too, courtesy of the Gin. This makes it less sickly than most Alexanders, and one for those that usually find this drink too rich.

17. Gimlet

Another smooth cocktail with some sharper lime notes at the end. I have always got some vanilla from lime and, as a result, this works remarkably well alongside the vanilla oak of the Gin.

18. Collins

Very pleasant, fresh and invigorating. The Gin came through well but is not overpowering. Very good indeed.

19. White Lady

Pretty good; in particular, very, very smooth and less tart and sharp than most. Quite a “quiet” drink, which I think would be good to relax with. The Gin comes through, but the drink remains silky soft.

20. Aviation

Very pleasant, although much softer and less crisp than many Aviations. There is a little tartness from the lemon, but, overall, this a very mellow drink.

21. Singapore Sling

This was a very nice drink, although seemingly less sweet than most Singapore Slings that I have had. That said, the uniqueness of the Gin is very well-hidden, so it is perhaps not the best way to enjoy the Gin.

In Conclusion

To me, this was a great first Gin to review for 2012. I really like the innovation shown by the Hayman’s family in making it and I look forward to seeing the yellow gin market gain popularity. This is a really tasty drink, both on its own and also in a Martini. It made a plethora of other great  drinks, too, but, if you want to fully appreciate the flavour, I would most highly recommend those two drinks.

 

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