Cocktails with… Le Tribute Gin

Le Tribute is produced by Destilierias MG, which is a family-run distillery that was founded in 1835. The distillery is located in Vilanova, a village in Catalonia around 30 miles west of Barcelona.

The gin, bottled at 43% ABV, is made by individually distilling botanicals and blending the distillates together.

The following botanicals are distilled with wheat spirit:

Juniper
Lime
Kumquat
Pink & Green Grapefruit
Tangerine
Cardamom
Sweet & Bitter Oranges

Also lemongrass, which is usually distilled with water, rather than alcohol. This is because the flavours and aromas are soluble in water; water also helps to keep the fresh character of the botanical.

Le Tribute Gin Bottle FINAL

On its own
Nose: A wide array of citrus notes: lime, lemon, orange and then the blossom of tangerine or mandarin intermingled with a touch of vanilla.
Taste: A clean and smooth spirit with a finely tuned character and delightful citrus notes: this has a complex symphony of flavours, but the citrus does not overpower the other botanical notes such as juniper, coriander or angelica. This is a superb example of how a gin can be taken in a new, contemporary direction without losing the core of what gin is about.

Le Tribute Gin with Le Tribute Tonic
So vibrant, so fresh, so citrusy – this drink is so bright and exciting that there is really no need for a garnish at all. It is as if the gin has a “built in garnish”, it is that flavoursome. A succulent and refreshing Gin & Tonic with subtle spiced notes and no cloying finish at the end. Simply sublime!

Gin & Tonic
This makes a zesty and crisp Gin & Tonic, even when paired with a more basic tonic water than the one specifically designed for the gin. This pairing is not as a good as the bespoke one, but is nonetheless very good, with lots of lingering, but refreshing citrus notes.

Le Tribute GinTonic FINAL

Martini
A beautifully fresh and zesty Martini: crisp and invigorating flavours of lemon, lime and orange, before a lightly floral note of pine blossom with a hint of plum-like jamminess at the end. Rich, intriguing and rather yummy.

Negroni
A delightful Negroni: the complex array of flavours in the gin really lifts the drink, giving it a real liveliness, whilst the sweet, floral jammy notes like those of kumquat and tangerine add a fruitiness that takes the edge off of the bitter Campari. A lovely drink to sip on a terrace before dinner.

With Cola
This is one of the best Gin & Colas that I have ever had: the bright citrus notes are brought forward, giving the drink a beautiful vibrancy, full of lively zesty notes and a crisp, clean finish. Exceptionally refreshing – a must try!

Le Tribute Tonic Bottle FINAL

The Le Tribute tonic water bottles, just as attractive as the gin bottle.

In general we don’t talk too much about packaging on here, but with Le Tribute, the beauty of the bottle has to mentioned, although it largely speaks for itself. It might sound bizarre, but it’s a real joy to pour from this bottle and have it beside you as you sip. Everything is high quality, especially the copper-look cap. What is really exciting, though, is that the quality of the spirit inside the bottle is as good as the quality of the bottle.

In Conclusion
I think that La Tribute is superb gin – one of the best I’ve tried in the last 12 months. It has a great brightness and zest; whilst being packed full of citrus is remains balanced enough to be easily discernible as a gin. All of the drinks were superb, but I think the Gin & Tonic was my favourite.

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Scottish Gin Tasting

In recent years there has been an increase in gin distilling in Scotland and, what with the patriotic nature of some of the brands, we decided to look a little closer at the Caledonian Gin.*

I was particularly interested as to whether or not there were any shared characteristics amongst the group that might not be so common in non-Scottish gins; this will be addressed at the end.The tasting was conducted at Graphic Bar in Golden Sq., Soho; a fine example of a Modern Gin Palace with a range of over 130 gins. The panel was made up of willing volunteers from The Juniper Society, which is hosted by Graphic two times a month.
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L-R: Boe, Hendricks (USA), Old Raj Blue, Edinburgh Gin, Cadenhead Classic, The Botanist, Darnley’s View, Old Raj Red, Hendricks(UK), Caorunn

The gins were tasted blind and we tried them on their own and with tonic water, with no garnish. The gins are listed in the order tasted and alcoholic strength is denoted by %ABV.

#1 Old Raj Red (46%)
This made by Cadenhead and was created in 1972. It contains 8 botanicals and then has saffron added to it. Rather than being clear, it is a light golden colour; having said that, only one member of the panel noticed this.

Nose: Juniper, citrus, slightly floral.
Taste: Strong flavours: lime, juniper, citrus and coriander. Not massively complex, but lots of flavour.
With tonic: The panel found this rather pleasant, and spicier with tonic. Fresh and refreshing, it was thought that it wouldn’t really need a garnish.

For more information on Old Raj click here.

Old Raj Red is available from The Whisky Exchange for around £23 for 70cl.

#2 Edinburgh Gin (46%)

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Nose: Juniper, floral, herbacious.
Taste: Almost all of the panel found strong flavours of nutmeg and cinnamon, as well as some creaminess and a Plymouth-like sweetness.
With Tonic: Mixed views here: some of the panel found it clean, crisp and liked its spiciness, but others found it to be a bit flat.

Edinburgh Gin is available from The Drink Shop for around £25 for 70cl..

#3 Cadenhead’s Classic (50%)
Made by the same folks as Old Raj Red and Blue.

Nose: Subdued, fruity, juniper.
Taste: A more intense taste than nose, with heavy juniper, some pepper, citrus and a hint of bitterness, rather like a classic London Dry Gin style. One of the panel described it as “rather lovely”.
With tonic: Dry and bitter, with a little sherbet sweetness. Generally the panel thought that this was a robust, no nonsense Gin & Tonic.

Cadenhead’s Classic Gin is available from The Whisky Exchange for around £25 for 70cl.

#4 Hendrick’s UK (41.4%)
Made by William Grants and containing 13 botanicals. The gin is made using a combination of distillation from both pot and Carterhead stills and is finished off with the addition of cucumber and rose essences.

Nose: Fresh, leafy, floral, cucumber rind.
Taste: Fresh, smooth and silky. Floral, in particular rose and lavender. A general, green leafy flavour; maybe cucumber? One panelist described it as “pretty”.
With tonic: Refreshing, crisp and fresh. Delicious; this was very popular with the panel.

For our full review Hendrick’s click here.

Hendrick’s UK is available from Tesco and Waitrose for around £22 for 70cl.

The Panel

#5 Caoruun (41.8 %)
Caoruun contains five Scottish Celtic botanicals; dandelion, bog myrtle, heather, coul blush apple and rowan berry.
Nose: Juniper, citrus and a little aggressive
Taste: Quite light, a musky juniper and citrus as well as some earthy notes, very clean, quite nice.
With Tonic: A soft flavour, juniper, citrus and quite smooth.
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Caorunn is available from Master of Malt for around £25 for 70cl.
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#6 Hendrick’s (44%)
This is the US version of #4, which is bottled 2.6%ABV higher than the UK version; it makes a surprising difference to the taste.
Nose: Minimal citrus, some juniper, strong floral.
Taste: Very floral, with hints of lavender, violet, rose, plus juniper and some green leaves.
With Tonic: Very tasty; well-balanced, flavourful and fresh. A real hit with the panel, although one member would prefer to drink it on its own than with tonic.

For our full review Hendrick’s click here.

#7 The Botanist (46%)
This made by Brudladdich, a Scottish whisky distillery in Islay. It contains a staggering 31 botanicals, a list of which can be found here.

Nose: Quite soft; juniper, spice, a slight soapy, floral quality.
Taste: Juniper and coriander and quite a heavy perfume quality, with different flowers and herbal notes. Quite smooth and a long finish.
With Tonic: Rather pleasant, with a good finish; balanced. This was particularly liked by one member of the panel.

For our full review of The Botanist click here.

The Botanist is available from Master of Malt for around £25 for 70cl.

#8 Boe (47%)
Boe Gin is

Nose: Floral, herbs, pine, vanilla.
Taste: Quite a complex taste; herbs, lavender, spice, cinnamon, angelica and, towards the end, a vanilla-oak note. Quite strong, alcohol-wise, but this comes through as warmth rather than burn.
With Tonic: An excellent fresh and moreish gin and tonic, this was a favourite of a few of the panel members.

Boe Gin is available from Master of Malt for around £28 for 70cl.

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#9 Old Raj Blue (55%)
The high-strength version of Old Raj Red.
Nose: A very strong nose; almost perfume-like, with juniper and flowers.
Taste: The perception of alcoholic strength continues in the flavour, as does the juniper and refined floral notes.
With Tonic: The panel thought that this Gin & Tonic had a real kick to it and that it tasted very strong; that said, most of them really enjoyed it and their drinks were quickly finished off.
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For our full review of Old Raj click here.
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Old Raj Blue is available from The Whisky Exchange for around £26 for 70cl.
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#10 Darnley’s View (40%)
Named after the husband of Mary Queen of Scots and containing six botanicals including locally sourced Elderflower this is the newest Scottish Gin on the market.
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Nose: Juniper, floral a slight mineral quality.
Taste: Very soft with a water-like smoothness and a slight warmth at the end. Juniper and rather floral with hints of rose and violets, long finish.
With Tonic: Soft, flavourful and refreshing. Rather pleasant although less intense then some of the others.

For our full review of Darnley’s View click here.

Darnley’s View is available from Royal Mile Whiskies for around £25 for 70cl.

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#11 Blackwoods Vintage 2008 (40%)
A scottish Gin using a variety of botanicals include those that grow wild in the Shetland Isles. Blackwoods also make 60% version of their gin.
Nose: Strong and complex with juniper, citrus and earthy herbal notes.
Taste: Very smooth and soft, citrus juniper and herbs as well a s touch of floral. Juicy and excellent.
With Tonic: Very refreshing and juicy as well as being full of flavour.
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Blackwoods is available from The Whisky Exchange for around £19 for 70cl.
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The Results

Each member of the panel ranked their top three gins and these choices were recorded. We then allocated points as follows: three points for a first choice, two for second, and one for third.
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The results were:
#1 Hendrick’s USA
#2 Old Raj Blue
#3 Hendrick’s UK
#4 Old Raj Red
#5 Cadenhead Classic
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Scottish Gin Characteristics

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After the tasting and some thought, I remain unconvinced as to whether there is a particular set of flavour characteristics common to Scottish Gins; some seemed to be more floral and less juniper-led then a  London Dry Gin, but then others seemed rather classic in style. The control gin (meant to stand out as a classic style) was lost amongst the rest of them.
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There was definitely a trend for the bottles to emphasise their Scottish heritage and quite a few use locally sourced or indigenous botanicals – heather and bog myrtle being quite popular – but this is no different to the sourcing techniques of other gins such as Moore’s (Australia) and Death’s Door (Wisconsin, USA).
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Many thanks to the panel, Graphic Bar and the Gin Producers of Scotland for making this article possible.

*I’ve not included Tanqueray and Gordon’s as they used to be made in London and the move to Scotland was one of economics. In addition, today there is, otherwise, nothing particularly Scottish about them.

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Gin’s Review Index

Gin reviews are a big part of SummerFuritCup.

Here is a list of the Gin’s we have reviewed so far, just click on the name to go to the page.

#

3 Corners Gin

6 O’Clock Gin (London)

A

Adler Berlin Gin (Germany)

B

Bathtub Gin (England)

Bedrock Gin (England)

Beefeater London Market (London)

Beefeater Winter (London)

Berkeley Square (England)

Blackwoods (Scotland)

Bloom (England)

Boe (Scotland)

Bombay Sapphire EAST (England)

Boord’s (USA)

Botanist Gin (Scotland)

Both’s Old Tom Gin

C

Cadenhead Classic (Scotland)

Caoruun (Scotland)

Cittadele Reserve (2008) (France)

Cork Dry Gin(Ireland)

D

Darnley’s View 

Death’s Door (USA) – Wisconsin

Dorchester Old Tom Gin

Dry Fly (USA) – Washington State

E

Edgerton Pink (London)

Edinburgh Gin (Scotland)

F

Foxdenton Gin (London)

Flora St. Gin (England)

G

Gin Mare (Spain)

Ginebra San Miguel (Philippines)

H

Hammer Gin (Norway)

Hayman’s London Dry Gin (England)

Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin (England)

Hayman’s Old Tom Gin

Hereford Gin (England)

Hoxton (France)

I

Iceberg Gin (Canada)

Ish (London)

J

Joséphine Gin (France)

Jensen’s Old Tom Gin

K

Knockeen Hills Elderflower Gin (London)

L

Larry’s Gin Pink (Finland)

Larry’s Gin Yellow Vintage (Finland)

Lebensstern Pink Gin (Germany)

Limbrey’s Gin (London)

M

Mayfair Gin (London)

Moore’s Gin (Australia)

N

Nolet’s Silver Gin

O

Old Raj Red (Scotland)

Old Raj Blue (Scotland)

OLD TOM GINS

Oliver Twist Gin (London)

P

Perivale Gin (London)

Plymstock Gin (England)

Portobello Star Gin (London)

Q

Quintessential (England)

R

Ransom “Old Tom” Gin

Rudolf Jelinek Czech Dry Gin (Czech Rep.)

S

Savier Artisan Gin

Savier Juniper Gin

Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin (London)

Seagram’s Extra Dry [Ancient Gin] (USA) –  Indiana

Seagram’s Distillers Reserve (USA) –  Indiana

Secret Treasure’s Old Tom Gin

Sipsmith Gin (London)

Sloane’s Dry Gin (Netherlands)

Studer Gin (Switzerland)

T

Tanqueray Malacca

Tanqueray Rangpur

U

Uganda Waragi (Uganda)

V

Veresk Gin (Russia)

Vikings Gin (Latvia)

W

Wray & Nephew Old Tom Gin (Jamaica)

X

Xoriguer Mahon Gin


Y

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Z

Zuidam Dry

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For more of our Gin Reviews please click here