Cocktails with… Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin

Nolet’s Silver Gin, I was very excited to try this gin and so was thrilled when it arrived in the post.

Something that I thought was interesting was that Nolet describes their Silver Gin as being “Created for a new generation of Gin drinkers”. It also talks of reinventing much-loved classic cocktails. This suggests that the target audience may not be the stalwart of Gordon’s and Tonic drinkers, but a more contemporary clientelle; this seems like a similar Modus Operandi to Hoxton Gin.

Nolet's Silver Dry Gin

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Having said this, in terms of brand style, they couldn’t be more different: Hoxton has a funky, minimalist edge, whereas the Nolet bottle oozes sophistication and is, frankly, one of the best examples of gin packaging that I have seen; it is probably my favourite.

Nolet is made at the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Holland. You may recognise the name; they also make Ketel One Vodka.

Although I’m not sure of the exact botanical selection in Nolet’s gin, it must contain juniper and I assume that it also contains coriander. In addition, there are three botanicals that they make well-known:

1) Peach
2) Raspberry
3) Turkish Rose
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What I do know about Nolet Silver is that each botanical is distilled separately and then they are blended to a perfect balance; this is similar to how Sacred, Sloane’s and Moore’s make their gin. As a method, it seems to becoming increasingly popular. But this method is not yet fully recognised as accepted practice in the creation of London Dry Gin.
Own
nose: floral nose, violet and rose and a fruity jamminess; pale yellow colour
taste: juniper and then rose Turkish Delight, followed by citrus and then a dryer, floral citrus on the finish. This is bottled at 47.6%ABV and although the gin is smooth you can taste it’s higher proof.

Gin & Tonic
the pale yellow of the gin comes through to the gin and tonic. Juniper and rose on the nose. Taste initially of juniper and sweet floral notes, similar to Parma Violets or Refreshers sweets. A little crisp, fresh floral and tasty.

Martini
Cool and crisp, but the rose/Turkish Delight is very strong. There’s some dry juniper at the end. Overall, this is quite a clean Martini and is pleasant to drink, but you just can’t escape the rose. But then, maybe you wouldn’t want to?

Negroni
Lovely stuff, the juniper and bitter-sweet herbal notes is over-layed by the light sweet rose hints; Turkish delight and some jamminess. This a complex drink, deep, flavourful and quite excellent.

Alexander
I suspected that this would work well and it really does. Sophisticated and delicate, with an interesting layer of complexity: juniper, jam and dainty rose. Really very good.

Collins
Fresh and pleasant, like a gin lemonade with a hint of rose. It is somewhat reminiscent of the Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade. Tasty, refreshing and a great drink to welcome guests to a party or  event with.

Pink Gin
Different, with strong, spicy, herbal and floral flavours. There’s also juniper and rose with a  bitter twist; maybe more importantly, it tastes quite nice.

Gin Buck
Rather delicious: this sweet, complex gin mixes well with the fizzy ginger and there is a long, rose/Turkish Delight finish.

Bramble
Tasty and tart, the rose floral elements and the jammy raspberry go well with the citrus and the blackberry liqueur. A new twist on an old favourite, but a very good one; Mrs B. loved it.

Aviation
Dry and crisp with tart citrus and the medley of rose, Creme Yvette and Maarshino works really well in the drink. Depsite the fragrant nature of the gin the drink is not too floral and very tasty.

Gin Old Fashioned
The flavours of the gin are accentuated in this cocktail: rose and jammy fruit come through with a   hint of sweetness and a touch of extra herbal complexity from the bitters.

Fruit Cup
The floral aspects of the gin go well with the ginger wine and the herbal red vermouth stops the drink from becoming too sweet. This is quite a light drink and is unusually floral for a fruit cup, but, as a fruit cup should be, is still rather refreshing.

In Conclusion
I was very impressed with Nolet’s Silver and it is clearly made with care; from the label to the spirit to the fantastic bottle. To me, it is a stirling example of a modern gin. It manages to adjust the predominant flavours whilst keeping the spirit’s history in mind. However, this certainly isn’t a juniper-led gin of the classic London Dry persuasion and so fans of this traditional style of gin may be disappointed.

Nolet’s is a contemporary gin, with new flavours and is a twist on a  traditional juniper spirit.

Our favourites were: Bramble, Alexander, Gin Buck and Negroni.

Cocktails with… Gin Mare

If you’ve read our post on our Vodka Tonic Tasting, you’ll be familiar with Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic, a tonic water flavoured with Mediterranean botanicals; well, now there is a Mediterranean Gin: Gin Mare (pronounced “Mar-ray”).

Gin Mare is bottled at 42.7% ABV and contains 10 botanicals:

Juniper
Coriander
Cardamom
Lemon
Orange
Mandarin

Rosemary
Basil
Thyme
Arbequina Olive

The gin is made in the Costa Dorada, south of Barcelona. Each of the botanicals are distilled separately* and the distillates are then blended together. Before distillation, each botanical is steeped for 36 hours.

Gin Mare also make a Mediterranean Tonic Water called 1724, named after the fact that the real quinine for the mixer is collected at 1,724 meters above sea level. This is a similar concept to 6 O’clock, who also make both a gin and a tonic water, but differs in that, although the tonic water had to go well with Gin Mare, it was designed with wider market appeal, for use with other gins.

Own
Nose: There are savoury notes: pepper, rosemary and thyme, as well as a little saltiness and a hint of green tomatoes.
Taste: This is an intense and herbal gin, with hints of rosemary and thyme. Juniper is a secondary flavour, but is still there. It reminds me a little of mint and herbal crisps. Unusual, but tasty.

Gin & Tonic
As I mentioned, the people that make Gin Mare also make a Mediterranean Tonic Water called 1724, so for the tasting I decided to try two G&Ts: one with 1724 and one with Fevertree tonic water.

i) 1724
Thyme and rosemary really come through; this was a herbally intense drink. That said, it still has the juniper crispness and a touch of dryness, so it is like a classic Gin & Tonic, but with more flavour than usual; in particular, some anise on the finish.

ii) Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic
Herbal and light; sweeter and less bitter than the same drink made with 1724. A good drink, but notably less flavoursome and intense than the 1724 G&T.

In this tasting, I preferred the 1724 tonic water in a Gin Mare Gin & Tonic.

Martini

A good way to enjoy Gin Mare and fully appreciate its characteristics. It was very herbal and the predominant flavour was a combination of thyme, fennel and anise. Some savoury aspects and would be nice garnished with an olive.

Alexander
I wanted to try this drink, because I thought it would make an unusual version. It was very nice, with some herbal on the finish, but it was less intense than I had hoped for.

Gimlet
I suspected that lime cordial would match up well with the herbal notes of the Mare, and it did. It is less bitter and sharp than a usual Gimlet due to a more subdued juniper flavour, but it still has some crispness and is rather good.

Negroni
Three rather herbal ingredients (Gin Mare, Vermouth & Campari) come together in the Negroni, so this drink was a bit over the top and unbalanced. It is also very bitter; for me, too bitter.

Gin Buck
I found the sweet elements of the gin’s herbs, when combined with that of ginger ale, meant that this drink was rather sickly.

Fruit Cup
A good cocktail to use Gin Mare in; distinctively herbal. There are notes of thyme, rosemary and a touch of anise. This is a very good way to make a pleasant and intense, but refreshing Fruit Cup.

1724 and Sloe Gin
As I’m also looking at 1724 Tonic Water, it seemed like a good idea to try it in another drink, so I mixed with Sloe Gin. I used Marks & Spencer Sloe Gin (made by Boudier), one of the best-selling Sloe Gins in the UK. This drink was fresh, fruity and jammy with herbal notes; very tasty indeed.

In Conclusion
Gin Mare is not a usual or classic London-Dry-style Gin, but it is still evidently a gin. I enjoyed the Mediterranean style flavours and herbal notes as they added a unique characteristic to drinks, although it didn’t work with everything. Of all of the gins released in the last year, this is the one that I have heard people talk about the most (in a positive way, anyway), so they are certainly making an impact in London.

Cocktail highlights: Martini, Fruit Cup and Gin & Tonic

As for 1724 Tonic Water, this is one of the best tonic waters that I’ve tried (at last count this number over 40); I was a little surprised! It is certainly in my Top Five.

* This is a similar gin-production method to that of Sacred, Sloane’s & Moore’s.

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Cocktails with… Sloane’s Dry Gin

For today’s World of Gin review we shall nip across to the Netherlands and look at Sloanes’ Gin. Some of you may be familiar with the name as it recently was awarded “Best Un-aged White Spirit” and “Best Gin” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2011.

Sloane’s is described as a Dry Gin and is a little different to many other gins that are produced. Each of the ten botanicals are distilled individually* and then are later blended together to give a better balance to the overall flavour. In addition, the citrus botanicals (lemon & orange) are left to macerate in the spirit for 24 hours before being distilled; it is suggested that this increases the crispness and freshness of the flavour. Because of this method of the production, it cannot be called “London Dry”, but, as long as it tastes good, I don’t think that that really matters.

Sloane’s Gin is distilled and bottled by Toorank distillers in the Netherlands and is 40% ABV.
Sloane’s Dry Gin contains 9 botanicals:

Juniper
Angelica
Cardamon Pods
Coriander Seeds
Iris (Orris) Root
Lemon
Liquorice Root
Orange
Vanilla Pod

What’s in a name?
There is a bit of a history behind the name on the bottle: it is named after Sir Henry Sloane, the noted scientist from the 17th and 18th century. It is the very same man that Sloane Square in London is named after.
Sir Henry had a very large collection of botanicals that he had collected on his travels, which were later donated to the British and Natural History Museums. This was inspiration to Sloane’s master distiller.
Toorank suggest that it likely that Sir Henry introduced the UK to many of the staple gin botanicals of the day, such as angelica, cardamon, orris root, coriander and citrus fruit and so, inadvertently, he made a significant contribution to gin.

On with the tasting…

#1) Own:
Nose: Strong juniper, some spice and a touch of creamy vanilla. Reminds me somewhat of Plymouth Gin.
Taste: Soft at the start, before moving to a strong juniper flavour with some coriander and angelica. There is certainly some citrus there, but it is not overwhelming. This is a classic style of gin with a subtle sweet twist.

#2) Gin & Tonic
Flavourful elements of citrus and cardamon, really fresh, refreshing and very tasty. No garnish need with this one.

#3) Martini
Clean and very crisp. Juniper and some herbal elements are the predominant flavours. This cocktail works well with a lemon twist. Rather delicious – an excellent Martini.

#4) Tom Collins
Quite cooling; the juniper comes through well and it’s a good thirst quencher.

#5) Gimlet
Rather delicate, with notes of juniper and cardamon. It’s not too sweet or too tart, and is quite light. Delicious.

#6) Negroni
Intense and a touch on the bitter side. Although the gin comes through, it is a little overtaken by the Campari.

#7) Bramble
It’s been a while since I’ve had a Bramble, but this was a great way to return to this modern classic. All of the flavours are in balance and the whole is certainly greater than the sum of the parts.

#8) Gin Bump
Rather nice; there’s a little muskiness form the juniper, but the gin is proudly displayed. Nice and sweet towards the end, with a dry finish.

#9) Milano
A pretty classic Milano: not breath-taking, but sound.

#10) Fruit Cup
Some citrus; very similar to Pimm’s, actually. Although the flavour of the gin isn’t prominent, this is a drink that I’d certainly recommend.

In Conclusion
I really enjoyed Sloane’s Gin and, at less than £30 for a bottle, I think it’s well worth seeking out. The awards it has won are testament to the fact that the classic gin style is often the best. Cocktail highlights were the Gin & Tonic, Martini and Gimlet.

Sloane’s Dry Gin is available for £26.95 for 70cl from Gerry’s.

*This is certainly rare, but there are two other producers, that I know of, that use the same technique: Sacred of London and Moore’s of Australia.