Juniper Society Update – Hayman’s 1850 Reserve

It is rare that I provide an update following a Juniper Society, but yesterday’s event, featuring a preview of Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin, was a special night.

James Hayman took us through the Hayman family history and its connection to James Borough (the creator of Beefeater Gin and James’ Great-Great-Grandfather), as well as some interesting information on Old Tom, something that had not been covered in such depth at the Juniper Society yet.

But then there was the main event…

Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin

A bottle of Hayman's 1850 Reserve Gin, Batch 00-00-1, Bottle #23

A bottle of Hayman's 1850 Reserve Gin, Batch 00-00-1, Bottle #23

Hayman’s 1850 Reserve  has been designed as a reflection of the sort of gin that would have been served in London’s Gin Palaces in1850. Until a latter 19th century act of parliament, gin was sold in casks and so it is thought that this storage and transit would have imparted some flavour on the gin.*

Therefore, Hayman’s have taken their recipe, consisting of 9 “classic”** gin botanicals with a mix heavy on juniper and coriander/citrus and then rested (not aged) the gin for 3-4 weeks in Scotch whisky barrels.

What type of barrel exactly? From where, it all depends. The thinking is that, in 1850, gin producers couldn’t guarantee a particular type of barrel, so Hayman’s have taken a similar approach.

The result is a liquid of very pale straw yellow, with an intensity of flavour similar to something like Old Raj gin (maybe even lighter).

I found the nose to be sweet, with juniper and some floral-like elements; it was quite complex and relatively intense.

The flavour was certainly that of gin: juniper and coriander with some angelica and citrus, but, most noticeably, it was light and smooth with a soft, silky texture. With some experimentation of my own with oak, my guess would be that it is this that “rounds the corners” off the gin, softening up a bit. From the reactions of those sitting around me, it was a hit.

The tasting finished off with James giving people a chance to taste some of the other Hayman’s products: Old Tom, London Dry, Sloe Gin and the 1840 Hayman’s Gin Liqueur.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable and interactive session; there were lots of interested questions by all sorts of people and it was great to see some new folks as well as the “Juniper Society family”, which I’d like to proudly call myself a member of.

As for the Hayman’s 1850 reserve, both myself and Mrs. B really liked and I look forward to trying some more of it in cocktails. It will hopefully be released in the UK in a few months.

Thanks to Sarah, Adam Smithson esq. and the Graphic Bar team for another great Juniper Society, and to James Hayman and Hayman’s Gin.

Next up at the Juniper Society:  Broker’s Gin on Monday 20th June 2011 – 19:00 at Graphic Bar.

* This is not really talking about full aging in the same way that Cittadelle Reserve does.

** Basically this means they don’t have any unique or signature botanicals such as: poppy, oak bark, bog myrtle, cape gooseberry, coconut, green tea etc.