Exciting Developments in the World of Aged Gin

Negroni and Bitters Cask aged Gins

There have been a lot of recent releases and developments in the world of aged/yellow/amber gin and today we feature two more exciting barrel-aged gins. Gone are the days when gin was simply aged in ex-bourbon or wine casks; Herno have launched their Juniper Cask gin last year and today’s featured spirits are just as innovative.

Based on the Master of Malt’s Bathtub Gin, or rather the company’s in-house eccentric Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s bathtub creation, the first gin is aged for 3 months in a 50 litre barrel that had previously held a Negroni cocktail.

Negroni Aged Bathtub Gin

On its own
Colour: Rose gold
Nose: Juniper and strong, herbal, woody notes.
Taste: This is a spicy gin with a little sweetness and the bold bitterness that you’d expect from a Negroni. It’s a mellow flavour overall, but the character of the Negroni really comes through from the barrel. Sipping-wise, it is very balanced and intriguing.

Gin & Tonic
There’s a lot going on in this drink and it is almost reminiscent of a pink Gin & Tonic, however some how it seems a bit too sweet without a garnish. However, with a slice of ruby or pink grapefruit, the drinks transforms, achieves balance, and is a lot more palatable. I’d stick to drinking this gin in other ways, though.

Martini
A very intense and flavourful Martini, with elements that you would expect from a Negoni (namely, herbal bitterness and spice) mingling with the more traditional Martini flavours. This reminds me somewhat of a sweet Martini and would be excellent as an aperitif.

Negroni
A very smooth and slightly sweet Negroni, with layers and layers of intense flavour. There is citrus sweetness, followed by a more spicy sweetness, as well as hints of oak and vanilla. There is then a dry, herbal bitterness. Despite the intensity of flavour, the bitterness is a matured, mellow flavour. Unlike anything else you’ll try.

So a gin aged in a Negroni Barrel is pretty unique right? Well, what about one aged in a barrel that used to hold aromatic bitters? Well, the folks at Master of Malt, again led by the good Professor, have gone there and the result is their Bathtub Bitters-Aged Gin.

Batshit Mental Bitters-aged Bathtub Gin (43.3% ABV)

This time, Master of Malt took a batch of their Bathtub Gin and aged it for three months in a 20 liter cask that had previously held cask-aged bitters.

Bitters Aged Bathtub Gin

Own
Color: Warm gold
Nose: Lots of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and cassia.
Taste: Sweetness upfront, then plenty of confectionery cinnamon and cassia, reminiscent of Christmas spiced cookies and pumpkin pie. Finally, there is a more intense bitterness and the juniper comes through. Extremely intense in flavour, this has plenty of mixing potential.

Gin & Tonic
A rather spicy Gin & Tonic, packed with flavour. But unlike some spicy gins, the sweetness is balanced by dry and bitter flavours, which stops it from tasting like a Christmas pudding. I particularly like how the gentian-like bitterness from the spirit pairs well with the quinine of the tonic water on the finish.

Martini
This is a more spicy Martini than most, with unusual confectionery notes, lots of vanilla, raisin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, like a simnel cake or Christmas fruit slice. This certainly reveals the softer side of the spirit, but, nonetheless, it’s rather good and quite smooth. More of an after-dinner than than a pre-dinner drink.

Negroni
Exceptionally intense and flavoursome; beyond the aromatic spices that you may expect (nutmeg, cinnamon, cassia, clove), there are some deep, bitter, earthy herbal notes that strike a chord between the gin and the Campari. This bold drink is excellent; definitely one for the Negroni fan who thinks that they’ve seen it all. Just don’t have it before a tasting – the flavour lingers on and on and on!

In Conclusion
I really like both gins, but, for me, the Negroni-cask just eeks out the lead; it is superb on its own, from the freezer, or even mixed with extra Campari and vermouth for a sort of turbo Negroni. For me, the Bitters-aged Gin has great digestif properties and I particularly liked the Martini and Negroni.