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Gin Spin: October Round-up

Rogue Society Scapegrace Gin
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News, Isle of Wight Victory Gin Navy Strength
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Hendrick's Gin Edition Hotel
27/10/2016
Written by Gin Foundry

Gin Foundry takes a keen-eyed look at industry news to bring you a snapshot of the best bits the last month has had to offer.

New Launches:

‘Tis getting to be the season of gluttony and good will, and as you’d expect, brands have started pushing out their seasonal sips. Tarquin’s Gin has released the Tonquin, a vanilla & clementine twist on his Dry Gin, while over on the other side of the world the mad brains behind Four Pillars have starting selling their Christmas Pudding Gin. Up in Scotland, Eden Mill has released its ’12 Gins of Christmas’ gift set and Edinburgh Gin’s frankincense and myrhh infused Christmas Gin is back on shelves.

Sloe Gin used to be the tipple of Christmas, but as gin gets weirder, so the drinks become more experimental. Distillers are aware of their increasingly knowledgeable fan bases and understand that innovation is the way to keep people interested. They know that drinkers are willing to stray – albeit not too far – from juniper, and they’ve run with it, putting on their mad scientist hats and teasing the spirit for all its worth. It’s only going to get stranger from here. Even Sloe Gin has had a revamp with Mason’s Gin’s distilled Sloe varient emerging over the past few weeks.

It’s not all been Christmas related – the Isle of Wight Distillery launched its Navy Strength HMS Victory gin, aged with wood pulled from its namesake. The gin has been produced in partnership with the Royal Navy and is a very limited edition, with only 251 bottles produced per oak barrel. It’s entirely demonstrative of the good work co-founder Xavier Baker has done to earn trust, and not just within the industry.

Hayman’s has also added another drink to its line up with English Cordial Gin, based on a style of gin from the 1800s. This is also a limited batch, with just 1500 bottles available. We’re particularly excited to hear about this one, as it’s an old category of gin yet to be shunted into the spotlight in this current (considerably less crazy) craze. We’ve got Cask-Aged, Navy Strength, Old Toms and Genevers doing the rounds, but this proves that there’s still room for new (and new old) styles.

Last but certainly not least – New Zealand based Rogue Society Distilling has secured UK distribution via Hi-Spirits. UK gin sales are continuing to soar, so a gin billing itself as “from the bottom of the world” lands in a strong market with a strong USP. Under the name Scapegrace Gin, their 42.2% ABV gin will be sold at £39.99. Talking of the bottom of the world…

Junipalooza Melbourne:

…We teamed up with the Gin Queen, Caroline Childerley, and took our beloved gin festival, Junipalooza, Down Under for the first time last week, hosting 28 distillers and well over a thousand three hundred gin fans.

The gin boom is just hitting its stride in Australia and we’re really excited by the spirits coming out of the country. As a region it’s known for its wild creatures, wild plants and anything goes lifestyle, so we were curious to see how this would reflect in the gins, especially as whenever a new Australian gin arrives at the Gin Foundry office we clamour to diagnose lemon myrtle as an ingredient. We do it before we even crack open the packaging because it’s so likely to be a part of the line up. It’s a stereotype that entirely lived up to itself, as well, with near enough every gin we tried over the weekend harbouring either it or a Eucalipt.

That said, while many of the botanicals used would only grow in labs on this side of the world, ‘Australiana’ isn’t the theme of antipodean gins. There are no kangaroos, wallabies or cork hats; instead, there is liquid good enough to speak for itself, with no gimmicks needed. The brands created are also fully formed, three dimensional offerings – not just one trick ponies relying on regionality either.

Though very much in its infancy, the Australian market is evolving fast, with distillers keen to play around with styles and flavours. One of the key things we noted over the weekend is that there is a huge thirst for Navy Strength gin amongst consumers – one that distillers like Four Pillars, Sud Polaire and Mt. Uncle are all too keen to cater to.

London Cocktail Week

London Cocktail Week was a sea of gin this year, with brands like Martin Miller’s, Sipsmith, Porter’sEden Mill & Few holing up in the Cocktail Village in Spitalfields market to shake up their spirits into dizzyingly delicious drinks.

All the way across town, bars were serving up signature cocktails for £5, while big names, like Tanqueray, hosted their own events altogether. Diageo took over Jewel Piccadilly, transforming one of the upper floors into the Tanqueray Future Forest, in which attendees were invited to create their own infusions plucking wildly exotic fruits from the ‘forest’ and adding them, along with a healthy dose of Tanqueray 10, into a pressure chamber contraption to speed up the process.

Educating consumers in innovating ways appears to be the next step for Gin makers – take Hendrick’s for example…

Spend The Night With Hendrick’s:

Hendrick’s teamed up with the London EDITION to create their own take on the mini bar experience. The Hendrick’s Ocular Tool for Extraordinary Libation (H.O.T.E.L. to you and us), is an in-room service providing guests at the hotel with a ‘virtual in-room bartender.’ A book, found on the drinks trolley across all 12 suites at the hotel, contains a medley of liquids and a screen, from which Hendrick’s global ambassador David Piper leads a virtual cocktail class.

The concept is entirely futuristic, but it isn’t all gimmick; Hendrick’s is educating the consumer to make their own experience, and in the meantime showing consumers how easy it is to turn their liquid into a seemingly complicated cocktail. We particularly enjoyed the fact that the process was simple, but the cocktail tasted anything but. Now, if only we could afford a night in the suites to try it once more…

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Eden Mill 12 Days of Christmas
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Hendrick's Gin at the Edition Hotel