Boutique-y Gin Company
That Boutique-y Gin Company is teaming up with distillery’s large(ish) and small to create limited edition collaboration gins – special runs of their spirits with a new, one-off twist.
Sister to That Boutique-y Whisky Company, which was launched by Master of Malt a couple of years ago with a view to shaking up the Whisky industry to make it more fun, more collaborative, less stuffy and a bit… well… cooler, TBGC aims to bring that appeal to gin, releasing independent bottlings that will give pure-of-heart geeks something new, exclusive and collectable to get excited about, and to give emerging brands further exposure.
Each of the gins comes in a beautiful bottle, featuring quirky, hand-drawn illustrations by the sublimely talented Grace J. Ward. Each aims to tell the story of the distillery involved. We were more than excited to feast ourselves on the gins that have already emerged from this project, and as you’ll see from our tasting notes that excitement paid off.
McQueen Orange Gin to taste…
This has a warming aroma, with a definitive, dry chocolate orange nose that presents itself with confidence. A name can be a general concept, sometimes, but here the aroma really reinforces the chocolate idea. To taste, oily orange leads the charge, followed by big juniper notes and a white pepper-like finish.
Overall, it does what it says on the tin, although if you think chocolate orange gin sounds like an abhorrently disgusting idea, think again; this just works. We’d suggest a sprig of mint as a G&T garnish, although it’s quite tempting to just smash a ball of Terry’s into the glass…
Shortcross to taste…
Breathe deep and get the sense of orchards after a rainy morning. Redolent fruit hints at what’s to come, but it isn’t aggressive – just sweet. There’s a huge damson explosion to taste, and a sense of ripe, plump, juicy and overburdened fruit trees. The juniper lags way behind, but its tasty nonetheless. As the fruit quells it goes towards blackberry coulis and vanilla, then is pushed aside by a quick spice nip.
There’s quite the journey to this impressible transportive That Boutique-y Gin Company collaboration, which takes the drinker on a whimsical tour around the Rademon estate. We suggest serving with a blueberry and a sprig of rosemary.
Hernö to taste…
This is floral but juniper led, evoking images of pine trees in bloom.. There’s a rosy hue to the nose which delivers that singularly distinct floral note, conjuring memories of the formal entryways into English rose gardens.
To taste, you can get forget the formalities! There’s a quick, casual meeting with citrus before juniper kicks the door down, dominating the palate with gusto. A delightful sweetness follows and then, as if in slow motion, it all floats gently down into a bed of roses, as if you were jumping on a petal covered waterbed. This is our favourite so far, so we say ditch the tonic and get this on ice.
Greensand Ridge to taste…
This is very reminiscent of the original gin from Greensand, with element of their Raspberry Geist thrown in for good measure. Were the two just combine here? It sure feels like it (although we’re sure this isn’t the case). There’s huge raspberry on the nose, making it fruity and bright, but with that comes a slightly vegetal hit – as though you were smelling them in a greenhouse.
Raspberry booms to taste, with great depth and a rich sweetness. A small touch of warming hear appears towards the finish (cinnamon/cassia-like in nature), which helps ground the flavours, but which don’t linger. The use of cobnuts holds the Boutique-y Gin Company effort back from being overly fruity and brings a viscous mouthfeel, although the raspberry does rise again on the finish. It’s a really interesting gin, but we’d need to try it long to see if those subtler flavours emerge. Garnish with a handful of juniper, to bring it back to earth.
East London Liquor Company to taste…
The starring botanical, Douglas fir, appears shy, but there is a certain sense of oily pine that isn’t just down to our old faithful friend, juniper. It’s buttery on the palate, but the 46% ABV prevents it from being too gentle, and orange and lemon bring a zing to the finish.
According to the notes, one of the starring botanicals, miyagawa is something of a grapefruit/clementine hybrid, which fits the bill here, as the citrus is impossible to pinpoint. It’s probably the least interesting of the range, but we definitely need to give it a Martini road test before we judge it fully.
Cotswold’s Barrel Aged to taste…
An oak nose is joined by a light air of lemon merengue, a smell that translates directly to the tongue, which has discernibly citric barrel notes. The oak isn’t overbearing, nor does it deliver the typically vanillin-heavy, charred taste of many American aged gins. Instead, it’s lemony and light in nature.
A more classic juniper, coriander and cinnamon undercurrent lends structure to the spirit, followed by a fruitiness derived from the two casks – (one ex-bourbon, one ex-wine). There’s a dry, light finish furnished with a delicate balance of juniper and oak. This Boutique-y Gin Company expression is an interesting one, that – with a little coaxing – reveals a lot of subtleties.
FEW to taste…
Linden (lime flower) on a corn base brings a soothing first sniff, but the lime soon takes over to bring a huge, heady vegetal feel. Lime strikes the tongue first, but when combined with juniper it takes on a raw rhubarb taste. As odd as it is to say, that sweet creamy base and citrus combination results in a taste that’s a strange fusion of custard cream biscuits and hard boiled sweets.
The texture is incredibly viscous, somewhat belying the spirit’s 46% ABV, and while sweetness dominates the fore, there’s enough coriander seed to bring it back to earth, resulting in a earthy finish. Serve with a twist of lemon in a G&T, or a sprig of parsley to accentuate the gin’s underlying herbal qualities.
Blackwater to taste…
Soft, stewed dessert apples and juniper prick at the nose, creating a rich, inviting aroma. Sweet quince and delicate floral notes (rosehip?) join forces with pine and a nice rounded citrus, with everything in it’s right place until the last, when juniper snakes forward and latches onto the tongue.
The aim was to create a monastic garden, and while we’re yet to visit a nunnery, they must be on the right track, as there’s a clear sense of gardens in bloom. This one will be popular.
Cherry Gin to taste…
Cherry ice cream and glacé fruits on the nose. There’s a hint of almonds from the stones as well as an underlying sense of orange. To taste, sharp citrus gets dominated by the tartness of sour cherries and a developing dry juniper, which grows in confidence as the sip goes on. The cherries try to linger on, but they’re out of the equation long before the juniper, cloves and spice really start upping the ante to see who’s the last standing. They’re a competitive trio, though, and they’re all in it for the long hall. The flavours linger with the dogged perseverance of a chihuahua on viagra. Could be at it hours. Maybe days. This was served with Fever-Tree’s Madagascan Cola at the launch and having tried the combo since then, we can confirm it’s dizzyingly good.
Bathtub – Pedro Ximenez Cask Aged to taste…
Candy and rich treacle flood the nose, resulting in an scent that is almost impossible not to dive right into. The oak is clear from the second it hits your lips, though it supplies a nutty, dried fruit taste. Christmas cake flavours combine with treacle and juniper fill to fill the cheeks, and while those are three things no-one should ever get sick of, it’s actually slightly less alluring than it sounds…
That said, this is definitley one of the more interesting aged gins on the market today and we imagine that in a Martinez this would be right up there with the best. Whatever your preferred tipple, you’ll need something other than tonic as a mixer – ginger ale, perhaps? Overall, while the nose is something truly spectacular, the taste doesn’t quite live up to it. It’s good, but it’s not magic.
So there you have it… all of the Boutique-y Gin Company Gins to date. Some are good, some less successful, some are interesting concepts, while others are a touch uninspired. Launch a dozen or so gins and that’s what you get – a huge array of flavours, ideas and outcomes. As a collective, the range is diverse enough to contain something that’ll appeal to everyone.
Has it shaken up the industry? No, but that’s an impossible task; the Gin world is a snow globe on heat, forever in a state of flux and landing on new versions of normal everyday.
The good news for Gin fans is that there is so much more to come form the team, with more bottlings due to be released over the next year (almost on a monthly basis as far as we can make out). More gins from great producers is obviously something to get excited about, but we can’t help wondering if That Boutique-y Gin Company is going to have anywhere near the effect it’s Whisky equivalent did.
The team behind it said: “we kept hearing the same story from many of our favourite distillers about partly or even fully developed liquids they hadn’t been able to release. As consumers, these gins not being available to enjoy made us sad – so we set out to fix it.”
We don’t really buy that, though, and in some ways the copy paste sentiment from when their sister Whisky line was launched all those years ago is, at best, a little lazy. Gin, after all, is an industry that needs no introduction to radicalisation; one-off runs are common, so too are limited editions. Even independent bottlings of one of a kind gins from different distillers are routinely happening via several subscription services already. Gin is a spirit with a limited rulebook and hugely vast interpretation – each one is different, and there are many who are finding outlets for their unique spirits.
What That Boutique-y Gin Company has done is found an excuse to create more cool and crazy ideas and bring them to market. That’s more than enough justification for people to want to find out more. It can’t change a scene that’s already on the march, but it does fit in seamlessly and is a true testament to experimentation. We look forward to seeing the collection expand and can’t wait to see what arrives next.
For more information about Boutique-y Gin Company visit the website: www.thatboutiqueygincompany.com
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