With an impressive showing at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirit Competition (where it won best un-aged spirit) Sloane’s Gin marked its arrival onto the scene with a bang.
Both the name and contents for Sloane’s Gin were inspired by the exploits of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). Sir Hans Sloane was a Royal Physician, botanist, collector, lifelong benefactor and landlord of the Physic Garden Chelsea, one of the UK’s foremost institutions for growing and experimenting in the use of plants and plant extracts for medicinal purposes.
The personal botanical collection he amassed during his lifetime was bequeathed to the nation upon his death and later formed the foundation of the British and Natural History Museum collections. More can be read about Sir Hans HERE
Given the dates of Sir Hans’ life, the scale and high profile nature of his botanical collection, as well as his work (seeking out uses for botanical extracts); it is possible to suggest that Sir Hans would have influenced various distillers and, all-be-it unwittingly, maybe inspired some to use various new ingredients in their gins (we must stress that this can’t be categorically proven, nor are their actual records of Sir Hans being actively involved in the gin game…). To bring a short history lesson full circle, this is why the Toorank master distiller thought it fitting to call his gin – Sloane’s – in honour of Sir Hans Sloane’s significant contribution to botany.
Made by blending ten separately distilled botanical distillates, Sloane’s Gin manages to combine elements of citrus, juniper and an array of other supporting herbs and spices into a balanced and well-mannered gin. At 40% ABV, Sloane’s Gin mixes surprisingly well in a G&T and offers plenty of the traditional gin flavours while not being too diluted or sharp; a testament to the master distiller’s ability to combine all the botanicals in just the right quantities.
With only the ‘heart’ of the distillate being used to extract the purest flavour, juniper, angelica, cassia bark, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, iris root, lemon, orange, liquorice root and vanilla pod are all individually distilled. They are then carefully blended together one at a time, creating subtle layers of flavour. The blended gin is left to settle for a minimum of one month to allow the elements to marry together and to create a consistent gin.
With clear notes of juniper and slight citrus, Sloane’s Gin is beautifully balanced and the result can easily be described as a premium dry gin. Interestingly, for the citrus distillates, fresh fruits rather than dried peels are left to macerate and are steeped in spirit overnight prior to the distillation for a crisper, fresher citrus flavour.
Distilling each of the botanicals separately is a little unusual although not unique, with Leopold’s Gin, Sacred Gin, and Moore’s Vintage Dry Gin being a few others who do the same. In this case it has resulted in Sloane’s Gin being a creamy, lighter style gin – juniper centered but not dominant and with a slight sweetness and a touch of citrus. Traditionalists, perhaps put off by the distillation methods should give it a try, as they would be pleasantly surprised by this modern classic.
The bottle itself is well done; tapered in two directions, it’s reminiscent of a classic Gordon’s Export from a distance, whilst being so much more than that once it’s in your hands. The botanical illustrations are a nice touch and bring life to the individually distilled stance.
Sloanes’s Gin is distilled in Holland by Toorank Distilleries, one of the fastest growing Dutch Distilleries currently operating. Toorank was founded by Metaxa in 1978 and sold by a management buyout in 1990. With sales forces in The Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as modern manufacturing facilities in both Poland and The Netherlands, they now employ over 100 people.
Its biggest selling point is that it’s a good gin and the distillery team has enough know-how to leverage it into markets across the world. Only time will tell on how successfully they do that. The gin’s profile suddenly received a huge and unexpected boost when it won best un-aged spirit at the San Francisco Awards, which must have brought forward many things planned for 2012 (including the launch itself) and meant that the brand team had to play catch-up to supply press, trade and other suppliers with materials they require way ahead of their own initially forecasted plans. After what must have been a frantic period, they seem have come out the other side fighting and have earned their place amongst back bars and cabinets alike.
Suffice it to say, Sloane’s Gin has a lot of potential and we would love to see more of it; with Sainsbury’s listing it at £25.00 it’s certainly very competitive with other premium gins and taste wise, it’s more than just comparable too. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on what could become a frequently seen gin in the UK trade.
For more information about Sloanes Gin, visit their website: www.sloanes-gin.com
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