Posts Tagged Gin

Chinnery Gin – with Osmanthus & Oolong


With Osmanthus & Oolong


A bottle of this new release arrived on my doorstep this morning. Being short of gin in the house, we tried it this evening.

It certainly has juniper aplenty, but with a massive floral scent that also permeates the palate. I think I get the oolong, I certainly get the exotic floral notes on nose and palate, and a hit of orange peel, with heady decadent fruits, and a lingering dry finish. Great on its own, and quite the mouthful with the excellent Poacher’s Wild Irish Tonic Water. My gin expert heartily approved.

Reading online, I learn that Osmanthus is said to improve complexion and rid the body of excess nitric oxide. In China it is often mixed with green tea leaves to make a tea. I’m not sure my complexion improved, but this is a very tasty gin. I liked the bottle design that includes a Georgian townhouse with oriental images through the windows. For reasons not made clear, Chinnery is distilled in both Dublin and Cork. In case you are wondering, George Chinnery was an 18th century Dublin artist who traveled the world, ending his days in Macau. The bottle design with Georgian Dublin townhouse

Available for €55 from Mitchell & Son, chq and Sandycove,; the Celtic Whiskey Shop, Dawson St.,; Molloys Liquor Stores; James Fox, Grafton St.,


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Seasonal Irish Gin

The Irish Times was, in some small way, responsible for Ireland’s first seasonal gin. In the 2014, the brains behind Glendalough Irish Whiskey decided to make a gin tasting of summer but had no idea how to go about it. Then they read an article by Emma Somers in this paper about Wicklow forager Geraldine Kavanagh. They contacted Kavanagh who provided local ingredients for Glendalough Summer Botanical Gin. She now works full-time for them.

We took a stroll through the Wicklow countryside together. Kavanagh, a fount of knowledge, showed me most of the wild shoots, flowers and plants used in Glendalough Wild Spring Botanical Gin, as well as other edible wild plants. “We are tying to capture the essence of Wicklow; something different and local,” she says. This year they are increasing production from 3,000 bottles to cope with a burgeoning demand.

Not to be outdone, Dingle Distillery has released its Four Seasons Gin, containing four small 200ml bottles, each representing a season. Unlike Glendalough, they are all available at the same time, providing a very interesting tasting.

We worked through all four in the Dingle Whiskey Bar on Nassau Street, Dublin. The spring gin is the lightest and most floral, the summer still delicate but more textured. The autumn, many people’s favourite, has more earthy spice with red fruits, and the winter gin is spicier and most full-bodied of all.

Peter Mulryan of Blackwater Distillery in Cappoquin, Waterford, had something of an artistic struggle with his seasonal gin. “We wanted to take one key local botanical to represent each season, and decided on Wexford strawberries for our first. The problem with strawberries is you get mostly water,” says Mulryan. “So we had to use massive amounts of fresh fruit. It is an elusive flavour but we think we have got it right. We are now macerating the distilled gin in strawberries.”

He plans to release Wexford Strawberry Gin in June. In the meantime you can try his Juniper Cask Gin. It is fascinating, with sweet woody juniper aromas.

Shortcross Gin from Co Down does not make a seasonal gin, but forages wild clover to use alongside apples and elderberries for its standard gin.

As to the vexed question of tonic, Dingle served its with Fever-Tree, a choice Gary McLoughlin of Glendalough Distillery agrees with. However, he did suggest trying Thomas Henry, a German tonic made without quinine. I prefer to sip mine lightly chilled with a little water, and enjoy the unique flavours of these delectable gins.

Image 5Dingle Four Seasons Gins.

A selection of four very different gins, so no tasting notes.

Stockists; Widely available in good off-licences.

GdL_SPRING_For_BRIGHTGlendalough Wild Spring Botanical Gin

Wonderfully aromatic, light and refreshing. Plenty of juniper, with spring flowers and zesty citrus.

Stockists: Celtic Whiskey; James Fox; Mitchell & Sons; Redmond’s and other specialist off-licences.

Image 7Blackwater No.5 London Dry Gin

My current favourite, a delicious mix of citrus, juniper and earthy spices.

Stockists: Widely available in good off-licences.

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A Sipping Gin – Burrough’s Reserve

IMG_4366Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve Oak Rested Gin

I like the phrase ‘oak-rested’. It seems more civilised than oak-aged, and indicates that this small batch distillation Burrough’s gin spent weeks rather than years in oak barrels. The barriques concerned were from Bordeaux, and spent some time ageing the vermouth Lillet after Bordeaux wine. Last Friday afternoon, I met up with master distiller Desmond Payne to try out the gin. It is a sipping gin according to Desmond, to be drunk without tonic water or any other mixer. I shared a few sips with Payne (a master distiller who has been making gin for almost fifty years) in the bar of the Merrion Hotel. A very enjoyable way to spend Friday afternoon.

He had always been opposed to ageing gin in casks. ‘Gin is fresh and clean and new’ he said. But then he tried a barrel-aged Negroni in Portland, Oregon and saw possibilities. ‘Its what you age it in that counts’ says Desmond, ‘logic would seem to indicate used bourbon casks, but they impart a strong flavour’. Instead he headed to Bordeaux and to Lillet, who age their reserve vermouth in used Bordeaux barriques. He used second or third fill casks, and aged the gin for four to five weeks. They used an historic small still in Chelsea, which ‘had been gathering dust there’, according to Desmond. He sees it as a digestif to be sipped after dinner or with desserts or even cheese. He has been working with former Blur member, journalist and cheesemaker Alex James to find matches. This is the second edition of Burrough’s Reserve. Edition 2 Batch 01 has strong notes of juniper (‘it is a gin, it must have juniper’ says Desmond) orange peel, lemon, and subtle sweet vanilla oak that comes though on the finish. It lingers for hours; I can still taste it twenty minutes later. Limited quantities will sell for around €60, although most will go to upmarket bars.

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