Change is good! I like change – it can be scary, but I like it… so when I was informed that Hayman’s 1850 would be no longer I panicked, only for a second though as I was also informed that it would be replaced with Hayman’s Family Reserve… Panic over.
Hayman’s, a family business (which I can relate to completely) have links back to the gin-palace era of the 1800’s and with that, have created a gin true to the gin-palace style. Hayman’s family reserve uses classic botanicals and is rested in whisky barrels much like gin would have been in the 1800’s (gin was not sold in bottles until the 1860’s).
On the nose it’s extremely fresh, there’s lots of juniper and coriander that create a eucalyptus freshness which is also driven by licorice.
Tasting straight this gin is very smooth. There are very pleasant fresh citrus notes followed by a round malty sweetness, then a hit of juniper – angelica ginny dryness that gives way again to a crisp, bright cooling note, altogether very pleasing on the palate.
With tonic the sweet tones open out – there is a subtle, full, round vanilla note, probably from the whiskey barrel aging which flows nicely into a soft maltiness, this is quickly followed with a citrus zing and again finishes quite dry with very delicate pepper notes – though we did have a debate about this, I think it’s pepper whilst others feel it is a hearty gin dry note.
This is a very well-balanced gin, and delightfully rounded, full and creamy in the mouth. I’m tempted to garnish this with an olive (that would be our beautiful, buttery Sicilian olive) and a lemon twist. This will show off its roundness and complement the soft notes whilst balancing the citrus and working with the vanilla maltiness. Or, when the season is in, blood orange, or even a slice of ripe sweet plum (roll on summer).
Suffice to say, if this is the kind of gin Victorian gin-palace goers were drinking, no wonder it was called ‘Cream of the valley’.