Gin Review: Mary-le-bone 50.2% abv

Marylebone is a stone’s throw away from us here are the London Gin Club, so we were most interested to try the new local gin, Mary-le-bone small batch gin. We were even more intrigued to learn that the company is located on the site of the 18th century Marylebone Pleasure Gardens. We knew there were pleasure gardens in Vauxhall, but did not know there were pleasure gardens so near to us, apparently visited by Dick Turpin no less!

Mary-le-bone gin is made from 13 botanicals, some inspired by the gardens including of lime flower, lemon balm, chamomile, there is also grapefruit in the mix and it’s bottled at a robust 50.2% abv. The brains behind this inspired venture is Johnny Neill, who also created Whitley Neill Gin so we were pretty sure it would be a good gin, but how good?

The nose is clean and bright. There is an apple freshness from the chamomile, with lemon sherbet citrus and hints of coriander.

Tasted neat with ice Marylebone starts with a lavender floral and citrus hit followed by piney juniper and warming spice, this then rounds out to a mellow sweetness (we think liquorice). Overall the finish is long and has the lovely bitter dryness of a tasty gin. Very well balanced for 50% abv.

With tonic (Fever Tree regular) the gin opens out with a pleasing light camomile, hay freshness and lemon top notes. This is followed by a bite of grapefruit and a juniper kick that gives way to a pleasant warming dry bitterness which rounds out in a long linger with a hint of liquorice sweetness.

Mary-le-bone gin really does have an excellent profile, it starts with delicate garden floral notes but has real body and ends dry with a pleasant bitterness balanced with a hint of round sweetness. This is a rewarding gin that, and after you have savoured a mouthful beckons another sip. We are sure the 18th century tipplers in the pleasure gardens would wholeheartedly approve.

Mary-le-bone makes a great gin and tonic, which we garnish with a blackberry, you can find it on our latest tasting menus.

Summer Tasting Menus

Our hugely popular tasting menus are a great way to explore the world of gin or to try gins you may not have come across before. The selection of gins on Tasting Menu #1 and #2 change each season and we have a fantastic batch of new gins for you for the summer.

On Tasting Menu #1 we have a handsome line up starting with Gunpowder Irish gin 43% a fantastic citrus gin made using 12 botanicals: Juniper, Angelica, Coriander Seed, Meadow Sweet, Orris, Cardamom, Carraway, Star Anise, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit and Gunpowder tea. Isle of Harris 45% is a small batch savoury gin made in the Western Isles in a community distillery using eight traditional gin botanicals plus locally harvested sugar kelp. It’s a gin designed to be sipped neat but it makes a cracking gin and tonic. Boatyard Double 46% is a smooth citrus / floral Irish gin using 8 organic botanicals: juniper, bog myrtle, lemon peel, coriander, grains of paradise, orris, angelica and liquorice. To round off this tasting menu we have a local gin, Mary-Le-Bone 50.2% a fantastic dry citrus gin inspired by the 18th century Marlylebone Pleasure Gardens. This gin uses 13 botanicals including juniper, grapefruit, cassia, clove, licorice, lime flower, lemon balm and chamomile.

On Tasting Menu #2 we have an equally charming and delicious line up starting with Edinburgh Seaside 43% is a savoury gin made using shoreline botanicals including bladderwrack, ground ivy and scurvygrass and designed to evoke a day at the beach. Three Rivers 40% is a fantastic gin made in Manchester and specifically designed to have a smooth and creamy mouthfeel using vanilla, cinnamon, almond and oats. Langley’s Old Tom 40% is a delicious take on the 19th century sweeter style of gin and we finish off with Jawbox 43% a superb spiced dry gin from Belfast that is made using 9 classic gin botanicals plus Black Mountain Heather and cubeb.

We’re sure you will agree this is a tremendous batch of gin for the summer, so come and join us at the Gin Club and continue your gin adventures with a tasting menu.

New World Gin Tasting Menu

Around the world in eight gins

Gin is a quintessentially British spirit, but it is also a spirit that has travelled the world. As a result there are a growing number of fabulous artisan gins from all over the globe bringing new, unique and delicious dimensions to the spirit. As a result we have been inspired to create a new tasting menu, the World Gin Tasting menu, designed to send your taste buds travelling with eight carefully selected gins that showcase the depth, breadth and creativity of today’s artisan distillers from all around the globe.

It was a difficult job to narrow it down from the four hundred plus gins we currently have to just eight gins, with lots of comparative tasting required (a tough job but someone has to do it). Some of the countries we selected may come as a surprise however we are sure you will enjoy the result. All the gins are served as Copa Serve G&Ts with Fever Tree indian tonic

  • APOSTOLES – an aromatic gin from Argentina, which we garnish with raspberry. Apostoles is made in a copper pot still using traditional gin botanicals juniper and coriander seed plus native botanicals including peppermint, eucalyptus, pink grapefruit and yerba mate, an evergreen rainforest tree whose leaves are used to make a tea-like drink popular in South America.
  • DEATH’S DOOR – a savoury gin from the USA, which we garnish with pear & celery. Deaths Door is unusual in the world of gin, in that it uses only three botanicals, Juniper, coriander seed and fennel seed, however this gin show cases that a superb well-balanced flavour profile can be obtained from the skilful use of ingredients.
  • DUKE OF MUNICH – a savoury gin from Germany which we garnish with celery. The Duke is made in Bavaria using 13 botanicals including juniper, coriander, angelica root, cinnamon, cubeb, caraway, Lemon peel, lavender, ginger root, orange blossom, hops and malt. It’s the latter 4 that give this gin a delicious and satisfying twist.
  • KI NO BI – an aromatic gin from Japan which we garnish with plum. The first artisan Japanese gin, Ki No Bi uses a rice base spirit and a selection of Japanese botanicals sourced where possible from in and around Kyoto, the obligatory juniper accompanied by orris, ginger, bamboo leaves, red perilla, lemon peel, yuzu peel, sansho pepper, kinome leaves, Gyokuro green tea and Hinoki wood. A unique and delicious gin.
  • NO 3 – a London dry gin from the United Kingdom which we garnish with an olive. When it comes to dry gins, it does not get much more quintessentially London Dry than No 3. Made by Berry Brothers and Rudd, the oldest wine merchants in England using six botanicals, Juniper, coriander Seed, cardamom, Angelica Root, Grapefruit and Sweet Orange.
  • RUTTE DRY – a dry gin from Netherlands which we garnish with a wedge of lime. A small batch gin made in Dordrecht using juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, cassia, bitter orange peel, sweet orange peel and fennel.
  • PINK PEPPER – an aromatic gin from France which we garnish with a lemon slice. Made in Cognac from 9 botanicals including juniper, pink peppercorn, cardamom, cinnamon, infusions of honey, vanilla and tonka bean, a wonderful combination of aromatic spice and smooth sweetness.
  • THE WEST WINDS SABRE – an aromatic gin from Australia which we garnish with an orange slice. Made with a combination of 12 traditional and native australian botanicals which include juniper, coriander seed and root, orris, angelica root, liquorice, all spice, lemon peel, lime peel, cinnamon myrtle, lemon myrtle and toasted wattle seed. Bright, aromatic and citrus and a rounded mouth feel.

Our tasting menus are great to share, so come along and give your tastebuds a vacation without the hassle of having to pack, take a trip around the world in eight gins at the London Gin Club.

Gin Review: Loch Ness Gin 43.3% ABV

There are three things we like about Loch Ness gin. The first is that it shows the fantastic things that a couple can achieve. It is made by a wife and husband team Lorien and Kevin Cameron-Ross, with said husband spending his days off hand-picking juniper. Passion and commitment, what more can we say, they are values that speak for themselves and that were recognised by the industry with Loch Ness gin picking up a Spirits Masters gold award in the ultra premium category. The second is the history and connection to the landscape. Lorien’s family has lived in the Loch Ness area since 1520 and the Juniper used for Loch Ness Real and Rare gin comes from family land. The third thing we like is that it is a damn fine gin. They don’t reveal anything about the botanicals they use, other than that they use local botanicals from the banks of Loch Ness, so we were very much carrying out a blind tasting with this gin, and so what did we think?

On the nose there is bold, refreshing, cooling piney juniper with underlying floral notes and a honey sweetness. There is also subtle green herb note that ebbs and flows in the background. Overall the nose is bright and heady and invites you to take a sip…

Tasted neat, cooling pine juniper leads, followed by a confident hit of bitter and pepper. We picked up a pleasantly astringent bitter, with warm spice notes and what we felt was the mouth activation that comes with pepper, this yields to an underlying sweetness. Overall it has a long, bitter sweet profile.

With tonic the nose is reduced but still present. To taste the floral sweet notes are amplified, however what is most beguiling is that the profile starts with the bitter astringent notes with the floral notes kicking in afterwards, the reverse of what one would typically expect. This is a most satisfying, excellent and unusual gin; it’s great on the rocks and makes an excellent gin and tonic.

Another fine gin coming out of Scotland and the Cameron-Ross team have hinted they will be creating new gins in the future which we look forward to trying.

Gin Review: KI NO BI Kyoto Dry Gin 45.7% ABV

KI NO BI Kyoto Dry gin has us very very excited. We’d heard about it a while ago and were very intrigued by the idea of a Japanese Gin. After all there are Japanese whiskies on the shelves of prestigious Whisky bars rubbing shoulders with the finest single malts and so how would an artisan Japanese craft gin fair in a crowded marketplace?

The first thing of note is the base sprit, KI NO BI Dry Gin uses a rice base spirit. Then there are the botanicals, the team at Kyoto Distillery use a selection of Japanese botanicals sourced where possible from in and around Kyoto, the obligatory juniper accompanied by orris, ginger, bamboo leaves, red perilla, lemon peel, yuzu peel, sansho pepper, kinome leaves, Gyokuro green tea and Hinoki wood.

So it’s true to say that for us tasting this gin was going to be a completely new flavour experience, and so how does it taste?

The nose is bright and has intriguing subtlety. It leads with fresh eucalyptus juniper accompanied by round green herbal notes, there is an underlying sweetness and a hint of ripe fruit.

Tasted neat the lead is crisp bold juniper followed by dry spice and a very pleasant wave of pepper activation which yields to a full mouthed warm round sweetness. This gin is really very, very good sipped neat on ice. The creamy mouth feel comes into its own and the flavours build as you sip with a subtle warmth and the tea notes coming through with successive sipping. This is a rewarding gin that deserves to be sipped, contemplated and lingered over. It will make an exceptional Martini (we will switch out the vermouth, watch this space!).

With Tonic (Fever-Tree regular, we added less than usual settling at a 1:1 proportion) the bright bitter notes really pop at the start, the citrus and floral top notes are accentuated and pleasing biscuit tea notes come through in the linger. Hints of warming ginger comes through with successive sipping but never overwhelm.

KI NO BI Kyoto dry gin sets a very high bar for artisan craft Japanese gins and we look forward to welcoming to our shelves.

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