Those who have recently had the leisure to travel in Europe have certainly seen that Gin is everywhere! In the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Portugal: the least of their bars systematically offers many references of this brandy that has never experienced such dynamism in terms of innovations, new products, varieties!
The opportunity for dozens of visitors deeply curious, interested and receptive to learn about this brandy, its subtleties, the richness of its expressions. Each product has its own story. The aim is to discover the different aromas of these Gins, the vast majority were eaten dry. Who didn’t think that Gin was a bitter drink not because of the spirit itself, but because the tonic was?
What Is A Gin?
In his GIN, an encyclopaedic Compendium, Simon Difford gives a simple definition – generalist that has the merit of encompassing all Gins: “All Gins originate as a neutral alcohol (a vodka to a high degree), which is flavored with juniper – various aromas.” It doesn’t take more than that to create a Gin, which explains the vast freedoms that distillers leave to make this spirit! The different types of Gins then tighten the definitions.
The Old Tom
The Old Tom Gin was the first spirit to bear the name Gin from the 18th century. At the time, stills did not create a neutral alcohol pure enough. The imperfections of the distillate were then masked by an addition of 2 to 6% sugar, giving a spirit that was sweeter – slightly more sweet than the Gins we know today. In recent years, however, although there are no more imperfections to be covered, we are witnessing a renaissance of the Old Tom, Gin of origins, which had almost completely disappeared from the surface of the globe during the twentieth century. The Old English perfectly represents this contemporary version of the Old Tom.
The London Dry
As the name suggests, the London Dry Gin was born in London. However, it can be produced anywhere. This category appeared following the creation of the Coffey Still stills in 1831. Indeed, the Coffey Still allowed the creation of a neutral alcohol so pure that the addition of sugar no longer became indispensable. This dry alcohol was used to a maximum of 5g of methanol per hectolitre of alcohol at 100 degrees to flavour it. It is the most framed form of Gin but also the most common. Among his expressions, we were able to taste:
The Citadel, a French gin made in Cognac by Pierre Ferrand, rich in no less than 19 different aromas that manage to find a perfect balance for a sweet gin – fruity.
The excellent Mombasa Club, a reissue of the recipe that was served in the famous gentlemen’s club at the end of the 19th century, which manages to transcend a very fresh aromatic palette – lemony.
The No. 3, from the famous Berry Bros. house, whose juniper – the powerful citrus fruits during the attack on the mouth, evolve in small touches on a creamy and spicy finish.
Colombo, Sri Lankan gin. Introduced to Gin during the colonial era, Sri Lankans were able to create their own, totally unique, notably by using curry leaves as an aroma.
The very floral Dodd’s, 100% organic, produces in small quantities in a 140-litre still, which sees in its composition laurel, raspberry leaf but also honey!
The Spanish Gin Sea, whose five distillations offer such purity to the distillate of English origin that each aroma is expressed in the mouth with great power.
The Distilled Gin
A little more permissive than the London Dry in its design, distilled gin requires the neutral alcohol to be re-distinguished once flavoured. This means that a simple infusion of flavours into alcohol does not allow this designation. Distilled gin does not impose a minimum degree for neutral alcohol, unlike London Dry. It is in this expression that we find the most striking innovations, which often go away to tasting what we expect to find in a gin! Among these are The Gin by Christian Drouin, whose specificities were recently explained to us by Guillaume Drouin in an interview. But other equally surprising nuggets were offered to us:
Fair Gin, one of the few gins in which the basic alcohol itself makes its aromatic contribution. A rich- herbaceous spirit that offers a nice length in the mouth.
The Forest, distilled in Belgium, is highly concentrated in citrus fruits. In the mouth, the orange is so powerful that it would almost take over the juniper. Surprising tangy flavours for a real explosion in the mouth.
Junipero, a gin with white fruit aromas, whose high degree adds a mineral touch, making this product a perfect base for a Dry Martini
The Navy Gin
As with rum, it is the degree of bottling that defines the Navy Proof: indeed, when a spirit was consumed near the cannons in ships, it was preferable that it be titled to a degree sufficient to allow the gunpowder to burn even wet! The Navy Gin is bottled at more than 57 degrees! This is the case of the Gunroom, dry and powerful, it highlights, among the 12 hand-picked aromas, juniper. It is therefore a true concentrate of gin, perfect base for a gin and tonic of character.
Distillers from all over the world are full of inventiveness – the public is just waiting to be won over! We can only invite you to (re)discover the expressions that underpin the base of the Gin – to stay tuned to the new, because the Gin has very good years ahead of it!