A couple of months ago I met my friend Gal for a beer. When we met he said “you are a gin fan aren’t you? Here I brought you something” and handed me a couple of boxes with 10 little 3 cl bottles from Drinks by the Dram. I thanked him and promised to write a post about them with my tasting notes. When I came back home I placed the boxes on a small shelf in my spirits cupboard and forgot all about them. Tonight I found myself alone, after my wife and children went to sleep, with an urge to drink something new. That’s when it struck my mind that those cute little samples are waiting for me. So I sat down to try my first flight of Drink by the Dram samples. The samples came from That Boutique – Y Gin company – A sister company to the independent whisky bottler by the quite similar name That boutique – Y Whisky Company
In the next couple of posts I shall review the samples. Don’t worry, I’m not going to taste them all at once. Without any further delays, let’s dive into the tasting notes:
40% abv. Clear like water.
Nose: Aromatic and floral like an elegant aftershave with an underlying presence of Juniper and a hint of a freshly peeled orange spray.
Palate: Dry, smooth and refreshing, very clean and neutral base that serves as a stage to the delicate balance of flavors and aromas.
Finish: Echoing cool minty and Juniper aroma.
Conclusion: I liked it. It is a very elegant and subtle gin that fills shy at the beginning but echoes in your mouth for a while leaving you with a fresh after taste.
46% abv. Straw like yellowish color.
Nose: very aromatic and prominent. Full of aromas from different directions: Cinnamon, winter spices, Aniseed, Liquorice, grain or malt, sweetness of caramel or burnt sugar, nutmeg and pepper. When heated it the mouth some Juniper is felt with woody/chocolate notes.
Palate: Spicy. Rough. Liquorice, burning. Sweet.
Finish: Long and spicy not to say burning
Conclusion: A winter dram. Would probably work well with Ginger ale or Ginger beer. I view gin as a refreshing spring-summer drink. In the winter I tend to prefer brown spirits. This dram is not refreshing and summary. I may need to resample it when it’s cold outside or maybe pair it with a Ginger ale.
43.3% abv. Coppery brown – not extremely clear.
Nose: Quite complex. Dark chocolate, Wood, Amarena cherries, Tobacco, with a backbone of Juniper.
Palate: Feels like a Dry port or Sherry, creamy/velvety. Fruity, Red fruit, Brown fruit. Slightly tart yet rather sweet. Feels more like an aged spiced rum than a gin.
Finish: surprisingly short with an oxidized woody after taste.
Conclusion: I liked the liquid I tasted however, I would have never guessed it was a gin. In a blind tasting I’d bet it was a spiced rum.
46% abv. Clear like water.
Nose: Sweet and Light. Fresh crisp juniper with a citrusy sour halo,
Palate: sweet! Slightly bitter like burnt toast, very different from the sourness or dryness anticipated by the nose.
Finish: Liquorice with burning spiciness.
Conclusion: interesting. There’s a conflict between the nose and the tongue. Can’t decide whether I liked it or not.
42.6% abv. Dark mahogany color (red-purple-brown)
Nose: Cherries, Plums, Sloe berries, Vishniak.
Palate: Fruity. Sour, Sweet, Cherry, Plum, Chocolate. Tartness, Thick and syrupy.
Finish: Slightly burning and fruity with reminiscence of Juniper.
Conclusion: A take off on Sloe gin with a much stronger flavor and abv. Not too sweet and complex enough to be interesting. I liked it a lot.
A couple of months went by from my previous Drinks by the Dram flight of gin tasting and here I am again sitting in front of 5 little sample bottles, after my wife and kids went to sleep. Let’s dive in…
42% abv. Clear like water
Nose: very aromatic, Juniper. Strong. Citrusy. Condensed
Palate: Rather dry. Tart-Bitter. Clean but burning
Finish: Burning and aromatic with reminiscence of Juniper.
Conclusion: a classic but concentrated London Dry Gin. I don’t really get the supposedly chocolate notes.
46% abv. Clear like water
Nose: Pleasant aroma, Fresh cut grass and green blossom. Alcoholic
Palate: Strong, dry, peppery and slightly bitter
Finish: Short Burning and aromatic with reminiscence of Juniper.
Conclusion: a perfect companion for premium Tonics, but not ideal as a standalone drink.
46.2% abv. Clear like water
Nose: lemon zest and juniper with a hint of cinnamon and an after aroma of fresh-cut grass.
Palate: Clean and bitter-sweet. Cinnamon and Liquorice.
Finish: Bitter and warming.
Conclusion: a winter gin that would match perfectly a decent ginger beer. It is less rough and heavy than the Cotswolds gin Batch 1 I reviewed last time but nonetheless a wintry spirit.
46% abv. Clear like water
Nose: fermented fruit and grains. Low on juniper with a hint of rotting mint
Palate: spicy-burning. Sweet with bitter after taste and menthol-licorice notes.
Finish: Bitter and cooling (almost like mouth wash).
Conclusion: Unlike the previous gin. This one belongs to the late summer evenings. All it needs is a decent lime zest topped with soda water and mint garnish to produce a refreshing summer night drink. Nevertheless, I’m not sure I’d enjoy it standalone with an ice-cube.
46.2% abv. Clear like water
Nose: Different. More flowery than usual. A bit like the old classic Palmolive dishwashing liquid. Phenolic.
Palate: Mildly sweet.
Finish: licorice and soapy.
Conclusion: feels like the glass wasn’t rinsed properly from the dishwashing liquid. Not my cup of gin.
So… after tasting them all I can say it was an inspiring experience. Tasting non commercial unbranded gins without the simmering halo of branding, bottle design and other marketing stuff was a bliss. I didn’t like them all but I really liked the dare to break the classic rules in order to bring a new experience. My favorites were Blackwater gin and Cherry gin. I also liked McQueen Chocolate Orange and the Pedro Ximenez cask aged dram that was great but didn’t adhere to the classic perception of gin.