These are opinions only. We all have different tastes, one ladies trash gin can be another ones treasure…Gin.
All Opinions are our own, including any Grammar & Spelling Mistakes…because…Useless!
- Mermaid Pink Gin
- Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz
- Monterey Helford Gin
MERMAID PINK GIN
Location: Isle of Wight. South Coast of England. United Kingdom
Distiller: Isle of Wight Distillery
Website & To buy: https://isleofwightdistillery.com/
Price Approx: £38
In 2019 Mermaid Gin released their Mermaids Pink Gin. The Isle of Wight Distillery Infused local Strawberries with their signature bottle.
There is in no way denying that the look of this bottle is exceptional. Putting a pretend ‘Marketing’ hat on (Deeper voice: Hallo there) to look at this bottle compared with their original branding this would sell 1000 times more and…without anyone having to try the Gin.
This isn’t even a negative to me (Self acclaimed bottle whore, meaning I am attracted to a pretty bottle) it makes this company clever in being aware what sells. This bottle will be kept and used for Candles, flower vases & lighting once this bottle is empty. Even the name, us that have imaginations on the fantasy side will be drawn to anything which bears a name that resembles mystical creatures in the sea.
Ethically, they are active in reducing their Plastic consumption specifically in helping protect their Islands Marine environment. Slowly eliminating plastic from their packaging & using biodegradable materials.
Including what goes into their bottle. Local Rock Samphire off the shoreline, Boadicea Hops, Elderflower handpicked locally & Strawberries grown in the Arreton Valley, a small parish a few miles away from Isle of Wights Newport Town. Juniper, Sicilian Lemon, Grains of Paradise (Similar to Cardamom…so Peppery) Coriander, Angelica, Orris & Liquorice root also includes its botanicals.
BUT IS IT ANY GOOD?
Having the original bottle in the collection for a few years now, the smaller version purchased from a local Gin festival, then the bigger given to me for my birthday. Neither are finished. Whether reason for that is due to other Gins that take my priority? That could be the cause.
I am partial to a fruity gin, having a sweet tooth however I don’t tend to eat a lot of desserts (or Chocolate…Apart from certain times, but then I then have to hide it as the husband will consume chocolate like a vacuum) I obviously find solace in a fruity gin. When they released the Pink I was obviously drawn to it (Ahem the bottle) Also being a Strawberry fan, I was sold. Again marketing should be applauded as it sucked me in like a fat fluffy moth to a light.
On opening the bottle it doesn’t have the similar smells to the original. You know that this has been distilled with strawberries. There is an earthy undertone when you smell, like the whole strawberry with its dirt thrown into the Copper Pot freshly picked out of the fields. This I feel could be the Boadicea Hops hiding behind the strawberry.
To pour, don’t let the bottle confuse you it comes out near enough clear with a minimal hue of Pink. Could this be called a pink gin?
Straight with no ice, the taste is the same as the smell, that earthy undertone is there but quickly fades and leaves no earthy “Hops”? aftertaste, instead you get a mixed strawberry & even a spice, assuming this is where the Grains of Paradise comes into play. Looking at their site after typing this comment it states a “warm spice” which now I am just impressed with myself that I got that! *Pats on own back*
-Fever Tree Indian Tonic
-Garnish: 7 Juniper Berries (Yesss Counted) & Cucumber
When looking for its signature serve, cucumber was not the garnish expected to pop up when searching, especially with Strawberry Gin but HEY…Here we are now making it.
To drink instead of the Strawberry your nose takes you to the cucumber, again its that “Earthy” taste that is prominent as I swallow. Yet again that taste disappears and left with the cucumber & a faint taste of the Strawberry lingering in the mouth, no warm spice this time. The aftertaste makes me want to sip more, but every time that ‘earth’ is still the first thing tasted. The longer in the glass that cucumber disappears and the taste becomes sweeter, however, although it is less so, that earth taste is still there.
-Fever Tree Elderflower Tonic
I love elderflower tonic, I love strawberries…So in my head i’m thinking this is a winning combination. Although looking for the Signature serve, I never questioned pairing with Strawberries but adding the elderflower I thought it could take away the tastes that I have already felt trying it neat & with the cucumber. To smell, you get more of the elderflower tonic this time round, and to taste, sure that “Earth” taste is there, much less so this time around. Again it is sweeter with the tonic. The aftertaste is again very faint with strawberry but it is still there & the elderflower is left in your mouth. Longer left there even though garnished with the Strawberries they do not start to overpower the original taste, which in other Gins they do.
SO…WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU THINK?
To state the obvious, the bottle is B E A U T I F U L that is no denying that this should be on a shelf to show off.
Its contents? I cant seem to get over that “Earth” taste, to me its there every time I take a sip. Although it dissolves into much a much sweeter aftertaste, its initial presence to me, I cant seem to shake. We have previously tried this in cocktails which If I remember correctly that taste is completely overruled by other ingredients in the cocktail, but as a G&T to me, its certainly there.
This bottle will eventually be consumed, as I will share this bottle with friends to find out what they can taste. Then this bottle will be lovingly kept empty served as a beautiful lighted bottle.
FOUR PILLARS BLOODY SHIRAZ GIN
Distiller: Four Pillars Distillery
Stockists Worldwide: https://www.fourpillarsgin.com/stockists
Price Approx: UK £40-£45
In 2018 we in the Western Hemisphere opened up our monthly Gin subscription box with anticipation on what it will be. What we received was a Swedish-Australian collaboration namely Dry Island Gin.
The creators were Four Pillars (Australia) & Herno (Sweden) If you wish us to describe this bottle I am afraid it is not possible, of the two bottles we individually had are now gone, including any close friends who had it. Gone. Drank. Empty. Recycled into the bottle heaven in the sky. Only recently did we find you are still able to purchase this bottle so there may be a review on here for it. However we are not here to talk about that one…just yet.
In 2019 we both attended the Junipalooza UK London show, of the many distillers showcasing their gin, Four Pillars was one of them…Laura, as we scooted past the busy Herno stand couldn’t see the Dry Island Gin, but after walking around we ended at Four Pillars, after asking whether they still produced the collaboration Gin (Wasnt there) As I now think back, I realise we spent the longest time at their stand.
Of the Four Pillar gins we tried, there is one that we stood, with our glasses out & asked for more. Yep, Imagine us standing there mid 30 year olds wide innocent eyed staring up behind the stand “Please sir can we have some more” and they obliged. Side note we arent that short.
This was their Vintage 2019 Bloody Shiraz Gin.
It probably took less then a minute for me to whip out my bank card and ask “whos the bloke around here to take my money” as I happily stood sipping away. Laura on the other hand went for Rare Dry, thinking she was smart and I would share. No ho ho.
They had paired the Shiraz with Fever Tree Sicilian Lemonade (Bitter Lemon) & it is the only way I have drank it. NO WAIT MASSIVE LIE I MADE A COCKTAIL…THE BLOODY SOUR!…OK, OK, ill backtrack…Ahem…If I am not making a cocktail I have only paired this with Sicilian Lemonade.
To find The Bloody Sour: https://www.fourpillarsgin.com/journal/drinks-bars/the-bloody-sour
Four Pillars have used their Rare Dry Gin and steeped with local to Four Pillars, Yarra Valley Shiraz grapes for 8 weeks before being pressed to release its colour, then blended further into more of their gin.
If you have noticed I have made sure to point out the Vintage is 2019. There is a 2018, which is still available, although I had this at a Restaurant making sure I had it with Cloudy Lemonade. It did not taste the same. That’s as much as I can comment as it could have been what was paired with it. Until I can try it again.
You can even go as far back to 2015 to find a Bloody Shiraz, but, it is gold dust & I wont even entertain the idea I will ever come across a bottle pre 2017 to try, I am OK with that.
They are soon to release their 2020 and I have made it clear I am after this bottle. As soon as its available to buy in the UK my money will be well & quickly spent before It is sold out once more, But we are here to talk about the 2019.
There suggestion is Lemon Tonic or Bitter Lemon. However, its Fever Tree Sicilian Lemonade (Bitter Lemon) that has won in my eyes.
BUT IS IT ANY GOOD?
On opening the bottle I cannot deny that to me it has a sherry like smell to this. The Juniper from the London Dry also strong as I stick my nose in the bottle. If I was to however open a bottle of Shiraz Wine, the similarities will be there. However this leaning on the Juniper side. Remember this is still a gin.
To pour the off purple colour reminding you of a wine is there, straight with no ice, It certainly reminds me of a Sherry or a port. Quickly it evaporates in your mouth, the aftertaste is slightly herbal and warm.
-Sicilian Lemonade (Bitter Lemon)
What I have noticed with this bottle, which will happen to many coloured gins, is that the longer you have it, the more the original colour of the tone fades. This DOES NOT however change its taste. You could keep it locked away in the dark, no matter its colour will still change. This has been purposely not drunk unless special occasions as it was hard to get the 2019 Vintage in the UK. Although now finally found a place that sells it, we can now have more of an excuse to finish this bottle.
Think of this simply & the best way to describe to you, you are drinking a red wine spritz but its gin. Both the texture of a shiraz is certainly with you whilst you drink this, and it is an EXTREMELY easy drink to have whilst you need to quench your thirst, which is dangerous as again, remember this is Gin.
The grapes make you believe, whilst drinking, this is red wine spritz, yet the aftertaste is still slightly warm, the gin hidden away behind it all, reminding you it is not. Thats the beauty of this gin & how well Four Pillars have put this together.
The more that Gins develop into something more these days, especially with Gins coming out that are paired with Cider or Prosecco. Although slightly biast as being a red wine fan, Pairing the two together is a winning combination for both the consumer & creator.
MONTEREY HELFORD GIN
Location: Helford, Falmouth, Cornwall UK
Distiller: Helford River Distillery
Price Approx: UK £40-£45
This was kindly gifted to us by Monterey to review. Batch 003. Bottle 010. 43%vol
If you look at Monterey’s Instagram or website you will see this phrase “Gin for the Discerning” meaning that a person has a good sense of judgement. Now do we think we have a good sense of judgement? Life lessons and relationships would say Noooooooooo, BUT we are talking about Gin here so as you read we will let you come to that conclusion.
Monterey Helford Gin began in 2016 after three friends were discussing their love for Gin and what is best suited in cocktails. Unable to all come to an overall agreement, as any group of friends would do they decided to create a gin.
From that, In the last few years they have worked at distilling by hand distinct variations of botanicals, experimenting and using different techniques to finally come to the bottle you see now. Although the process has taken longer then they anticipated, their personal drive and love to bring this bottle out, they have not cut corners. These bottles are not mass produced but sold as limited batch runs, this is so that they can make sure that every bottle contains the quality and exact principles of their gin.
Monterey uses the ‘Single Shot’ Method, which, unless you are completely savvy with distilling terminology. Below is quoted from Gin Mag https://gin-mag.com/
“Single–shot – “Once the botanicals have been distilled, the resulting spirit is diluted with water, in order to reach the alcoholic strength required for bottling. And that’s it. Bottles are ready to make their way into the outside world”
Which is opposite to the equally other savvy distilling lingo…
“Multi-shot method utilises a greater quantity of botanicals than single-shot, in order to produce spirit with a more concentrated flavour (which explains why it’s referred to as ‘concentrate’ in the industry). Once distilled the concentrate is diluted twice. The first dilution is with spirit, invariably the same spirit used for distillation, which adjusts the flavour profile of the concentrate, and increases the
volume of liquid. The subsequent dilution is with water, to reduce the alcoholic strength for bottling”
“Single-shot is the original method, with multi-shot established by the early 20th century (though the exact origins remain elusive). Which method is most appropriate depends on the production capacity required, in conjunction with production capability. This is in turn determined by the size of a pot still, and the number of pot
Further reading & to learn more on distilling processes take a look at Gin Mags article:
LETS TALK ABOUT THE BOTTLE
Further to your education whilst reading this, Monterey is derived from the Endangered Monterey Pine Tree. This pine is native to the central coast of California, however, although notable other countries introduced this pine, this can also be found on the banks of Helford River in Cornwall UK…Cornwall! When Monterey Gin first purchased their Copper still Shirley they planted a tree in its honor.
The bottle is distinctive standing tall at 33cm or just over a foot. its glass silhouette resembling to me elongated diamonds (that do not exist that big haha) that fittingly go with the label including a much loved glass topper (The easiest way to open gin) Friends, your gin shelves need adjusting to accommodate this bottle.
The label design as you can see is very much 20’s 30’s Art deco Americana we all wish we could visit dressed in our Great Gatsby attire & Martini glasses. Just minus catching the Spanish Flu or Polio. Its Emerald background enhances the bottle to stand out with its eye catching gold detail reminding me of walking into The Empire State Building in New York. The design is cleverly thought out with its equilateral lines pointing straight to its name.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIN?
On the bottle it explains this is an organic grain based spirit, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, 11 botanicals meticulously picked. Botanicals include Juniper (of course) Coriander, Cardamom, Keffir lime, Sea Buckthorn, Gentian Root & Citrus.
On opening the bottle its Juniper & cardamom is distinct. If anyone knows what Sea Buckthorn smells like, allegedly it smells like the sea, salty. However I do not come across this when first opening. Notes of citrus, however I cannot work out which Citrus family. I want to say lemon, which is why I initially paired it with this, but i could be totally mistaken.
Straight in a glass the smell changes, the juniper still there but less so. Tasting the coriander and cardamom come out more then the juniper, quickly following into a sweet aftertaste which was unexpected, maybe as I have thought about the taste of sea buckthorn that there is a slightly salty taste which pairing with the sweet makes this quite pleasant on its own.
- Lemon Peel
- Fentimans Natural Tonic water
Although we will update this review, when we ourselves experiment with this gin, especially in cocktails, we noticed one thing missing from their site. There is no words of advice in what to pair this with, or tried and tested cocktails. When it comes to the first time we like to be told what the makers prefer how we serve. Pairing this with the lemon we could be completely misleading its botanical flavours and we hate to feel we are not giving this gin its true justice review. That said…
The lemon peel works perfectly with this gin.
Using the citrus, brings it out of the gin. It becomes even sweeter with the garnish and tonic especially its aftertaste. If you leave it to the side as you think about the aftertaste it makes you want to drink more (because thats not a worry haha). its higher volume isnt obvious nor does it give you any kind of harsh spirit aftertaste. The coriander is also there which pairing with the lemon peel softens its taste, although just a slight spice. This is a well thought out Gin.
Monterey Helford Gin should be proud of themselves that they have taken their time to bring this bottle out, just from a conversation between three friends. It will be interesting what they decide to create in future and we will be following along with them.
LET US KNOW OTHER COMBINATIONS
If there is any combinations you think we should try with this Gin? Let us know and we will give it a go.