Gin Review

These are opinions only. We all have different tastes, one ladies trash gin can be another ones treasure…Gin…That’s why there is two of us.

All Opinions are own, including any grammar & spelling mistakes…because…Useless!

Monterey Helford Gin

@twogindependentwomen @monterey_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.

Single Shot

Monterey uses the ‘Single Shot’ Method, which, unless you are completely savvy with distilling terminology. Below is quoted from Gin Mag

Singleshot – “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
stills available”

Further reading & to learn more on distilling processes take a look at Gin Mags article:,way%20into%20the%20outside%20world.

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.


  • Ice
  • Lemon Peel
  • Fentimans Natural Tonic water
@twogindependentwomen @monterey_gin

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.

@twogindependentwomen @monterey_gin

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.

All photographs property of @twogindependentwomen

Gin Review

These are opinions only. We all have different tastes, one ladies trash gin can be another ones treasure…Gin…That’s why there is two of us.

All Opinions are own, including any grammar & spelling mistakes…because…Useless!


@twogindependentwomen @fourpillarsgin

Location: Australia

Distiller: Four Pillars Distillery



Stockists Worldwide:

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.

Junipalooza 2019 @twogindependentwomen @Fourpillarsgin

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:

It was October @twogindependentwomen @fourpillarsgin


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.


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)

-Garnish: 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.

2019 Pour Four Pillars Shiraz @twogindependentwomen

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.

2020 Pour Four Pillars Shiraz

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.


I mean you’ll have to sell it to us that there is a better combination to this gin then Bitter Lemon. BUT…If there is any combinations you think we should try with this Gin? Let us know and we will give it a go.

N x

All photographs property of @twogindependentwomen

Appreciation of Ice


Go to & read other Opinions not just ours!…


Ice, to us, is one of the more underappreciated ingredients in the drink’s world.

Consider this, Ice is your staple freezer filler, you will choose to store ice over frozen peas you bought two weeks ago (but not replace the fish fingers put in there in 1996) If you do not have a bag of Ice you will travel to more than one supermarket just to find some. Still don’t have any? your drink is now…well…meh…and warm its.just.not.the.same. YET no one seems to appreciate Ice as much as we all should.

Yes, I am sure as you read, you think of the magnificent Ice Sculptures created by hand at the fancy parties you see on the Television, or these days the expensive gadgets that will carve one diamond shaped piece of Ice that took an hour to form as you sit and wait for it to be put in your drink.  Alternatively, like us you’ve tried to purchase giant Ice trays that are delivered and is just not big enough. Never forgetting even when you have a tray, once the seasons approach of glorious sunshine or festivities, you have people to see, 4 giant Ice cubes in a tray is never going to accommodate your needs! Que the mad rush looking for a bag of ice! It’s OK, don’t worry, we have all done it, but now do you see how we have taken Ice for granted? No More we say!

Ice Co who ‘unknowingly to many’ have been stocking your freezers since 1860 (Well…since Freezers have been a staple home appliance) Stocked in every reputable supermarket, Ice Co have given you choice. Their Party bags when you need to fill a cocktail shaker, champagne bucket or large cooler to accommodate keeping cans cold. The Crushed Ice for when you decide to be healthy and make frozen smoothies or (less healthy) frozen cocktails, The Premium Ice when we want an easy cold beverage during the week or our favourite, the Extra-large Super Cube!

These Ice Co Super Cubes have become our staple Ice for the freezer, for us, we use these for our photos we post on Instagram. Alternatively, when we have a small gathering of guests for dinner parties, we use these instead of the party bags to give more of a sophistication for our drinks. “WHAT?” as you pull a face at your screen; “Sophistication? No one notices that?” Sure, you notice when your ice has melted in your drink, but have you ever noticed when a super cube is used it takes longer to melt? No? Oh we have, and there is the difference. These larger cubes keep our Gin & Tonics colder for longer without watering it down, we also use less cubes then what we would normally. Larger the ice the more sophisticated you feel and less scrambling in the freezer for more!!

We all know, taking one photo, whether its of yourself or your food, just the one is never good enough and as sad as it sounds it’s the same when taking photos of glasses of Gin. Sometimes the process can take sooooo much longer, using these Cubes there is no change to the drink apart from the angle in which we are taking it from (Ahem, standing on our heads with our legs in the air whilst shooing our pets from trying to paw the ice) – That’s the beauty of them, these are super cubes, you only need 1 or 2 to fill your glass. After the tons of photos, we can still sit and taste our drink and decide whether we enjoy it or not to review, which then can help anyone that sees decide whether they could enjoy the drink too. We are all Winners!

When we can host dinner parties with friends, we put these in an Ice Bucket which last the night, always some left over as the ice already used stays in their glass. Let’s be honest, we aren’t going to sit around waiting for Ice to freeze we’ve poured from the tap to serve to our guests. Made from Spring Water, these bags are easy to store in your freezer & to take out when needed. We should appreciate Ice even more now! SUPER ICE, Come on, lets hear it for ICE and lets hear it for ICE CO who have been replacing your peas in your freezers for all these years!! Hurrah!!!   

[Gifted Ice to Review]


Garnish Game

Trying to (In Chandler from Friends voice) BE better in the Shaped Garnish Game

Garnishes. GARNISHES. Oh how a Garnish makes a Gin better, the difference of a good glass, ice and correct garnish makes a drink oh so much more delicious!

We have all seen pictures floating around and peoples garnishes are outstanding! So since the lockdown I have tried to up my game and cut fingers in the process!

The Beginning – PRE LOCKDOWN

When our instagram account first started up I tried to make fancy garnishes I saw made by professional mixologists. Being what I consider slighly arty In my head I told myself “SURE YOU CAN DO THAT” and so when making a drink I THEN SPEND AN HOUR trying to create a pretty garnish, which I am pretty sure it shouldnt take that long!

Behold. The first real attempt. A Heart.

@two_gindependent_women @brokenheartspirit

This was the first time I really tried to make a shape out of a Garnish, and be good enough to post. That doesnt include using a peeler to make spiral cucumbers, delicately trying to put into a glass (now that is another technique I am still unable to achieve) – Looking at the heart now I can see its flaws but also realising a knife may not be the best way to make my garnish game better (I’ll explain later)

Behold. Managing to hide it better. A Crown.

@two_gindependent_women @edenmill

Oranges. Their thick inner skin, Just made this task even more difficult. trying to carve some form of head piece and still not achieving the look that was in my head. Hidden behind that crown is toothpicks to keep it in place…again with carved with a knife. Hang on, I eventually said to myself. Cookie Cutters…that could work? Right? RIGHT? – Scouring through internet shopping sites and not seeing cookie cutters unless for Halloween and Christmas a few were eventually bought.

Behold. Cookie Cutter Flowers

@two_gindependent_women @ginmare

Cookie Cutters worked ALOT Better, still with some of the thick skins making sure you are able to see the shape took some time, but certainly not the hour I was spending using a knife. Finally more garnishes taking a bit more shape. Que downloading a how to guide on Garnishes.

Behold. Flower Cucumber

@two_gindependent_women @hendricksgin

Using the instructions given I slowly put together a Cucumber Rose, which SPOILERS, is just, if not more difficult and LONGER to create. Although having a new found appreciation as to how some garnishes were put together, it still took craft and time. I tried to re-think of ways to up my garnish game, from the pieces I had cut out, what can I form?

Behold. Playing with Fruit, then going back to the Knife.

@two_gindependent_women @bluethorngin

Cutting a piece of fruit skin then trying to make it into something pretty, was easier, getting it to sit into the glass was not. Oh yes you can see its a heart, you cant see me trying to make sure it stays like that. Alas the Garnish game still quite not there. Resorting to the knife, instead I thought of ways to use the garnish to go with its backdrop

@two_gindependent_women @stgilesgin

Using backdrops I again remembered I am remotely Arty & started to draw something that would go with the Gin I am presenting, then using the Garnish to help with it. Using a knife I quickly carved out something fitting to the picture. I was feeling more confident I could get better.


Behold. A Duck

@two_gindependent_women @bathtubginuk

FINALLY. I worked out how to do the GARNISH GAME….Via Scissors. YEP! SPOILERS this was created out of using scissors. Initially using a knife to cut a piece of skin off the fruit, I then cut a duck out of the skin. HAZAAR!!!! Then I used something that completely changed it all…

Behold. Crafting.

@two_gindependent_women @malfygin @distillersofsurrey @oldamershamgin @jarroldsgin @silentpool

Craft Knife. The tool I had in my “Tool” box for many years and it was just sitting there waiting for the lightbulb in my head to go off and remember that (Lightbulb is actually Laura, after telling her I used scissors she said “I need to get you a craft knife”)

@two_gindependent_women @gunpowder.gin

FINALLY. I had cracked the Garnish Game. Now that I have, I dont feel I need to anymore…swings and roundabouts. I am sure the fruity garnish inspiration will come back and no doubt create more, for now though I can sit back and know I had cracked that game and won (*WELL THE GAME THAT WAS IN MY HEAD*)

N xx


Birth of @two_gindependent_women

After some toying over whether to start up a blog (and also the time to do so) We both finally agreed its time to set something up and occasionally remember to add to it when we can!

I mean, currently in the Year 2020, the word ‘Busy’ could be considered not to be an actual word anymore. However you find ways to become busy again, even if you can rarely leave the house. So for Laura, she goes for walks with her two dogs & two kids…Me, Natalie…Well…’Busy’ is also called being L.A.Z.Y

Circa: 2013 @two_gindependent_women


We met in 2010 through a mutual friend, although both had known of each other beforehand [Insert story of me being friends with Lauras boyfriend now Husband at the time…No really, not going to add that story, nothing bad happened at all, but how do women get other women on their radar unless you are female and friends with their boyfriends? Haha] – Laura, came over to my house to see my housemate and instead what she had was a conversation with me and realising our personalities and general well beings were pretty similar (We thought we were funny)

Now its 10 years later and she is one of my best friends.

SOCIAL media butterflies

How did the Instagram and eventual blog come about?


In Early 2019 as I was laying in bed looking through Instagram, I noticed a “people you may know” and the little tiny picture was a photo of Laura’s place with a few gin bottles. “One_gindependent_woman” Recognising the picture I clicked onto the profile, noticing a couple more photos and a few taken at mine, I sent her a few messages.

[Me] 08:08 “So”

[Me] 08:08 “Youve created a Gun Account”

[Me] 08:08 [Confused emojis]

[Me] 08:08 “Lol”

[Me] 08:08 “Gin”

[Me] 08:11 “You should change it to two and give me the details so I can log in and post Gin stuff”

[Laura] 08:12 “Haha Yeah did it pop up?

[Nat] 08:12 “Yeah with your name”

[Laura] “Haha OK ill change it”

And that…is how it became “Two_Gindependent_Women”

Sorry there is no action packed filled race to become this name on an instagram account. We had already been going to Gin Festivals, holding Gin Dinner parties with our friends (hence the pictures I recognised)



From there, our Instagram account has grown!

Since its creation we have found this giant amazing Gin community of people who love everything relating to Gin and its wonderful chatting with other people who are like minded as us. Its also amazing to find the businesses that you would not see in major supermarkets who sell the most fantastic Gins, which, has made us extremely poorer [and constant tuts from our other halves] as we have to buy and try! Unfortunately I consider myself a Bottle Whore, so if the bottle is beautiful its very hard for me not to purchase, even if I havent tried the Gin yet. Yes, mistakes have been made and some Gins have not been pleasant at all. However, that Gin then becomes my “Guest Gin” to people who think they like Gin, but will only drink it when they see me.

When we find Gins we love its hard to not see them constantly pop up on our page, as we want to share our love for that Gin so that other people can buy and love it also. Thats what we love to do, pressure other people to love the same things as us..Haha (Joking…ha ha?)

We really just want to make sure small businesses get equal acknowledgement to what larger Gin companies can get, and even though we dont have the biggest follower base we still hope someone will buy anothers gin just from our shoddy phone camera pictures!

We will add to another page our favourite gins as we know it will only get bigger, like our Gin Shelves. I mean between us we have ALOT of Gin to get through! Working from home, I currently sit next to my Gin Shelf! It doesnt make me want to drink whist working but it certainly gives me slight OCD if the bottle is out of place…!! (Corner of my eye noticing a bottle as I type)


To describe us? We consider ourselves to be realists, if we dont like it we are pretty honest about it. We are also not those typical over happy over positive people…unless we really love something, means we really do!

My face has what they call the “Resting Bitch Face” which also Importantly note, having RBF and therefore hardly smiling attributes to my youthful complexion which now falls into the category of MID to LATE 30’s…Thats what I keep telling myself anyway…

Laura on the other hand she smiles alot more and is certainly more positive and outgoing (im sure when she is reading this she is pulling some sort of face…pffft) Although she can add more as i have now said to much already.

More Importantly to all this though it has kept our friendship growing and even stronger

Now we just need to be allowed to go to festivals, holidays and basically SEE EACHOTHER

N xx

Still sober home from @junipalooza @two_gindependent_women

#ginblog #gin #introductions