Conker Dorset Dry Gin with Tonica Superfine Tassoni
Conker Gin begins with a drive from Dorset to find the New Forest spring water that is the only water owner Rupert Holloway deems good enough to use in the creation of his gin. He then transports it back and combines it with a wheat based spirit and gorse flowers gathered by hand and this is when the process to Conker begins. The other botanicals in Conker include: bitter orange, lime peel, samphire, elderberries, cassia bark, orris root, angelica root, corriander seeds and, of course, juniper.
The story of Conker is one that I enjoy and it shows the power of stubborn determination. Rupert Holloway simply wanted to make gin and with no real clue how to go about it he just started and eventually got there by trial and error. He claims that his ignorance on the subject of distillation was more a benefit than a hindrance as it didn’t limit what he did to what was generally regarded as right and wrong in the distilling world.
Conker started with one 30 litre still, grew into two before upgrading again to a pair of 60 litre guys and retiring the others.
I cannot recommend this gin highly enough.
I served it with the Tassoni tonic which, I’ll give you, isn’t one you really ever see. I figured it would go well with the Conker as it has quite a balanced citrus flavour and I always feel that I really enjoy Conker served with something like that.
I didn’t feel the combo worked quite as well as I thought it would though but I still really enjoyed it.
Garnish – Lime
Country of oriGIN – Dorset, UK
RRP – £36 approx
ABV – 40%
G&T Score – 6/10
Audemus Pink Peppercorn with Fever Tree Clemantine and Cinnamon Tonic
I’ll start off by being upfront about two things;
- This is my favourite gin… It’s so unique and so dangerously drinkable that I’ve found it unrivalled.
- I didn’t think this combo was something I would enjoy.
Audemus combine 9 botanicals to make the gin. These are independently infused within a pure, neutral grain alcohol. They also take the top notes of juniper, pink peppercorn and cardamon and distill them separately in a bespoke, low pressure, glass vacuum still called a brunhilda. Their base notes are locally sourced and include honey, vanilla and tonka beans.
Interesting fact… Audemus dedicate their batches to family and friends and, if you jump onto their website, you can check who your batch was dedicated to… It’s a nice touch.
I always love the way, when I drink this, whether neat or mixed the vanilla taste is strikingly subtle with a lovely balance of beautiful, sweet spice from the peppercorns that I instantly adored. I was actually still drinking my first serve of this when I started hunting it down online and purchased it… It’s that good.
My palate is something I am working on improving but even with my basic palate I can easily pick up the flavours in this gin.
I generally mix it with aromatic tonic, however, on recommendation from Audemus themselves I took a risk and mixed it with the Fever Tree limited edition Clemantine and Cinnamon tonic and, I must admit, it was glorious. I hummed and hawed about what to garnish it with. I was swithering between my old faithful or mixing it up with some orange and cinnamon sticks… But what I do find with this tonic is you need to be careful with it because, as wonderful as it is, it can overpower the gin. This was the deciding factor for me so I stuck with my regular garnish to help pull the gin through the tonic.
Garnish – pink peppercorn and raspberries
Country of oriGIN – Congnac, France
RRP – £39.95 approx
ABV – 44%
G&T Score – 10/10
Manchester Gin Wild Spirit with Schweppes 1783 Light Tonic
The striking bottles that contain the beautiful liquids distilled by Manchester Gin are made all the more eyecatching when you get a look at the label and find a bee… This is a gin that embraces its community and has used the symbol of Manchester as it’s logo… The bee… Specifically the worker bee. Mancunians have been known for their work ethic since the industrial revolution.
If you’re local to the area you may have seen the Distiller Bee as part of the Bee in the City sculpture set over the summer… This was sponsored by the Manchester Gin guys.
Onto the gin itself… I have a few Manchester Gins (including the limited Distiller’s Cut from the Craft Gin Club)… and I’ve tried them all… This is my favourite of the lot.
The best way to describe this is how the chap from MG at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival explained it to me… Its basically their Signature gin but with less citrus and more herbs. He said they basically took away the citrus botanicals and replaced these with things like thyme, lemon balm, sage and others.
I can’t really be doing with neat spirits but, I’ll be honest, if there has ever been one that could potentially get me to enjoy it straight… It’s this one.
I haven’t had this gin for a while and so wanted to enjoy it with just a light tonic to really just savour the gin itself. Luckily I had picked up the new 1783 range from Schweppes which I had had before and quite enjoyed but haven’t had for a while due to lack of availability.
Garnish – Blackberries and thyme
Country of oriGIN – Manchester, England
RRP – £32 approx
ABV – 40%
G&T Score- 7/10
Twitter: @ConkerSpirit, @Audemus_Spirits, @MCR_Gin, @FeverTreeMixers, @CedrataTassoni, @SchweppesGB