I’m sitting in my garden on this, the last day of my three weeks annual leave from work. It’s a stunningly beautiful, warm day – provided the sun stays out. I’m typing this up because I got bored waiting for the other half to build the fire (badly and with little success at this point, 40 minutes in) that is going to keep us warm when the sun hides in the clouds. We had planned on playing games and drinking but… There’s no games until this fire gets going…. So I might as well get some writing done eh?
Garden Shed is one of those gins I felt drawn to right away…. Simply because of the location of it’s base of operations.
Garden Shed started life as so many things do… An idea that seemed like fun after a few glasses of wine.
One of the founders, Ryan, had visited Eden Mill and spent the day at their distillery and was inspired… The wine started flowing and the four founders (Ryan, Maxine, Kirstin and Ruaridh) got their heads together and Garden Shed was born.
Ryan hails from Malaysia and spent 12 years playing professional rugby and 3 years in the British Army. He also has a batchelors degree in environmental science and is at the forefront of ensuring the Garden Shed Drinks Company is as environmentally friendly as possible
Maxine grew up in a remote area in Zambia and loves the environment. When she moved to Scotland in 2000 she met Ryan and the two were eventually married. Maxine has a background of hospitality and a decade of experience working within the beauty industry. She currently concentrates her energy on the branding and design for Garden Shed.
Kirstin is a gin enthusiast and, similarly to her co-founders, has a passion for the environment. Kirstin is a chartered member of the Landscape Institute and studied landscape architecture at Edinburgh College of Art. She keeps the graphics on point and has the tough job of sampling the gin… Its a tough life!
Ruaridh, Kirstin’s other half, has a love for alcohol and a passion for everything about it. He loves the fact that due to the complexity and variety available he is always learning. Ruaridh spent 12 years playing professional rugby. A passionate outdoors man his wants to help the environment.
After the idea is born you need to decide what botanicals you want in your gin. The guys at Garden Shed say they wanted to incorporate botanicals that can be found in your garden ie lavender, blackberries and dandelion root… “not all our ingredients came from the garden but they formed the bones of our recipe”.
Using a steep and boil method of distillation with multi-shooting in a Hoga Copper Pot Still they spent five months experimenting before coming up with the final product. Its worth noting that Garden Shed is distilled as a London Dry gin… This means nothing is added post distillation.
Each batch of Garden Shed is now over 1000 bottles… But this is batch 7. The first batch was a tiny 150 which, I don’t imagine, lasted very long!
- Fresh Blackberries
- Grains of Paradise
- Dandelion Root
- Lemon Peel
- Liquorice Root
- Angelica Root
ABV – 45%
Size – 70cl
RRP – £39.95
Based – Glasgow, UK
Contract Distilled by Eden Mill or Strathern Distillery
I wanted to quickly mention the charities the garden Shed Drinks Co work with… For every case of gin they sell they plant a tree with Trees4Scotland in an effort to offset any carbon emissions. They also donate the same amount to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.
When you first see Garden Shed the bottle catches your eye… A sleek design in a stubby bottle. The label proudly talks about its Glasgow connections and has some of the botanicals illustrated on it. The logo looks, to me, like two sprigs (… is it sprigs?… We’ll just run with sprigs) of lavender and a little bee… This, I reckon is in line with their environmental pursuits. Spin the bottle to the back and you see the batch information with signatures and their hashtag – #plantingtreesandsavingbees. There is also a small blurb about the gin including the recommended serve… Which I’ll get into in a bit.
The other two notable features are the twine that’s been hand-wrapped round the top and the unbelievably sexy little wooden label… Never seen anything like that… very very classy.
Anyway… I bet you wanna know what this little belter tastes like? You’re in luck because I don’t just review the bottle…
First off I pass the gin near my nose and I get a bit of juniper but the nose (swanky gin word that) is predominantly citrus.
Tasting the gin neat I get an initial and fleeting hit of the lavender, then I get a big shot of liquorice and what I’d imagine dandelion to taste like which is odd… Then suddenly I’m back to the lavender… Also if you do that tasting thing where you smack your mouth (you know what I mean… That thing everyone does when trying to taste something) I get the blackberries. The more I work through the sample I poured the more I really taste the liquorice and lavender. I then noticed, as I went to put more in the glass so I can taste it with water as I may have tanned the whole sample I poured, that I could taste this lovely fresh citrus flavour… Almost every botanical comes in waves.
So I poured another sample and mixed it with some water and I’m getting that lavender again with the citrus coming up a little earlier. I don’t feel the same depth of flavour when adding the water with this gin… Which is weird because I usually feel that I get more when I add the water.
When tonic is added it doesn’t have the same dilution of flavour effect that the water does. The lavender is still the strongest flavour and, I’ll be totally honest, it takes a bit of getting used to but stick with it because your taste buds adapt to it and you can feel the beauty of how it works in with the other botanicals.
I experimented the other day when we were sitting in the garden having a few drinks and mixed Garden Shed with both a regular light tonic and a herbal/botanical tonic. I preferred the light tonic as I felt it allowed the flavours to come through and didn’t mask any of the gin. The other tonic was preferred by my other half. It created a more flavourful drink but the gin was slightly hidden… Which is probably why I didn’t like it quite as much… I like to taste the gin.
On that I, personally, feel that this gin deserves a ratio of no more than 1:2 gin to tonic.
The recommended serve of this in terms of garnish is fresh rosemary and blackberries… I’ve drank so much of this that I’ve decimated my two rosemary plants….
This gin has a depth of flavour I reckon alot of distillers could only dream of achieving. The love in this bottle is incredible. To hand wrap the twine round the neck must be a real pain but they do it… It looks great and shows the dedication to every element. Every botanical appears in its own little wave of flavour… Its something you need to go and try to actually fully appreciate.
I asked Maxine to sum up Garden Shed and this is what she told me:
“Garden Shed is an Eco friendly brand inspired by the Garden with very humble beginnings – saving the planet 1 drink at a time! We hope that when people think of it the associate it with quality and see the love and pride that has gone into it”
So… Try this gin. Because you’ve loved this review go follow my social media as my photos are getting much better so you’ll enjoy that and also the patter on Twitter is decent… AND you’ll only see my absolutely amazing* review trailers if you follow my social media… They’re a dash of genius with a sprinkle of super creativity…
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