How can I tell a really good gin?
How can you tell a really good gin? Are all artisan gins great gins?
If you are asking these questions, then you’re about to start on a splendid journey, but first, you need to narrow down the field.
These days practically everyone in the business (apart from the mass producers) describes their gin is an ‘artisan’ gin. ‘Artisan’ doesn’t actually mean a lot if it isn’t accompanied by the elements that support the claim.
ARTISAN: a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand.
“street markets where local artisans display handwoven textiles, painted ceramics, and leather goods”
craftsman, craftswoman, craftsperson, skilled worker, mechanic, technician, operative, maker, smith, wright, journeyman;
(of food or drink) made in a traditional or non-mechanized way using high-quality ingredients.
E.G.”Britain’s artisan cheeses”
So here are three things to look for:
- Single estate – so the gin ingredients are grown, distilled and bottled from one source. Most gins on the market are made from industrial spirit and, frankly, it is not very nice.
- Small batch – actually made in small quantities for better quality control. With small batches of liquor it’s easy to remove the ‘nasties’ – the heads and tails – that are bitter, leaving only the sweet and sumptuous heart from which to build the most beautiful gin.
- A master distiller who is a total legend. Take Dr John Walters for instance. He is a world champion gin maker. Oh, and did we mention, he makes our gin?
So if you don’t have these things,
- an acknowledged and acclaimed top-of-their-game craftsperson
- a traditional and non-mechanized method
- that uses high quality ingredients,
Then you haven’t got artisan.
Read labels carefully, looking for ‘small batch’ and ‘single estate.’ Google to find out who is doing the distilling and how they’re doing it. The research will pay off.
Finally, check out where it is being sold and drunk.
Fancy labels and unusual bottles and liquor colourings aside, if you really want your gin to ‘chin chin’ with the premier league, put in a little research. Paying a bit more for your gin will deliver big on taste and experience. It also means you’re making an informed purchase when you invest your money in a bigger ticket bottle. You won’t be disappointed.