In order to be considered a gin, a spirit must be distilled using juniper berries - after this, anything goes, bringing a whole world of exciting possibilities to the tip of your tongue. The way I see it, gin is one of the most – if not THE most – creative and versatile spirits around. The possibilities for blends and mixes stretch far into the beyond.
And I’m definitely not alone in thinking this! Gin has seen a huge increase in Britain over the last ten years and the Wee G & T festival in Perth is a great example of this.
Numerous independent distilleries have dived into the depths of creativity, experimenting with flavours in much the same way as a painter swirls their brush upon their palette.
Now more than ever this is clear to see, as numerous independent distilleries dive into the depths of creativity, experimenting with flavours in much the same way as a painter swirls their brush upon their palette, chasing that pertinent note of flavour, as an artist chases hues and depth.
On this tantalising note, I think it’s time to take a little look at some of the exciting creations on offer during this year’s Wee G & T fest in Perth. There really is something for everyone here, and with this in mind, I’ve highlighted a something for every mood and taste.
Blood orange and gin seem like a match made in heaven! The citrus notes of blood orange have just that little bit more depth to it and when infused into gin makes for a sophisticated pairing. The addition of the herbal earthiness of coriander seed ensures this blend stays fresh, yet refined. Said to capture memories of a honeymoon spent in Sicily, this blend offers a taste of the Mediterranean sun.
This is one of two blood orange blends on offer at this year’s Wee G & T fest; the other being Redcastle’s Blood Orange & Rhubarb Gin Liqueur, a sweeter, more candied take on the blood orange gin, drawing upon the berry-like sweetness of the blood orange to a greater degree.
The clue is in the name! This savoury delight is a blend that is simple on the surface, with hidden complexities. This gin goes down very smooth, leaving an ‘olive oil mouthfeel’, making it perfect if you like your gin straight to the point and on the rocks.
A few basil leaves for garnish are recommended to really bring out the herbaceous undertones. Although savoury, this blend is well balanced, creating a mouth-watering harmony between a gentle sweetness and reassuring earthiness. A simple mix suggested by Persie themselves is a little tomato juice, a drip of sherry, and a splash of Tabasco. Splendid!
So maybe I’m a little bit biased here, as a native Dundonian. But this gin looks too tempting to not include! A fresh take on an old tradition, the history of Dundee Marmalade goes back to the 18th century. A Spanish ship, filled with a consignment of Seville Oranges took shelter from a storm in Dundee’s harbour. A Dundonian grocer decided to purchase these oranges – however was dismayed to find they were too bitter to eat. His wife however saw opportunity, and boiled them with sugar: thus creating Dundee Marmalade.
The Dundee Gin Co. continue this tradition in a new form with their signature gin liqueur that pairs a sweet, syrupy richness of flavour with the clean finish of a dry gin base. A favourite amongst not only Dundonians, but a worldwide audience, this is not a gin liqueur to be missed – a classic paired with a lovely bubbly lemonade, or even just as is.
We love a concept! And this is an intriguing one that adopts a synesthetic approach more commonly seen in perfumery, where smells stir thought and memory. Here, Raven Gin - Aberdeenshire's newest gin - highlights the concept evoked through the flavour – a great example of the creative strides being made by smaller, independent distilleries.
The name is a reference to Norse mythology, specifically to two ravens – Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory), who acted as messengers to the king of Gods, Odin. And as the taste of this gin unfurls on your tongue, you get a taste of its darkness and light. The darkness of the cubeb pepper harks to the black of the raven’s wing, the hint of mandarin evoking the promise of a sunrise, a first ray of light in morning skies soon to come. The cinnamony warmth of cassia bark reassures and holds together these contrasting flavours, providing comfort as the days grow shorter, and the nights stretch out forever.
Two words: gin cheesecake. If I haven’t sold it to you already I’m afraid there’s nothing more I can do, because the treats baked up at Maxwells Desserts sound so blatantly delicious and appealing!
Past magical creations by Maxwell’s Desserts have spanned from a passionfruit gin cheesecake, to gin Bakewell muffins, and even gin infused botanical marshmallows! I for one am ready to be wowed by the tantalising creations that Maxwell's will bring to the table this year!
With a vast number of smaller, independent distilleries springing up across Scotland, innovation is truly brimming in the gin sector. Perth’s Wee G & T festival showcases the best amongst these: the most creative, wild and wonderful gins will be on display, alongside steadfast classics.
So what do you think? Do you have any favourite gins? And what’s your favourite way to pair it – with the classic tonic or something a bit more out there? Let us know – and if you need me, I’ll be at the gin fest sampling a few…for work related purposes obviously!
Provender Brown’s Wee G&T Festival returns for its third year at an all new venue – the Dewars Centre – on Saturday, the 15th of September 2018. Book your tickets here before they sell out!
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