Introduction to Gin tasting

Last Wednesday night bore witness to the first ever Weavers gin tasting at our tasting rooms on Castle Gate. Despite hosting regular wine tasting events for longer than any of us can remember, and stocking over 30 different gins, this was first time we’d invited the public to join us in experimenting with this quintessentially English spirit so we were a little unsure of what to expect. Thankfully the night was well received and the quality of the spirits shined through.

In all, we tasted five expressions of gin over the course of the evening, ranging from traditional London drys from the East End to century old pre-prohibition cocktails from the United States.

Fifty Pounds Gin

The first gin of the evening was probably the most traditional with the recipe itself dating back to the original gin craze of the early 1700’s. Shortly after the Gin Act 1736 a family of independent London Distillers came up with an original gin recipe, known ironically amongst themselves as ‘Fifty Pounds’ in honour of the Gin Act levy which enforced a levy of £50 on every gin-making still in the country. The gin itself shows lemon, lime, juniper, and very classic in character. Slight sweetness with a touch of creamy lemon on the nose. The palate opens with juniper, followed by lemon, coriander and angelica. Slight spice, with citrus developing in the middle. Hints of anise, angelica, juniper and citrus rind. Dry and clean finish.


Gin number two was the first of a trio of American gins, the highly unusual Leopold’s gin from Denver, Colorado. The Leopold Brothers distill hand-numbered, batch-made products, all made from scratch and using only natural ingredients. Among the distinctive methods used to make Leopold is the separate distillation of each botanical used in flavouring its products prior to blending and final distillation. When you bear in mind that they only use a single 40 gallon still and have dozens of botanicals to distil you start to get a picture of how much effort this involves. The gin itself is light, soft, and refreshing but with immense complexity and clarity of flavour.

Death’s Door

The third gin of the night is a gin that whilst being on of the most highly regarded on the planet also has one of the most simple recipes, comprising of nothing but juniper, coriander, and fennel.

Death’s Door hails from Washington Island in Wisconsin and draws its name from the Door Passage strait of water which separates the island with the rest of the State. All the wheat used in making the base spirit for the gin is grown on the island and with wheat plantings growing from 5 acres in 2005 to over 1200 acres today! a true testament to the quality of this delicious gin.


Next up was local hero and rising star of the distilling industry, Redsmith London Dry. Hailing from Ruddington, Redsmith is the only gin to be distilled in the great county of Nottinghamshire. The man responsible is ex plumber and engineer Wayne Ascher who aside from coming up with the botanical concoction for the drink actually built the still from scratch. As you can probably imagine, production is small with only 65 bottles being produced per batch. Thankfully he hasn’t allowed this to affect the quality or consistency of the product and he was rewarded last your with the title of “Best classic Gin” in the prestigious 2016 Craft Distilling Expo in London.


Last but not least we tasted the Aviation Gin but decided to add a little twist by incorporating it into the classic American cocktail with the same name. This consists of 50ml Aviation Gin, 15ml Maraschino Liqueur, 10ml Liqueur de Violette, a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice and a morello cherry. This produces an intensely perfumed classic cocktail in which the juniper, red fruit and violette elements work in perfect unison with delicious results.

All in all the evening was a great success and this is due in no small part to the continuing rise in quality and subsequent popularity of gin itself. A couple of years ago eyebrows would have been raised at the thought of an exclusive gin tasting but the runaway train that is the current gin craze shows no sign of stopping.

Unfortunately we aren’t able to to show all of our gins in a single evening but the vast majority are available to taste at our shop at No 1 Castle Gate so pop in for a taste with Chris, Fergus, or myself any time!


Comments are closed.