June’s Gin Explorer Box was a veritable tour de force of four of England’s most exciting new gin distilleries, plus a very special new tonic.
We certainly hope you’ve had a chance to sample some of June’s amazing gins. We were especially happy with this box. 3 of this month’s gins are modern classics; some of the best craft gins in the world. The last gin is brand new and not available anywhere else yet, but we predict it’s certain to be a future favourite.
Unusually, Pinkster Gin was born out of frustration. When founder Stephen Marsh was told to quit drinking wine he accepted doctor’s orders but wasn’t quite ready to give up booze entirely. So, he set his eyes on spirits and started working his way through the fruit bowl for the perfect flavour to suit him. After much experimentation, he hit upon raspberries. Their delicate flavour added a subtle fruitiness that appeals to both casual and dedicated gin lovers.
Pinkster is a deliciously dry gin with the juniper coming through very clearly. We specifically use the word “clearly” as the juniper is neither strong nor overpowering. Instead, it blends beautifully with the raspberries for an exceptional gin.
Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin was created by family team Karl and Cathy Mason, with the objective of making a different tasting gin, one that truly represented Yorkshire. Based in Bedale, the Masons use juniper from their own bushes and Harrogate spring water to capture the terroir of their county.
Masons is an incredibly smooth spirit with malty grain notes reminiscent of a white whisky base. There is less juniper here than other dry gins, though definitely enough not to disappoint. Instead, the gin is mixed so that each botanical can shine in turn. Coriander plays alongside bright juniper and orange, before moving onto sweet and spicy cardamom and fennel.
Based in the village of Marden in Kent, Anno Distillers (the makers of Anno Kent Dry Gin) are the first distillery to operate in the county since the 1800’s. The name comes from founders Andy and Norman, former professional chemists, who have taken their science background and applied it towards making delicious gins. Adding a bit of flavour magic to their chemistry means they’ve become alchemists, and they’ve embraced that idea fully. The symbol that adorns each bottle of Anno is from a German alchemical alphabet and means “distillation.”
Unusually, Anno have published their full list of botanicals on their website. As well as common botanicals like coriander, orris root, angelica, lemon and, of course, juniper, they’ve taken inspiration from the bountiful Kentish countryside with some more unusual ingredients that are highly evocative of the garden of England. English hops add a bittersweet element, Kentish lavender creates a creamy mouthfeel and coastal samphire imparts a savoury burst that lifts every other element in this startling gin.
Lakes Distillery, like many modern distilleries, set out to make whisky first and foremost. In fact, they wanted to be the first ever distillery in the Lakes District, making use of their incredible water sources to produce an outstanding single malt. But they needed to sell something while the whisky matured. That practical decision developed into a passion, because lakes Distillery has produced a pair of incredible gins, their standard London Dry and now Lakes Explorer.
The Lakes Distillery is the only UK distillery permitted to use wild Cumbrian juniper in the production of their gin, and that, combined with water from Bassenthwaite Lake (the only true lake in the district as all the others are meres or waters), gives this gin a unique sense of place. The Lakes Explorer is stronger and more robustly flavoured than their classic London Dry. This gin is an even-handed blend of peppery juniper, a range of herbal flavours and fresh citrus aromas. Surprisingly smooth and exceptionally delicious, with tremendous depth on the palate.
Peter Spanton has produced a range of tonics and mixers that are designed to satisfy serious connoisseurs. His tonics include added botanical aromas that can highlight their shared presence in some gins or transform the balance of flavours in others. Number 9 Cardamom Tonic, as the name suggests, positively bursts with Cardamom! It creates a strikingly delicious partner with many gins as cardamom is one of the most common botanicals in gin. In particular, it pairs delightfully with the Masons from this month’s box.And to go with all that lovely gin a little snack to keep our Gin Explorers fortified on their journey. Joe & Seph make exceptionally high-quality gourmet popcorn in plenty of inventive flavour varieties, including a good old G&T. Perfect for snacking on whilst watching a cinematic classic like; Gindiana Jones & the Tonic of Doom, Gin-vasion of the Body Snatchers or The Gin-credibles.
The deadline for July’s box is the 5th of July. The contents are secret, but we do promise something from one of the world’s oldest distilling families, a gin that definitely smells delicious and something that’s just nuts!
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