So, today we start our (belated) look at the wonderful products we were fortunate enough to present on our stand. The first of which is the only non-whisky product we served up on the day, an awesome gin from independent whisky bottler Gleann Mor.
One of the greatest things about the festival was the diversity of the brands and products available. The festival organisers commented afterwards that people were asking where they could get gin at the festival, and these weren’t just girlfriends who’d been dragged along by whisky loving partners, despite them not really having a chance of liking anything. Such is the sheer popularity of gin, even hardened whisky festival attendees are on the lookout for a burst of botanicals. Normally, the festival organisers are the bearers of bad news. However, not at this festival. A steady stream of punters arrived at our stand, interested in trying a unique product.
Anyway, onto the gin. What makes Firkin Oak Aged Gin, winner of best taste in category at the 2017 World Whisky awards, different?
The first thing to note is the colour. We’ve all been to enough whisky tastings to have heard a million times that all of the colour of in a whisky comes from the barrel (unless it’s Dalmore: finest purveyors of pork crunch colouring). The three months that this gin has spent in the American oak barrels have given it a golden, straw-like colour; darker than many bourbon cask whiskies I’ve seen, that have been aged for far longer.
Bottle opened, Derek Mair (MD of Gleann Mor) had advised us to pour and sip neat, before adding a mixer and trying again. The nose neat was a spicy combination of fresh mint and dried citrus peel – I got oranges, the other two got lemons, so we’ll settle with citrus. There was also the caramel elements of the American oak, and a slight middle-eastern tinge, possibly brought on by the coriander seeds and orris root, which are among the main botanicals powering the gin.
On the palate, the neat gin was creamy and sweet, very (maybe even too…) easy to drink and, despite its 46% abv, not overly alcohol tasting, which is something that has put me off gin in the past. The coriander spice was definitely prominent and there was just a hint of cinnamon.
The oak was the main factor behind the finish. Lot of pepper notes and a long, warm sweetness.
The mixer of choice was Sekforde’s botanical mixer for whisky, which was the perfect complement, and enhancement, for the vanilla and caramel notes of the American oak imparted into the gin, as well as developing the citrus elements, and proving that I was right with oranges!
Overall, you know you have a special gin on your hands, when it holds its own at a festival celebrating whisky! Throughout the day, it proved a real talking point and a popular addition to the stand. If you like whisky, and you like gin, this is a match made in heaven.
Firkin oak aged gin is available to purchase in both 250ml and 700ml bottles, starting at £19.50, from: http://firkingin.co.uk/original-firkin-gin/