Top gins for World Gin Day
In celebration of World Gin Day on Saturday 9 June, why not help yourself to an IWSC award-winning gin?
Gin has never been more popular. The IWSC – the world’s oldest wine and spirit competition – is still tallying its gin entries for 2018.
Over 600 gins have been sent in so far, a mighty 50% increase on last year’s total. They come from more than 38 different countries – from Bolivia, Greece and the Faroe Islands, Russia, Romania, India and Israel – and of course the UK.
Experts reckon there are more than 3000 gins produced worldwide. We are truly in the middle of a Global Gin Explosion, and the sheer volume of gins in the shelves can be daunting to the most dedicated gin-lover.
With this explosion comes a bewildering increase in the range of botanicals used, from ants and seaweed to clotted cream, buckthorn, blueberry, yuzu and cherry blossom – and juniper, of course, which is still the required ingredient for almost all gin styles.
To help you choose the best gin for your taste and pocket, spirits expert and IWSC panel chair David T Smith presented seven great bottles from different countries and in different styles at his latest IWSC masterclass – suitably entitled The Global Gin Explosion.
Juniper upfront, with a very silky, viscous texture. The start is classic in style, but followed by a pop of intensity with coriander, bright floral notes, and citrus peel. The profile then develops into warm, sweet spice notes that lead onto the finish, which is long, lingering, and dry. This is a great example of how a distiller can achieve a procession of character and varying intensity in their gin. Tasting note by David T Smith.
Where to buy: Home Delivery Wine, £29.99
Incredibly pronounced and complex on the nose, with a profile and quality that commands attention. Super-fresh aromas of pine, mixed herbs, assorted citrus come to the fore along with a healthy suggestion of juniper. Bold and expressive on the palate, with an exciting vividness of flavour and complexity. Seamlessly balanced and impressively long, this is without doubt a class act.
Where to buy: Master of Malt, £34.75
Exotic and enticing on the nose – something discerningly different. Fruit driven and atypical with aromas of tangerine and lime coming to the fore, amongst a backdrop of botanical complexity. Controlled but fruity in the mouth. Vivid and lively, with a nice point of difference. Demands attention, and deseradly so.
Where to buy: Master of Malt, £27.95
Aromatic pepper on the nose with a delicate sweetness, zesty citrus, and cherry blossom. To taste, an intricate blend of botanicals, starting with dry earthiness and moving onto spicy coriander. More citrus peel notes follow, then comes a blooming burst of cherry blossom that is both soft and elegantly sweet. In contrast, the finish is dry and piney, with a light glow of peppercorns.
Where to buy: The Whisky Exchange, £46.25
Complex, classic, intense nose that is bright and lifted. Intense, citrus, juniper heavy pronounced nose personified. Incredibly intense, vivid and fresh in the mouth, zesty, powerfully botanical with explosive flavour.
Where to buy: Master of Malt, £37.95
On the nose the gin shows cedar, pine, juniper and resin undertones. On the palate hints of coriander seeds, touch citrus, and herbal, minty charecter on the finish. Very classically London Dry!
Where to buy: The Whisky Exchange, £16.45
Nose: Cinnamon buns, citrus, and juniper surround woody cask notes. Taste: Smooth, with a little sweetness and oily vanilla note along with resinous pine. A good example of a gin that has been cask-aged in new oak barrels.
- “As a start-up brand you focus hard on achieving credibility and creating awareness. Winning Gold Outstanding and the Mezcal Trophy provided us with a level of credibility and exposure that we simply could not have achieved on our own. The awards helped secure key listings in Harvery Nichols and Selfridges and certainly played a significant part in opening up dialogue with potential U.S importers and ultimately securing one. I thought hard about which competition to enter and what the return on that investment would be. I can say with absolute confidence that the IWSC was worth every penny.”David ShepherdFounder & Director, Corte Vetusto
- “IWSC is a very important competition to us in terms of showing consumers our quality. It's one of the competitions that we definitely enter on a yearly basis.”Ian ChangMaster Blender, Kavalan Distillery
- “Out of all of the awards, the IWSC is probably the most prestigious and most honest awards. You choose your judges very well and they're very good, honest, decent people. They do it for the love of the industry.”Sukhinder SinghMD, The Whisky Exchange
- “The IWSC is a very prestigious competition. The prestige is a great thing to be able to communicate to our customers who have great respect for it.”David PorterOperations & Buying, Lea & Sandeman
- “The IWSC represents everything, without a doubt. There's no better competition in the world where you can judge yourself not just against your countrymen but against the rest of the world.”Andy AndersonWinemaker, Takapoto Estate
- “Fantastic company and fantastic award . . . In the wine industry, having an award like this is such an accolade.”Claire GriffithsCommercial Director, Vina Cono Sur
- “It's one of the greatest international awards you can get. It's similar to an Oscar, if you like.”Lenz MoserWinemaker, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Company
- “Because of the number of international judges that are tasting the wines and the number of wines that are being entered, it’s a great privilege for us to receive this award. The history of the competition, the standing that it has amongst the international wine world and certainly amongst one’s peers, to be able to get an award at the IWSC means a lot. There are a lot of competitions around the world – this probably represents the top award you could get as a winemaker.”Gary & Kathy JordanWinemakers, Jordan Wine Estate
- “It’s a great honour to win especially as nowadays people are focusing on the quality not just the numbers, so it does mean a huge amount getting recognition from an institution as well sought after as the IWSC.”Chris BlandyOwner, Blandy's Wines
- “This will be a recognition that will help in building the brand further, and building its prestige around the world.”Victor FuentesDirector General, El Coto de Rioja S.A
- “The IWSC is a well renowned, well looked up to standard and a symbol of premium products so it’s a great achievement to win any award.”Andrea FreeboroughCellar Master, Nederburg Wines