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Review:

7 Dials Gin

Distillery

Created by the London Gin Club, Soho, London (with Master of Malt, Tunbridge Wells, Kent), England, UK.

Website

The London Gin Club and Master of Malt.

History

The Star at Night in Soho is a bar with a special focus on Gin, hosting over 175 brands. It has been operating since 1933 and is now the oldest run family establishment in Soho. In March 2012 they started the London Gin Club, a free membership club for people who enjoy Gin.

Master of Malt is one of the UK’s leading online liquor retailers. Established in 1985 they originally concentrated on Whisky but this soon grew to encompass a full range of spirits.

The Gin is a collaboration between The London Gin Club and Master of Malt, and was launched in the fall of 2012.

Production

The Gin is a small batch cold-distilled gin through a rotary evaporation still, preventing the botanicals from becoming ‘cooked’ and thus retaining its freshness and vitality.

The Gin is presented in a squat cylindrical clear bottle with rounded shoulders. It has a large light brown label with a “cobbled” street map of the St. Giles area with the center of Seven Dials highlighted with a small bright green star. The name of the Gin is written in large black colored “old English” style script, towards the top of the label.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

46% (92 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$ - $$$$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to pay an additional 50% for shipping.

Botanicals

7 botanicals are used including: almonds, angelica, cardamom, clementine peel, coriander, juniper berries and marshmallow root.

Name

7 Dials Gin is named after the famous crossroads, Seven Dials, in the St. Giles area of London – found to the north of Covent Garden and the East of Soho. Originally swamp land it was known as “Cock & Pye” and on the fringes of an increasing London. In the late 1600’s Thomas Neale was granted permission by King William (a key force to the growth of Gin in London) to develop the land. To maximize the number of possible homes, Neale devised a plan to have six streets converging on one central star shaped point…and then later changed this plan to include a seventh street. He had commissioned a central pillar with a sundial facing down each street and it was too late to change it, and thus whilst the pillar had 6 dials it still became known as Seven Dials. A short walk away you can find Neale Street and Neale’s Yard (well known for it’s shops selling “green products”) both named in honor of Thomas Neale.

The area was originally intended to be for the affluent but it never realized it’s full potential, instead by the 1700’s it had declined to become a notorious London slum. The area became a haven for the poor and criminals, resulting in it being referred to as part of the St. Giles Rookery. Gin shops sprung up all around and at one time there was a drinking establishment at each point of the star. Interestingly their cellars all connected together underneath the central pillar and was a very convenient means of multiple escape routes should the need arise for nefarious characters to avoid the police.

The “Gin Crazed” area has been the scrutiny of two famous engravings. The Gin Act of 1736 (placing high taxes on the sale of Gin) was said to be the “Death of Gin”. This led to riots and included a mock funeral procession of “Madam Geneva” through the area of St. Giles; an anonymous etching of the procession going through Seven Dials still survives today. Given the unpopular reactions to the Act, it was finally abolished in 1742. However, the “Gin Craze” problem was still an issue and in 1751 William Hogarth created an engraving called “Gin Lane”. Although fictitious it is based upon the St. Giles area and shows a street scene depicting the horrors from the over consumption of Gin.

The central pillar at Seven Dials was a gathering point not just for criminals but also for mystic cults. In 1773, to deter these undesirables from the area, the column was removed and now resides in Weybridge, Surrey. Finally, in 1988 a new column was constructed (to the original 6 dial design) and replaced in the center of Seven Dials. In 1989 it was unveiled by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, to commemorate 300 years since the reign of King William of Orange. Today the area is a thriving fashionable light commercial location and whilst not a pedestrian only area, has crowds of people (and very slow moving traffic!).

With the 7 streets forming a star and the London Gin Club operating “The Star at Night” Bar in Soho, plus the history of the area, the name for this Gin was easy to decide upon once these connections had been made.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is strong pine (juniper) and citrus with plenty of herbal and some spicy notes, several of us picked up hints of lavender. On the smooth faintly sweet palate are spice (cardamom) and clear earthy juniper with herbal notes. On the close is tangy citrus (clementine & lemon) and dry juniper with some spice (coriander) and marzipan (almond) notes. A creamy classic backbone Gin with light spice and herbal complexities.

This has all the hallmarks of a traditional London Dry Gin plus spice and herbs that make it different without straying too far away from the expected Gin flavor profile. In a Gin & Tonic the Gin stands its ground, producing a well-balanced and rounded drink. The London Gin Club recommend using Fever Tree Tonic (and we concur) and a strip of rhubarb (we kid you not) as garnish, although we found a slice of lime perfectly suited to the Indian spice. In a Martini more of the herbal notes arise and compliment the herbal qualities of the Vermouth to make a very nice drink. Both Master of Malt and The London Gin Club recommend a Dry Martini (we agree also) and Master of Malt advocate the use of Noilly Prat Vermouth (we can’t necessarily agree with this fully). There is some variance in the Garnish: The London Gin Club recommend olives and Master of Malt a lemon twist, we do not believe any one particularly out does the other and whilst we normally perfer olives we have to say, but only if pushed, we think the lemon twist just has the edge.

This Gin is familiar enough to make you feel comfortably at home by the fireplace with your slippers on. Yet it provides enough impact and difference to make you feel as if you are drinking something new, that is refreshing and invigorating. With the increasing number of Gin brands appearing this is a very hard act to pull off and…the icing on the cake…a creamy smoothness too. We recommend you taste this as soon as you have the opportunity; it just might become one of your top favorites.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.

Music

Drink this Gin while listening to "Seven Dials" by Madness.

Read



Sit back and chill with this Gin in your favorite drink, while reading a true classic murder mystery: "The Seven Dials Mystery" by Agatha Christie.



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