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Review

Barber's Gin
(Europe)

Distillery

Sánchez Romate Hermanos SA, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Spain (but made by Timbermill Distillery, Thames Distillers Ltd., Clapham, London, England, UK).

Website

Barber’s Gin and Romate.

History

Sánchez Romate of Jerez is primarily known for its Wine and Brandy but has a range of other spirits too. The initial winery was originally established in 1787 by Juan Sánchez de la Torre. However, it has continued to grow and adopt new markets and technologies under the subsequent ownership of the Sánchez Romate family for over 150 years.

Thames Distillers is run by Charles Maxwell who is the 8th generation of the family (founders of the Finsbury Distillery) who have been producing Gin since 1700 – making them the oldest unbroken lineage in Gin distillation.

We believe this Gin was launched in spring 2013.

Production

The Gin is made from a neutral grain base and distilled three times in traditional stills.

The Gin is presented in a clear squat bottle with rounded shoulders and a green colored cap at the top. It has two labels: a thin narrow band towards the bottom and a large one with bulging top and bottom around the top two thirds of the bottle. Both are green colored with copper foil edging and text, clearing stating “Barber’s Gin”.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$ - $$. Available in Spain and some other European countries. It can be purchased from Grau Online or Vinus Vinis, both based in Spain, but only for delivery within the EU.

Botanicals

Uses 4 botanicals including: angelica root (France), coriander (Morocco), juniper berries (Croatia) and thyme (Spain).

Name

Barbers have a long history of hair cutting and shaving, dating from at least the 1100’s. Originally however, their skills also extended into the world of surgery, as defined at that time. Such surgical tasks included bloodletting, leeching, lancing cysts/boils, extracting teeth, enemas and cleansing of scalp and ears. During the 1300’s individuals began specializing and starting enhancing their surgical skills and knowledge. By the 1400’s people were becoming barbers but possessing no hair cutting skills, only surgical skills.

In 1540, within the UK, the government formally recognized these different roles and created the Company of Barbers and Surgeons. This Act of Parliament meant surgeons were not permitted to cut hair and barbers were not allowed to practice surgery, although both still shared the same professional space with the barbers supervising the surgeons (and both still carried out tooth extractions). In 1745 the English King George II issued a royal decree to finally separate these two professions - but what has this got to do with Gin?

By the late 1600’s and the first half of the 1700’s England was in the grip of a Gin frenzy, and this spirit was cheap and in ready supply. Barber’s and surgeons would use the Gin as anaesthesia and naturally use it for any other purpose too. In the case of the barbers, they found it made for a great astringent on skin – this comes from the juniper berries - so used it as an aftershave. The lack of citrus in these early Gins (as compared with those of today who almost invariably have citrus) meant it was somewhat less harsh but also imparted a fresh aroma too. Calling this Barber’s Gin is a reference back to this historical practice of using it as an aftershave, especially as it purposely contains no citrus based botanicals.

This should not be confused with Barbers Gin (spelt without an apostrophe) made by Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farms, Pocantico Hills, New York, USA (marketed by Blueprint Spirits). 

Tasting Notes

On the nose is juniper with some green freshness (angelica & thyme) and hints of peppery spice (coriander). On the palate is dry waxy juniper with a clear greenness (more like savory than thyme). On the close the dry juniper continues but with some lemon citrus notes appearing (coriander). An historical classic London Dry Gin.

Although not a sipping Gin, this can be drunk neat and we recommend the addition of an ice cube or two but it really is best for mixing. It makes for a nicely dry Gin and Tonic and we suggest using a cucumber garnish, but add a lemon, lime or possibly orange garnish if you miss the citrus element. Try this in a dry Martini and this is what you will get, with a capital “D” for dry - use an olive garnish (although a lemon twist and ginger garnish is nice too).

This will appeal to most “juniper heads” with its simple complexity and honest purity. Barber’s is a great value Gin whose price makes it a real bargain; the choice of thyme as one of the four botanicals is inspired.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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