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Review

Chilgrove Gin

Distillery

The Chilgrove Gin Company Ltd., Chilgrove, Chichester, West Sussex (made by Thames Distillers Ltd., Clapham, London), England, UK.

Website

Chilgrove Gin

History

Incorporated in the fall of 2013 this business is owned by Christopher Beaumont-Hutchings (previously Christopher Tetley) and his wife medical Dr. Celia Beaumont-Hutchings. Christopher was educated as a Geologist before becoming a merchant banker, where he met his wife while spending a 4-year appointment in Australia. However, unknown to them previously, they had both been at Bristol University at the same time.

Although Christopher likes his Martini stirred and Celia likes her shaken, both clearly have a fondness for Gin, and often talked about making their own. In early 2012 they started to create plans for this to happen and part of this was to sample as many different Gins as possible (around 200) to see what they liked and why. By the end of 2013 they approached Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers with a list of what they wanted to see in their own Gin. Although the profile of the Gin was clear it still took several months of final experimentation to produce. Finally their Gin was ready for launch on World Gin Day in June 2014. 

Production

The neutral base spirit is made from grape, rather than grain, and is the first English Gin to be made from such a base. The grapes varietals used are: Tempranillo, Aieran and Bobal, and are all grown in La Mancha region of central Spain. The Gin is produced in small batches using traditional pot stills and mineral water from South Downs Water, having been naturally filtered through chalk. 

The Gin is presented in clear rectangular bottles, sporting a diamondshaped and rectangular-shaped silver and white colored label, with green and black colored text.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

44% (88 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$ - $$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to add an additional 40% for shipping. It should be available in Canada from Spring 2015. 

Botanicals

Uses 11 botanicals including: angelica root, coriander seeds, grains of paradise, juniper berries, lime (including key lime), liquorice root, orange (both sweet and bitter), orris root, savory and (wild) water mint.

Name

Named after the small hamlet of Chilgrove - part of the South Downs - in West Sussex, England, UK. We understand Christopher Beaumont-Hutchings (one of the owners) grew up in this hamlet and, upon returning from Australia with his wife Celia, now lives in the adjacent village of Marden.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is a clear floral (lavender and violet) aroma with fruity grape notes plus a hint of sweet (liquorice) and warm (orange) citrusy spice (coriander). On the palate this softly smooth full-bodied spirit has a well-rounded mouth feel with a clear piney juniper, floral and zesty citrus taste. There are also hints of herbaceous green (savory) and minty (water mint) along with warm orange to add to the flavor. On the close the minty green continues with the juniper and citrus (lemon & lime) plus a long spicy pepper (grains of paradise) finish. A strong all round gin with a delightful layered complexity.

On it’s own this makes a good sipping Gin but the minty green notes makes this a little offbeat, in a good way, compared to others. In a Gin and Tonic the citrus notes come more to the fore, we favored a lime or lemon (or both) garnish, although the producers recommend a mint garnish. This makes a very drinkable Martini and more people may find themselves being split between liking it wetter or dryer than usual. We really liked this in a French 75, no doubt due to the grape base of the Gin joining with the grape from the sparkling wine.

Overall this is a beautifully flavored and elegant Gin, it is also highly recommended by us due to its fullness and versatility. Chilgrove call it a “Gin for all seasons” and while we often recoil from overstated marketing statements like this, on this occasion, it is a well-deserved (and some might even say understated) moniker. The prior research and experimentation by the Beaumont-Hutchings couple proves itself worthwhile and we offer our heartfelt congratulations to them.

Awards & Accolades

Silver Medal, Gin Masters, 2015.

Silver Medal, World Spirits Awards, 2015.

Silver Medal, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2015.



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