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Review

Gilt Gin

Distillery

Gilt Gin Company Ltd., Paisley, Renfrewshire and Strathleven Distillers Company Ltd., Dumbarton, Vale of Leven (near Loch Lomand), West Dunbartonshire, Scotland, UK.

Website

Valt Vodka.

History

Ricky Christie grew up in the Whiskey business, his father George Christie was responsible for building the Speyside Distillery of which Ricky took over the running of, before it was sold. Ricky Christie has now gone on to co-found (with Donald Buchanan) and run (as Managing Director) Strathleven Distillery. Their first offering, Valt Vodka, was launched in 2006. The unique selling point was the base spirit being made with malted barley just like Whiskey.

It might not seem much of a step to use this Vodka as the base spirit to produce a Gin, but it was another 6 years before they did this. Gilt Gin Company Limited was incorporated in the fall of 2012 and their first distillation of Gilt Gin took place on St Andrews day (patron saint of Scotland), 28th November 2012, the same day they had 6 years earlier chosen to first distill their Valt Vodka. The first bottled Gilt Gin was finally available at the end of 2012.

Production

Made from 100% malted barley this could be viewed as a single malt gin! Obviously it’s not; the base could be made into to Whiskey but is made into Gin instead. The base spirit is distilled four times before being distilled for a 5th and final time with botanicals, using their hybrid designed still from Germany - a pot still with a 15 bubble plate column attached. A secret charcoal filtration process finishes the distillation, with natural pure water from the River Spey used throughout the process.

The Gin is presented in a tall slim rectangular light green colored bottle with a long neck. It has a dark green label on the bottom half of the bottle with a large silver colored heraldic lion etched on the top half.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$ - $$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try Master of Malt in the UK but add another 60% for shipping.

Botanicals

Contains 9 botanicals including: angelica, cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, juniper berries, lemon, liquorice, orange and orris root.

Name

Comes from combining the words "Gin" and "Malt", referring to the malt used to create the base spirit for this Gin.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is juniper with spice plus faint vanilla and grain notes. On the palate this creamy oily spirit has dry juniper and malt (barley) with spice and earthy herbal notes plus toffee and sweet anise. On the close are dry juniper, fresh citrus (orange) and spice (coriander) in the finish.

This has elements of a usual London Dry Gin but the base does make a reasonable difference and takes a little getting used to. In a Gin & Tonic there is a grassy bitterness with creamy grain-like undertones. There is a freshness about the drink and using a lemon slice garnish certainly adds to the benefit of the overall taste but the barley and toffee does not seem to mix well in a G&T. There is a somewhat similar story with a Martini, it is not quite as you expect: The vanilla and herbal notes mix well with the Vermouth and the creamy barley make for an interesting but not unpleasant drink. This is certainly not for an Avitation but in a Negroni it does well. However, although not a regular cocktail of ours we heard it works well in an Old Fashioned. We must confess, having tried it, that this really is the ideal match for this Gin.

This is a nice Gin but different due to its unusual base. We found ourselves wanting to enjoy it more than we could, as it is not a natural mixer. However, once we found its niche, an Old Fashioned, we were very happy. Whenever people go outside the normal boundaries there is often resistance from others, and this is the case here. Be patient and keep trying this Gin (e.g. in a Martini or a Negroni), it’s worth it!

Awards & Accolades

Gold Medal, Craft Spirits Award, 2013.



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