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Review

Oliver Twist Gin

Distillery

Made by Thames Distillers Ltd., Clapham, London, England, UK on behalf of SG Spirits Ltd. (SG) and Silvester Wyatt-Nicolle Ltd. (SWN) both based in St. Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.

Website

Oliver Twist Gin

History

Managing Director Keiran Wyatt-Nicolle and Creative Director Peter Silvester of SWN designed and created Oliver Twist Gin in partnership with Stuart Gunn of SG providing the technical support (being already established in the world of Spirit Production). Their creation has been entrusted into the hands of Thames Distillers, 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.

Oliver Twist Gin was launched on 25th November 2011 at the Star At Night, Soho, London. The Star at Night is a specialist Gin Bar and the date was significant as it is the date of their opening from 2002 and what better way than to have a Gin launched on their 9th anniversary.

Production

The Gin is presented in a squat circular bottle with a faint blue tint to it (the Gin itself is clear). It has an oval shaped dark blue colored label with Oliver Twist written in large white colored letters.

Category

London Dry Gin. They refer to this as a “Distilled London Gin” as a means to emphasize it is also made in London.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try The Whisky Exchange based in the UK but prepare to pay an additional 100% for shipping.

Botanicals

4 botanicals are used including: angelica root, coriander seed, juniper berries and savory.

Name

Although not stated, it is relatively easy to understand how a Gin can be associated with author Charles Dickens and his classic book Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens had a relatively hard start to life and some of this is echoed in the story of Oliver Twist. The good and altruistic Dickens went on to develop a darker side: he was disappointed with his wife (although this did not stop them produced 10 children in 15 years) and took up with prostitutes and a mistress known as “Nelly”. He smoked cigars and drank (no doubt to excess) and included amongst these various liquors was a favorite, Gin.

During Dickens’ Victorian lifetime (1812 – 1870) Gin was a very popular drink. No doubt this was encouraged from the 1830’s by the rise of Gin Palaces, described by Dickens as "Perfectly dazzling when contrasted with the darkness and dirt we have just left." It is unsurprising references to Gin can be found scattered throughout his books. In Oliver Twist book Mrs Mann at the workhouse gives the children “daffy” a medicine called Senna (made from cassia tree root) mixed with Gin, plus Fagin gives his pick-pocketing children (including Oliver) Gin & Water to help them sleep. In the 1968 musical “Oliver” there is a scene where Fagin tells the children to “Shut up and drink your Gin!” which can be seen on this 4 second clip from Utube

Obviously today, giving Gin to children (even in diluted form) is not an acceptable practice. However, back in the 1800’s (and before) water quality was extremely poor and Gin was extremely cheap, so using Gin it in place of water (or as a sterilizing mixture in water) was the standard approach.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is clear juniper with spice (coriander) and citrus (lemon). On the palate this smooth and lightly sweet spirit has juniper, coriander and light lemon citrus. Although not noted by us, some reviewers find there is a little saltiness to this Gin – see review by Summer Fruit Cup. On the close is a nicely bitter and dry lingering finish with some light alcohol heat plus herbal and floral notes (savory & angelica). This is a juniper forward Gin with notes of complexity despite using only four botanicals.

A classic London Dry Gin style. This is fine to drink neat but it is not the best way to use this Gin. Instead try a Gin & Tonic where is seems be very much at home, we found a lime garnish seems to work best. Where the Gin is less diluted (e.g. Martini or Pink Gin) the familiar juniper “bite” is found, for the enjoyment of Gin lovers everywhere (and certainly were our drinks of choice). It also manages to “stand its ground” in more strongly diluted mixed drinks where the juniper still manages to surface (unlike many weaker drinks).

This is a very presentable Gin and is recommended as an everyday drink for real Gin lovers. It also maintains the ability to “spill over” into specialist cocktails for more ardent traditionalists.

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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