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Review

Pink 47 Gin

Distillery

Old Saint Andrews Whisky Ltd., Kemsing, Sevenoaks, Kent (made by G & J Greenall, Warrington), England, UK.

Website

Old St. Andrews and G & J Greenall.

History

Established in 1984, between the Haswell family (see Haswell Gin) and The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd, Old St. Andrews was focused on designing and marketing blended Whisky made in Scotland. It has gone through ownership by several different people, the most recent in 2008, when Bob Gorton bought the company. This Gin was launched in early 2007, their first departure from Whisky blending. Old St. Andrews designs its products from its UK headquarters in Kent, in conjunction with the world’s leading whisky blenders in Scotland and gin distillers, G & J Greenall, in North East England.

Established back in 1761, Greenall’s are the oldest continuously producing London Dry Gin distillery in the world. Thomas Dakin built the distillery initially, Edward Greenall started using it and in 1870 it was purchased completely (The G&J comes from Edward’s younger brothers – Gilbert & John). The previous chairman, Lord Daresbury, was a direct descendent of Edward Greenall. The family motto “Alto Peto” translates as "I Strive Higher". This once cottage based industry is now the second largest gin distillery in Britain, producing over 50% of the UK’s Gin and almost 15% of the world’s Gin. In 2011 the business was bought by Quintessential Brands.

Production

Crafted under the watchful supervision of Master Distiller Joanne Moore (nee Simcock) it is distilled three times from neutral grain spirit. Next the botanicals are steeped for an unspecified amount of time before the fourth and final distillation in a copper pot still. The resultant distillate is then blended with neutral grain spirit and demineralized water. The water is taken from the River Dee in Wales, fed from the Snowdonia National park, and is filtered and purified whilst preserving its essential character.

Uniquely marketed in a clear teardrop shaped bottle, with distinctive facets making it appear to look like a diamond. On the front is a black label with a pink border and “Pink 47” in pink colored text. The rear has a completely pink label, which reflects through to the front making the Gin look pink. The result is the appearance of a Pink Diamond - See “Name” to discover the reasons for these design aspects to the bottle.

Since 2010 it has also been produced in a tall clear rectangular bottle, for ease of pouring, for the on-trade.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

47% (94 Proof).

Price Range

$$$ - $$$$. Not available in the USA (not in this packaging at least, see London 47 and London 40). Try Master of Malt in the UK but expect to pay an additional 45% for shipping. 

Botanicals

Uses 10 botanicals including: almonds (Spain), angelica (2 different types), cassia (Indochina), coriander (2 different types), cubeb berries (Java), juniper berries (Italy), lemon peel (Spain), liquorice root (China), nutmeg (W. Africa), orange peel (Spain) and orris root (Italy).

Name

In 2006, when OSA Whisky were developing their Gin for launch in 2007 there were several notable events highlighting Pink Diamonds. The 1964 movie “The Pink Panther” (a fictitious Pink Diamond) was released for home viewing and the 2006 Miss World, Australian Sabrina Houssami (sponsored by Australian company Kimberley Fine Diamonds) sported Pink Diamonds for the world to view.

It’s unclear if these high profile news items influenced OSA but they ended up using a mythical Pink Diamond, called the Khavaraya, as inspiration for the design of the bottle. Apparently there is only one recorded printed reference to this Diamond, The Diamond Sutra from 868 AD, stating it is a “’diamond that will cut through worldly illusion to illuminate what is real and everlasting.” Thought to be shaped "like a sublime teardrop of spiritual joy", legend says it has a blessing and a curse: whoever possesses it can command any mortal to do their bidding but with dire consequences if this power is ever misused! Alleged history has it as part of the Royal treasure in 343 BC of Darius, King of Persia. It passed to Alexander the Great when he conquered Persia and used it to seduce a slave called Bagoas, dying shortly afterwards. There have been many suggested rumors and sightings since but the only one with any substance is by famous French gem merchant John-Baptiste Tavernier. In his journal from 1642 he observed the Khavaraya embedded in the throne of the Indian Mughal emperor Shah Jehan (1592 – 1666). No one knows where it is now, even if it really existed!

OSA named the Gin “Pink” after the Pink Diamond and “47” after the ABV %. Using the Khavaraya they say symbolizes their struggle to craft the perfect Gin and suggest the diamond has been rediscovered…in this Gin.

Tasting Notes

On the nose are citrus (lemon) and juniper with earthy herbal floral notes and hints of alcohol. On the palate this slightly smooth and sweet spirit has an initial alcohol “bite” followed by dry juniper, fresh citrus (lemon), parma violets (orris root) and a spiciness (coriander) making a crisp refreshing drink. On the short close is a spicy, peppery (cubeb berries), juniper dry finish. A well delivered Gin, with aspects of complexity and a smooth rounded end.

This is a good classic London Dry Gin and yet has additional little nuances not always easily found in other Gins. Whilst not recommended for sipping neat (it’s strongly forthright) it makes a good aggressive Gin & Tonic. We suggest using either 1724 or Fever Tree plus the ubiquitous lime garnish. In Spain a popular garnish is a sliced strawberry (or two raspberries) with an orange or tangerine twist. This stands nice, strong and proud in a Martini. This has a powerful versatility for most mixed Gin drinks and we would find it hard to identify something it wouldn’t work well in. This would make a useful house Gin, but for the overt styled package, no doubt this is why London 47 and London 40 were introduced.

This is a good Gin, at a good price, thus we can recommend it as a good value Gin if you like it strong. The bottle is perhaps a little too feminine for some men but it can be a wonderful present or for use at suitable moments (e.g. think Valentines Day, a date, anniversary etc.) with ladies who like Gin.

Awards & Accolades

Gold Medal, International Spirits Challenge, 2012.

Silver Medal, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Tasting Competition, 2012.

Winner, Charles Hosie GmbH Aromatic Spirit of the year, 2008.

Gold Winner, International Spirit Competition, 2008.

Best UK Spirit Winner, Tesco Drinks Awards, 2008.

Silver Medal, Spirit International Spirits Challenge, 2008.

Silver Medal, Drinks International Gin Challenge, 2008.

Silver Medal, International Spirits Challenge, 2007.



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