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Review

Professor Cornelius
Ampleforth's
Sloe Gin

Distillery

Master of Malt, (ATOM Supplies Ltd.) Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK.

Website

Master of Malt.

History

ATOM Supplies Ltd. trading as Master of Malt, is one of the UK’s leading online liquor retailers. Established in 1985 they originally concentrated on Whisky but this soon grew to encompass a full range of spirits. Since the 2010’s they have undertaken joint projects to produce individual spirits, supported primarily by Ben Ellefsen, their Sales Director. Under his guidance, the success of Master of Malt own offerings have expanded to include a range of “Origin” Gins and the “Professor Cornelius Ampleforth” range of spirits.

This Sloe Gin was first launched in the spring of 2012.

Production

The base spirit is made from a high quality copper pot distillation to which the botanicals are added and left to infuse for around 24 hours. Normally, most Gins would be distilled another time following the infusion period. However this Gin is then left to infuse with around half a pound of sloeberries per bottle for up to 6 months. Once ready it is simply filtered and bottled straight from this cold compounding method, and is produced in small batches of 30 to 60 bottles at a time.

The apothecary styled bottling, being wrapped in crinkled brown paper (covered with hand-drawn artwork including an image of a sprig of sloeberries), further enhances this Victoriana presentation. Flax twine is wound around the neck, securing the paper to the bottle, and dipped in black wax to seal it completely.

Category

Flavored Gin & Compound Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

33.8% (68 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$ - $$$$$$$. Not available in the USA. Try online direct from Master of Malt in the UK. However, this is a seasonal drink and is usually issued each year in late spring and be prepared to pay an additional 50% for shipping.

Botanicals

Made from 7 botanicals including: cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, juniper berries, orange peel and sloeberries.

Name

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth is a fictional character, played by Ben Ellefsen. “Sloe” refers to the sloberries, a key flavoring botanical.

Tasting Notes

2012 – On the nose the base Gin is noticeable with spice and citrus but marzipan (almonds) from the stones in the sloeberries and red fruitiness are the most clearly obvious aromas. On the palate is a strong almond taste (whilst noticeable in some Sloe Gins, this is the strongest we have encountered) and lots of dark red sweet fruit flavors. On the close this subsides to a strong dry tannic finish with faint notes of chocolate and a hint of warming pepper. This is a very nicely balance Sloe Gin.

This very good Sloe Gin was launched at a slightly lower of alcohol than their 2013 but, at 29% ABV (58 Proof), it is still much stronger than most. This spirit tries to have something for everyone, and we really like it, but for those who like a sweet syrupy style will be disappointed. This is not necessarily a bad thing because there are still many Sloe Gins out there for the sweeter palate; this is really designed for the true connoisseur, or those learning to be one.

2013 – The nose is very similar, if not the same, to the 2012. The change here seems to occur on the palate. More of the dry tannic fruitiness is found, providing a tarter experience in the mouth. However, the palate profile of the 2012 version still exists with the same finish.

Overall the differences from the two different years are relatively small but it is difficult to compare one year to the next unless comparing them side-by-side. Unfortunately we couldn’t compare them on this basis because we finished the 2012 bottle within 2 weeks of opening it. This goes to show how much we like it! We were expecting a greater amount of the base Gin to come through given the alcohol level but suspect the volume of sloes used took care of that one, and we are certainly not complaining. This is a top notch Sloe Gin, easily making our top 20 and is highly recommended.

We’re looking forward to the 2014 vintage…a year often seems too long but who can argue with Mother Nature.

Awards & Accolades

Silver Medal, Gin Masters, 2015.



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