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Review

Ralph Dodd's Gin

Distillery

Darren Rook and Nick Taylor of The London Distillery Company Ltd., Battersea, London, England, UK.

Website

The London Distillery Company.

History

Realized in 2010 and established by Nick Taylor and Darren Rook in 2011; the company finally opened their distillery in 2013, operated by Darren Rook and master distiller Andrew MacLeod Smith.

It is the first whisky distillery to be set up in London since 1903, over a hundred years ago. The distillery has been built in an old Victorian dairy warehouse in Battersea, now a creative area known as the Testbed 1 arts space (their first trial Gin, released in 2012 is called Testbed 1). This Gin was released in the late spring of 2013.

Distillery Tours are available for a fee by prior booking, see their website for details.

Production

The company we are pleased to say has a green eco-friendly approach. They are trying to ensure all energy used on site is hydrocarbon free by 2015; and currently they recover heat from the stills and reutilise it elsewhere. All ingredients used are organic and sourced as close to the distillery as possible.

The majority of the botanicals are distilled in a 140-litre copper alembic still, affectionately known as “Christina”. The remainder of the more delicate botanicals are distilled using a cold vacuum still, called “Little Albion”. The two different distillates are blended and left to merge together for 2 – 3 weeks before being bottled.

The spirit is presented in a tall clear cylindrical 50cl bottle with a red and light blue colored multi geometric label – designed by Chris Edmunds at United Creatives. Each has the batch and bottle number written on it.

Category

London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

49.9% (100 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$$$$ - $$$$$$$$$. Not available in the USA. However, try Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to add another 50% for shipping.

Botanicals

The 8 botanicals used include: angelica, bay laurel, cardamom (black & green), juniper, honey (London), lime peel and red raspberry leaf.

Name

Ralph Dodd was an engineer and entrepreneur. In 1807, displeased with the spirits available, he planned to set up a distillery to create quality British spirits and managed to progress the project to a stage of nearly starting distillation. The name was The London Distillery Company but unfortunately it never came to fruition, due to another distillery taking successful litigation against them, and was disbanded in 1812. 200 years later Nick Taylor and Darren Rook have taken the idea and brought it to life, and it seems only fitting to call this Gin after the initial originator.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is a general earthiness (angelica) with a complexity, which is hard to differentiate: curry like cardamom is there with faint pine (juniper), citrus (lime), green leaf (bay and raspberry) and some smoky notes – a most unusual olfactory experience for a Gin! On the palate this full-bodied smooth semi-sweet (honey) spirit has initial juniper and citrus, which quickly develops into a savory and spice (cardamom) taste. The close is strong with a tannic dry pepper and warming spice (cardamom) finish. The honey (unusually added prior to distillation) maintains the smoothness of this Gin to great effect.

This has quite a savory and spice flavor profile and firmly stands out in the world of Gin. It is worth tasting this neat, even if you only do this once, as it provides you with a base reference point to fully enjoy the flavor of this in mixed drinks. In a Gin & Tonic a lot of complexity comes through, many hard to identify, which encourages (for us at least) plenty of repeat tastings! Besides the clear cardamom and the dry juniper finish (increased with a slice of lime garnish), we’ve managed to find: occasional sweetness appearing, grassy green tastes, hints of cloves, red berry flavor and floral notes – this is a truly amazing G&T to try. This also makes a smooth, sweet and spicy Martini that is really sublime, and given the ABV if drinking more than one or two at a time, you are (please note) still responsible for all your subsequent actions!

This Gin is very highly recommended; it comes into our top twenty perhaps even our top ten. Gin lovers who like spicy Gins (like us) will immediately fall in love with it, even traditional classic gin lovers may find themselves having an affair, taking them away from their daily loves. However, while it is intense it still has a subtlety and softness about it, which may even convert new or casual Gin drinkers to consider dating with this lovely drink. The down side, like all great loves it may prove expensive and this one certainly is.

Awards & Accolades

2 Master Medals and a Gold Medal, Gin Masters, 2013.



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