Union Distillers Ltd., Market Harborough, Leicestershire, England, UK.
Established in early 2012 by co-owners Mark
Gamble and Lyn Taylor. Mark is an electrical engineer by trade, with a
background in commercial catering equipment design, so it is no surprise to
discover he designed and hand built their 25-liter copper and brass still. The
still is nicknamed “Gerald’s No.1”, or simply “Gerald”, and is the first ever
owner hand built commercial still in the UK. This although is far from a
one-man show, having hired his son to design the branding and his daughter to
co-ordinate the PR. What started out as a small operation, run from a room in their
house, has since summer 2014 been run from a 3,000 sq ft distillery (producing
up to 1,500 bottles per month).
This Gin, their first product, was launched in Spring 2013.
Small batches of 100 bottles are produced
from their own hand built copper pot still, known as “Gerald”. Each batch takes
nearly 4 hours to run, using complex electrical controls to determine the
amount of heat at various stages of reflux and resting throughout the process.
The resultant distillate is diluted to bottling strength using natural spring
water from Charnwood Hills (found to the north of Leicester), an area of old
volcanic rock dating back some 600 million years.
The Gin is presented in clear squat cylindrical bottles with curved shoulders. The company logo consists of two birds sitting in a tree and this is used to good effect on their bottles: the tree using organic ink is hand painted on the back while the name “Two Birds” and the image of two birds (one sitting on the middle apex of the “W” and the other standing on the bottom curl of the “S”) are hand painted on the front. The net result is when looking through the bottle the birds appear to be in the tree! The color used for the tree is grey; “Two Birds” is white; and the birds are royal blue (the color of the birds vary according to the product) – an excellent job by Simon Gamble.
London Dry Gin.
40% (80 Proof).
$$$$ - $$$$$. Not available in the USA, try
online at Master of Malt in the UK but be prepared to add another 50% for
Uses 5 botanicals including juniper berries.
The remaining 4 are unconfirmed but are strongly believed to be: coriander,
citrus peel (probably lemon), orris root with the remaining one possibly
elderflower (although this is not found on the nose or palate).
Two Birds use a tagline of the “Countryside
Spirit” as the botanicals used are natural and seek to capture the “flavors and
character of the great outdoors”. The ancient town of Market Harborough,
established in the early 1200’s, is nestled in an area of beautiful verdant
countryside and this no doubt has provided the inspiration for the product
Two Birds London Dry Gin (made by Union
Distillers in the UK) should not to be confused with Two Birds Artisan Spirits
(in Michigan, USA) who produce Greyling Modern Dry Gin.
On the nose is pine (juniper) and citrus
(lemon) with some faint peppery spice (coriander) notes. On the palate this dry
creamy smooth spirit has a crisp earthy juniper and citrus (orange) flavor with
some sweet spice notes coming through. There is something else on the palate
that we are unable to identify that gives a contemporary feeling to this Gin –
this could be elderflower (floral), maybe elderberry (fruity), but to us there
is a fleeting vanilla/banana quality to it! On the close the juniper and citrus
continues with a smooth, and slightly spicy, bitter-dry finish. A nice example
of a well-balanced Gin with hints of subtle complexity.
This is a classic styled modern London Dry, with a much greater level of smoothness than traditional ones, making it a pleasant sipping Gin. It works well in a Gin and Tonic with citrus, more spice and less juniper notes coming through – consider omitting a citrus garnish and plump for something like cucumber. Likewise in a Martini the citrus is prevalent, with all the other notes creating more of background vibe, and we found an olive garnish worked well.
Overall this is a good Gin that manages to retain a classic feeling while identifying itself as a newer product of today – quite a feat to achieve! It is versatile and suitable for any Gin based mixed drinks although some of the more delicate notes may be lost and it may not always present enough juniper for the more ardent of fans. We have no hesitation in recommending this Gin; very few people should quibble with this choice.
Gold Medal, China Wine & Spirits
Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2014.
Gold Medal (Craft Gin of the Year), Craft Gin Awards, 2013.
Silver Medal, International Wine and Spirit Competition, 2013.