This weeks Gin Review is more than just a review of a Gin. Its not even a review of a few Gins, its a Gin Review AND a Gin Tour.
Forest Gin is a family based, small batch Gin producer. It was begun by the Bond Family after Lindsay Bond developed Coeliac, so was no longer able to enjoy her usual tipple of beer. Rather than it being a negative, she set about producing her very own tipple, in the way of Gin.
I’m told that the production didn’t go too well to start with, the first Gin’s that husband Karl produced were not the greatest by all accounts. It was only after experimenting, and foraging of local botanical’s, picked with their young daughter, that eventually led to a Gin that was noticed by a buyer at Harvey Nic’s, which today holds a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco Spirit Awards.
The gins were all produced on their kitchen table, until more recently they converted an old stone building on the edge of the forest, which meant the fresh mountain spring water could be tapped into directly. The Forest Gin Distillery is located on the edge of the Macclesfield Forest, around a 45 min drive from Manchester. Set deep in the Cheshire Countryside you’ll find their small distillery, its here that all the magic now happens. Small, informal tours also happen on a regular basis for the tiny sum of £20 – details of which can be found here.
The tour day starts with a Double Gin and Premium Tonic, the first chance you get to taste their amazing Gin.
Forest Gin isn’t just named such because of its location, it also reflects the range of unique botanical’s that they use in their premium product. As well as the usual and standard Gin Botanical’s they also use Vanilla, plus instead of Angelica Root, they opt to use Angelica Herb as it gives a more earthy note.
Walking around the forests on their doorstep they then hand pick Young Pine and Fern, as well as Moss growing on the walls right outside the distillery, you couldn’t get a more local and organic Gin.
The foraging of local and organic products does not end there however. Gorse Flowers from the Peak District as well as wild Raspberries, Blackberries and Bilberries are used in Forest Gin too, all hand picked by the small team that work here.
The freshness of these fantastic products really come through in the Gin and with the taste of liquorice combined, it gave an almost minty undertone to the Gin.
For me the perfect mix is a Fever-Tree Mediterranean, as the freshness of the Rosemary in this mixer, brings out the fresh and earthy taste further.
Following this first enjoy of their Gin, you are then talked through the history of Gin, some of which I had never heard before, with stories of Dutch Courage and Mothers Ruin to the paintings of William Hogarth named Beer Street and Gin Lane, depicting Gin as bad and Beer as good!!
Neat tastings of the Gins then follow. Not just of their Award Winning ‘Standard’ Gin, but also a rather unique Earl Grey Version in a beautiful blue bottle.
The Earl Grey Gin uses the same wonderful gin, but is then infused for 20 hours with a supreme Earl Grey Blend, incorporating the most amazing hit of Bergamot.
This Gin works so well on its own, over ice or as I’ve since discovered at home, perfectly with a Ginger Ale Mixer.
The Tour continues with a talk on the hand distilling, bottling and individual batch numbering of each and every bottle. This really is a supreme product and you can see why it is stocked in Harvey Nic’s
If this Gin wasn’t special enough, the bottle it comes in is also as stunning. A White or Blue Glazed Porcelain Bottle produced by Wade Ceramics (Who I’m informed also made the original tiles for the London Underground). These are then printed with a beautiful hand cut design from artist Suzy Taylor. These bottles on their own make a great collectable.
This tour is such great value for money, you get a lot of Gin History in this stunning setting, a Double Gin and Premium Tonic, two neat tastings AND then a Second Double Gin and Mixer of your choice.
Forest Gin is a great locally produced product, using amazing hand foraged botanical’s which is perfect in the stunning setting of their distillery.
Get yourself booked onto a tour via eventbrite here. Or grab yourself a bottle and try it for yourself.
You can also keep up to date with my experimenting with Forest Gin and others on twitter here.
- I was invited along to the tour by Forest Gin. All tasting opinions are my own and as always honest.