Over the last couple of years, I have become more and more immersed in the world of Gin. Just like my other passions (Including Wine, Cheese, Coffee and anything food/travel related), the variety and complexity of gins, make no two the same.
Just like with wines, I find that many people shy away from learning more about gins. Years of people telling you whats right and whats wrong. Wine Connoisseurs looking down at people for not knowing enough about wines, when what people really want is a no thrills, simply explanation of what its like.
Last year, I was thrilled to be selected for the Peoples Choice Wine Awards. An award designed to be for the people, by the people. The first round of judging is carried out by everyday folk like you and I. I have no formal training in wines, but I know what I like and why.
The second round was judged by some well known wine experts and writers, mixed in with a few novices, including 2 super tasters from Round 1 (I was delighted to have been chosen for this honour)
When tasting wines, I think about everyday flavours and aromas and try and describe the wine in a way that others can relate to, without being too over complicated. People that are buying most of these wines are not experts either, they just want to know what style its is, what flavours come through and what it will go with food wise. The Peoples Choice Wine Awards does exactly that. My experience with them made me realise that the world of Gin is very similar.
Gin producer numbers are continually growing, many supermarkets are starting to stock their own label varieties, following a range of styles. From London Dry, Distilled Gin, just Gin’s and even Gin Liqueurs (Which aren’t usually really a ‘Gin’, due to having a strong fruit flavour rather than Juniper, but still has a place in the market all the same). So how do people know what is good and what they might enjoy more.
My journey has thrown up some real wonders along the way, but also a few bad eggs, so maybe I can help a little by being honest about what I try and why I like or dislike something. Another thing that has really struck me, has been the importance of location. A gins origin can play a huge part in the buy in to a product from consumers, but surely what really matters is the passion and effort that went in to producing it in the first place.
Take Manchester for example, I have found some incredible gins from the Manchester region. My most resent Gin of the Month, Cuckoo Gin is produced on a farm in the village of Brindle just outside Manchester – it uses local water, grain from the farm and other botanical’s then distilled right there. Another great example is Forest Gin, again produced with the local spring water and uses hand foraged berries and moss just a short drive from Manchester.
I guess what I’m saying is that these Gin’s are based around the location that they are made in, but its the fine ingredients and passion that really shine through to make them great gins.
So why have I opted to support International ‘Scottish’ Gin Day??
Well firstly I need to say that’s its not because I think all Scottish Gins are the best, because that’s not true, there are stunning gins from all around the UK including Boadicea Gin from Norfolk or Thunder-flower from Devon.
But what Scotland does have, is a wealth of great open space to grow some amazing local botanical’s, fresh air, running water and a mass of passion. What I really want to try and promote are those small craft producers that have decided to transfer their passion into producing something unique and worth shouting about, examples include the fabulous Arbikie Gin or Firkin Gins unique cask gins.
What I don’t want to promote however are Gins that shout about being Scottish Gin’s, but use the name alone to try and sell itself, rather than having a story behind it and a great product in the bottle.
International Scottish Gin Day will be taking place on the 3rd Aug 2019, providing Scottish Gin producers the chance to showcase what they have to offer the world.
In the lead up to this event, I will be looking to highlight some of the fantastic gems from this gorgeous part of the UK. So keep your eyes peeled for some of them heading this way real soon.
If you would like to find out more about International Scottish Gin Day, you can do so here.