With a lesser focus on travel for obvious reasons, I have decided to double up and feature not one, but two gins in the month of February. Plus with dry January far behind us, we can get back to enjoying a little more of what we like.
The first of this months gin reviews comes from Staffordshire in the way of Sixtowns Gin.
For those not aware, Sixtowns refers to the 1910 amalgamation of the six Staffordshire Potteries towns of Burslem, Tunstall, Stoke-upon-Trent, Hanley, Fenton and Longton into the single county borough of Stoke-on-Trent.
The gin is produced by Bros Distillery, which was set up by brothers Vitalijs and Alex who moved to the UK from Latvia in the late 90’s.
Having grown up watching their parents and great grandparents distilling back at home, they used their wealth of knowledge to set up a business which supply and install Genio distillation equipment into distillery’s around the UK.
After years of helping others produce gin, they finally decided to use a secret family recipe passed down to them, to produce their very own gin here in the UK and how lucky are we that they did.
Staffordshire, just like their home town in Latvia, is renowned for their fabulous potteries of the past, with the regions landscape dotted with bottle kilns. Despite their name these weren’t actually used to make bottles, but got their name from the bottle like shape of the kiln itself.
Some of these kilns are still visible today and it is these that inspired the striking bottle of Sixtowns Gin, made by Wade ceramics, it would take pride of place on any gin shelf.
Whilst the stunning bottle design and name are instantly recognisable, what’s inside comes with a little more mystique, with their botanical list remaining secret.
What is recognisable however is that this is gin, with a warm juniper essence rising as you open the brass coloured stopper.
As I study and taste the gin neat, I am intrigued by the aromas and flavours of this complex gin.
A sweet spice lingers and home baking is bought to focus, with cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose which carries through onto the palette producing a real depth of character.
As I study the gin further, not knowing what botanicals they use, the familiar coriander and orris seem to be there, but there is something unfamiliar – almost a subtle exotic fruit essence – but with its being a secret, what it is I just cant fathom out – citrusy, yet different.
The finish is long and deep, with those warming spices taking their place centre stage. No one thing is overpowering in this gin and I can see why its been handed down from generation to generation.
Drinking as a G&T, I enjoy with a light tonic, which allows the perfect balance of this gin to remain intact. When mixed with tonic I get a great mouthfeel with notes of Cardamon really coming through and a refreshing citrus element joining the party before a zing of what could be ginger dances on the tongue.
Like a great wine, the complexity of this gin is what really makes it stand out and whilst I would love to know what’s in it, its kind of fun trying to test my palette and see what I can find.
For me it’s always a great sign when a gin producer really puts a great deal of thought into their bottle, but its even better when that thought and passion has gone into the gin itself – people will buy this gin for the bottle, however once tried it wont stay full for long and you’ll soon have spare empty bottles to share with friends.
I finish this piece on a real high, as they tell me that there is more to come in the way of spirits and that Sixtowns Gin is just the beginning of an exciting new journey. I for one can not wait to see what comes next.
So don’t wait around – this gin has been sold out for the last month or so, with their next limited batch of just 100 bottles is just coming back into stock as we speak – miss it and you’ll miss out!!
Name: Sixtowns Gin
Proof: 40% abv
Buy From – Sixtowns Website
Disclaimer – Sixtowns gin was sent to me as a PR sample – the review and all thoughts are the sole and honest thoughts of Manchester Food Tourist