This month I promised you not one but two gin reviews and despite being hit by a nasty surprise of a kidney stone, here as promised is the second of the month.
Ironically, my temporary abstinence has led me to think about some of the drinks I enjoyed as a child. Usually kept as a treat, the milkman would deliver wonders of fizzy flavours in glass bottles and although these flavours are now a bit of a novelty, who can deny a Cream Soda, Dandelion and Burdock or even a Sarsaparilla.
It’s the latter that brings me nicely to Wolftown Gin, from the festival town of Ulverston.
Located on the edge of the stunning Lake District, Ulverston gets its name from an old Norse word ‘Ulfar’ meaning Wolf Warrior and with this gin fighting to become noticed in a flooded market, Wolftown Gin is a very fitting name.
When John first set out to produce a gin, he was determined to make something special, that not only he would love, but would be able to pick up fans worldwide.
Sarsaparilla was always destined to play a big part within the gin as the flavour is a big part of the region. Marsh’s Sass was produced in Barrow and Furness for nearly 100 years until the 1990’s and was something that John had grown up on. ‘A fish and chip supper was always accompanied by sass as a kid’ he tells me ‘it was the law!’, but is wasn’t until they experimented with the botanical that they realised how big a part it actually played.
When the gin arrived I was so happy to see some great eco friendly packaging in the way of Flexi-Hex which was branded and combined with a matching single bottle box.
The thought in the packaging carried through to the label, with a stunning gold coloured wolfs head, who’s nose incorporates a lighthouse, another nod to the town of Ulverston and the Hoad monument.
On removing the stopper sarsaparilla hit me straight away, with the slightly medicinal and almost vanilla aroma being clearly evident, combined with a fresh citrus element.
This is not a juniper heavy gin, however it is still there on the aroma, something that some traditionalists may turn their noses up at, however just as John states, ‘we tried it and loved it so thought why not?!’
A risk that has clearly paid off, with the gin receiving some rave reviews and a great taste award.
On the palette the sarsaparilla is equally evident with a bitterness to it joining with the citrus. The finish is long and ginger soon kicks in to create a warming touch added with just a hint of cinnamon and black pepper.
It has a great mouth feel and a touch of nuttiness lasts on the tastebuds long after you’ve finished your mouthful.
Adding a splash of light tonic, the aroma opens further. Juniper is more evident here, but with the familiar sarsaparilla still playing a massive part. This gin is earthy and and a little bit rugged for sure.
The flavours for me need more than light tonic, it would work well with something more citrus heavy, but for me its shouting out for ginger ale to help support those botanicals in the background.
Mixed with a fevertree ginger ale and garnished with a star anise I hit the jackpot.
Smooth and sumptuous, the sarsaparilla brings something new to the table, with the ginger and cinnamon working with the tonic to create a deep and distinctive drink, that unfortunately I can not sit back and enjoy to its fullest just yet – however as soon as I am able to enjoy alcohol again properly, I will be stocking up the ginger ale and enjoying this on some spring evenings while watching the garden come back into bloom.
This gin may have been a gamble, but for me it works and despite not being a style of gin I would normally head straight towards, its one that I plan to enjoy more of going forward. Let’s face it, that’s one of the great things about the world of gin, there are so many contrasting ideas and flavours, that you will never get bored of trying out new gins – this is one I recommend giving a go.
Name:- Wolftown Gin
Price:- £35 (70cl)
Proof:- 40% abv
Buy From:- Wolftown Website
Disclaimer – Wolftown Gin was sent to me as a PR sample – the review and all thoughts are the sole and honest thoughts of Manchester Food Tourist