When I started writing a monthly gin review a few years back, I had no idea that years on I would still be finding new and interesting gins, or just how popular the reviews would become online.
So firstly I would like to thank all those readers who have continued to engage and have subscribed to these blog posts, without such an engaging gin community, the world of gin wouldn’t be half as interesting and that’s for sure!
It really is the people that make gin so much fun and this months review of Quaker Gin, like so many before, are a representation of the people behind the label.
When Paul and Leanne Colman first started thinking about producing their own gin, they were spurred on by the number of new small batch gins being sent to them as members of gin club. Whilst they enjoyed trying different gins, they also found that when enjoying some of these gins out in bars, many of them did not stand up to a lower quality tonic, which in some venues were even post-mix syrup.
After a year of research, they invested in a small still of their own and started to experiment. This lead to a few mishaps, including a small fire and included going for walks in the local woods to see what botanicals they could forage and experiment with.
Their main aim was to produce a gin with a depth of flavour that could be enjoyed with a good quality tonic, but that would also be complex enough to withstand a more basic mixer. In addition to this, they wanted it to ideally have a plummy/Jammy quality but whilst still being noticeably gin.
Taking its name from the town where they live, Darlington was an important quaker town known for the birth of the railway. It’s most well known landmark is the clocktower which was gifted by Joseph Pease, a prominent Quaker who was on the founding board of the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the first public railway that used steam locomotives, he was also the first Quaker to sit in the Houses of Parliament.
The tower itself houses bells that are the sister bells to the Elizabeth Tower, home to ‘Big Ben’ and alongside the railway locomotive, can be seen on the reserve side of the label by looking through the bottle.
Pease really was an important person of his time and he even introduced a bill which passed as The Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, as well as sitting on the board of the society that later became the RSPCA, so its no wonder that Darlington is proud of him and very fitting that the gin from the town is named Quaker Gin.
Now to the gin itself, and as always I’m intrigued to discover what I find the first time I uncork the bottle. As I do so I am met with an aroma I’ve not had from a gin before. A rich and deep cherry essence makes its way out of the bottle which is followed up from the warming aroma of Juniper.
Pouring a small amount neat I am expecting the cherry to take over my taste buds, however I am soon corrected and a somewhat sharp lemon note is the first to make an appearance alongside the juniper. This is followed up a slightly sour grapefruit and sweet orange, in fact I have a citrus party going on already, but it doesnt stop there.
The citrus notes are quickly followed up by a fruity taste of blackcurrant which lingers into the finish and finally there, making you clear of its presence, is the cherry, who’s finish is long and satisfying.
This is a fruit forward gin for sure but has real complexity that I would usually associate more with a more spice based gin.
Next up I try the gin with a light tonic and the result is a refreshing gin whose complexity is maintained and with each element complimenting the next.
I decide to try out their recommended serve which is mixing with a merchants heart hibiscus tonic, which while subtle, brings another fruit element and works exceptionally well.
I have to say that cherry is not one of my favorite flavours and after the first experience of this gins aroma, I was sceptical, however on trying it for myself I was converted and this is a gin that I’m happy to have on the gin shelf and I can see why it’s winning a number of awards.
Little Quaker Distillery have recently moved into new premises in Darlington which includes their own shop. As yet they are still waiting for restrictions to be lifted so they can finally open their doors and allow people in to try their original gin along with other creations including a Blueberry gin a Strawberry and Raspberry Pink Gin and their Black Diamond Rum named after one of the locomotives that ran on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
If you are local then make sure you get down and support them and if not, then don’t worry as all of their products are available on their website which is found here.
Name:- Quaker Gin (Little Quaker Distillery)
Price:- £35 (70cl)
Proof:- 43% abv
Buy From:- Little Quaker Distillery Website
Disclaimer – Quaker Gin was sent to me as a PR sample, the review and all thoughts are the sole and honest thoughts of Manchester Food Tourist