Gluggle Jug Gin is the latest offering from Craft Gin Club, in collaboration with Nelson’s spirits and Wade ceramics.
Price: TBC (available September 2019)
This gin was a total surprise. I had sampled a few of Nelson’s offerings at a gin festival in Leeds just a few weeks prior and had enjoyed them, but not been blown away, so I will admit to seeing the bottle and feeling a little pensive. I hadn’t realised at the time but Nelson’s are located near Mrs Raven’s childhood home of Stoke-on-Trent, and being a lover of ceramics she was excited about this particular collaboration!
Not only that but as per the label the distillery is ‘set on a fully Eco-Friendly site, with energy coming from a wind turbine, bio-mass fuel plant and solar panels! Excellent stuff! We’re big on the environment so it’s great to hear of distilleries taking this into consideration.
So… here are my thoughts on this special edition!
The bottle is a big, almost bulky, white ceramic made by Wade. Round at the top, it tapers out to a square at the bottom with a blue printed label on the front featuring the Nelson’s logo, name, and an illustration of the classic Gluggle Jug design. On the back is information on the distillery, gluggle jugs, Craft Gin Club and the gin itself! An impressive amount of detail!
For me though, the bottle could have been so much nicer. It’s clunky, and while it might stand out well it is, to me at least, not especially sophisticated in design. I can’t help but feel it’s been a massive missed opportunity. I’d have thought the obvious design choice would be to incorporate at least one or two elements of an actual gluggle jug into the design, like scales. That would have been amazing.
Straight out of the bottle, it’s clear that this gin is something special. The nose is bright and sweet, almost tropical. There’s a creaminess to it too, though a touch of burn along with it. It has the tang of juniper, but it seems to float away quickly, lifted up by warm citrus and spice. It’s an absolute treat on the nose and not at all as expected.
Neat, the juniper is more assertive, waxing its way over the tongue on a wave of green cardamom and citrus. There’s still that wonderful creamy taste that I can’t quite put my finger on. It’s floral, so I sense the hibiscus is playing its part, but even CGC don’t seem to have all the details of the botanicals as the list in the magazine ends with ‘plus a few special ingredients…’ so, not being as experienced on the palate as I would like to be (I’m working on it!) I could only guess at what else could be in there. I want to say maybe honey… but it would be a guess.
Add a splash of water and the citrus fruit comes through beautifully, with the orange adding a little flavour. The creaminess has gone, replaced instead by a stronger floral presence, changing the overall profile, I think, to a much more citrus based gin. The cardamom hints at a sourness along with the peppercorns, but I must say there’s still an almost tropical feel to it which I’m convinced is one of the secret botanicals! Mango?! It’s driving me crazy…
Finally, on the bottle itself, I’m told to enjoy the gin with a premium tonic and zest of lime. So I ignored that and had it (3:1 Fevertree Light) with a wedge of orange instead. And I’ll tell you for why! First, I don’t have any limes, but second I wanted to bring out the orange a bit more and felt the more bitter citrus flavours were present enough in the gin. Just my opinion! It’s a tasty G&T for sure, there’s a nice floral taste to it and I like how the orange plays with the citrus element, keeping things light and sweet. Given a few minutes to develop and things get even better, with the floral notes really hitting things off with the orange. I like this a lot.
Despite the disappointing bottle design, this is a great gin, and I’m a little frustrated that I feel like it’s the secret ingredients that tip it into that category! The interplay between all those citruses and the florals and spices is done extremely well, and the green cardamom does a beautiful job of lending a fresh spice without getting sour. I’m keen to try this in something different to try to bring out those mysterious tropical notes, but overall this is a big win for Craft Gin Club, and all involved!
Gluggle Jug will be available from September 2019
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.