Slingsby is a gin bursting with botanicals and celebrates the restorative heritage of Harrogate.
Price: ~ £40
Green and jasmine tea
Silver posie thyme
Named after William Slingsby, who discovered the unique properties of the natural spring water from the Tewit Well in Harrogate, founders Marcus Black and Mike Carthy wanted to create a gin that celebrated this history. The gin uses a number of locally inspired botanicals, and half of the total number is sourced from the nearby Rudding Park, along with tea from Taylors of Harrogate, and water from the Harrogate aquifer. Not everything comes from Harrogate though, with the remaining botanicals coming from around the world. Finally, they all come together at Alcohols Ltd. in Birmingham to be distilled and bottled.
The bottle is a beautiful blue glass, squared with rounded, cut corners and large dimples on the side. There’s a second round shoulder just above the corners where it rises to a round neck that is topped with a lovely dark wood stopper that features a bronzed medallion showing the Harrogate Pumphouse, a nice touch. On the front is a screen printed label with the name of the gin surrounded by white and gold illustrations, also featuring the Pumphouse. This sits above an embossed script signature of W. Slingsby. On the back is a paper label with a nice blurb about the inspiration for the gin and some of the featured botanicals, above the usual info. It’s a nice bottle that is easily recognisable, but its the colour that really makes it.
Right out of the glass juniper is matched easily by some lovely warm citrus notes. It’s bright and fresh, with sweet herbal elements and an almost candy-like essence. At the back there’s a bright rooty, almost chocolatey note, which I find particularly delightful. Overall it’s citrus heavy, but an almost fizzy pop citrus that’s bright and sweet. It smells great.
Neat, there’s a lot more of a herbal element to the flavour, but it’s still reminiscent of lemonade (in a good way), with hints of chocolate and pine. There’s a fairly thin mouthfeel to it, which is a shame, though there’s still plenty of flavour. There’s a much heavier savoury aspect too, which does a really good job of providing some balance to those sweeter elements, and adds some subtle green, leafy tones.
Water brings out a whole host of flavours, including a heavy dose of grapefruit, which is delicious. Alongside that is a touch of rhubarb, and some pleasantly sweet earthy tones, with the delicious chocolate remaining. Finally some less savoury greens come through in a subtly stewed flavour that gives a good body to the overall taste.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with rosemary and lavender to garnish). The result is a lovely drink full of very interesting flavours. The tonic brings out a lot that wasn’t there before, and enhances what was. There’s less of the sweet citrus, and more robust, richer flavours coming through. I still get a lovely chocolate note, which is probably my favourite element of this gin, but also a little wood, and a hint of soft fruit. There’s also the merest suggestion of a floral element too. It’s light and sweet, without being sickly, but it still has enough going on to keep it interesting. Definitely multi-dimensional.
I bought this gin on offer some time ago, and had a little taste as soon as I bought it. I must say that today has made me realise it’s much better than I remember. With 24 botanicals there is of course a lot going on here (though you never know how much any one botanical truly features in the mix), and that comes through well in the flavours produced. It’s a wonderfully complex gin, without feeling laboured, by which I mean there’s a lot to taste and a lot of flavours to mull over, but the gin is good enough that it doesn’t feel overly done. The G&T was very good, but if I had to fault it I’d say it felt a touch conflicted, so while it was a delight to sip and think about what I was tasting, it was missing that one overriding element that would take it to the next level. It’s a truly enjoyable tasting experience, but as much as I enjoyed it, I do think the price is a little high.
Add half a feather if money is no object
Slingsby is available online and in shops
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.