Fifty Eight gin is a classic London Dry, made in London by an Australian, using the Single Shot method.
Price: ~ £30
Cast your mind back, if you can, to November 2017. ‘Lockdown’ was a word you never thought you’d hear outside a heist movie, Rockabye by Clean Bandit was at No. 1, Paddington 2 was just about to warm our hearts at the cinema, and I’ll wager you’d yet to even consider baking your first sourdough.
That month, almost thirty-six years ago, Craft Gin Club sent out 58 Gin.
The man responsible for this tipple is Mark Marmont, a rum-drinking Australian with no industry experience who came to London, settled down, drank all the rum in his local bar then finally tried a Martini. From there, Mark wanted to create a smooth gin to his own tastes, that would work in classic cocktails, and from the humble beginnings of a small copper pot still in his kitchen, and with a little help from the folks at 69 Colebrook Row, eventually he had a distillery in an old railway arch in Hackney Downs Studios. Since then, they’ve grown and moved, added a few more products to their line, changed branding, and even have a ‘make your own gin’ service.
A wonderful soft juniper is first to emerge, smooth and warming, with citrus quickly following in a similar vein. This is a classic, citrus gin profile, but it’s not overt or ostentatious. Instead there’s plenty of room to breathe and get acquainted with the aroma. For me, what makes the citrus so full and warming is the cubeb which I think can be a real star when used right. There’s a sweetness there too which, along with that tang that makes it a real joy to nose. It’s mouthwatering, despite its subtlety.
Neat, 58 is smooth and citrusy with a strong juniper presence. It’s far from bitter though, given the number of citrus fruits involved, and I think that’s thanks to the cubeb and vanilla, which become more evident the longer the flavours are left to sit. A nice earthy tone from the cubeb tempers the stronger citrus elements, and the classic botanicals of orris and angelica work well to hold things together whilst emparting their own flavours.
Water brings out the cubeb more to my tastes, but also the vanilla, though to a lesser degree. There are some really nice peppery notes on the tongue along with the grapefruit in particular which definitely alter the experience. The overall profile feels more earthy to me, a little less soft on the palate, but perhaps a little stronger too. This is really good, classic gin territory.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Franklin & Sons Indian Tonic with a slice of fresh orange peel to garnish). The result is absolutely delicious. Sweet citrus and a good hit of juniper obviously works wonders with the tonic, making this a lovely, refreshing drink. I personally think the orange peel really helps with the warmth of the citrus, and there’s a lovely subtle spice there too with the cubeb that keeps it from being one-dimensional. This is a great G&T.
Fifty Eight is a simple gin in many ways. It doesn’t try to be all things to all men, instead focussing on those warm citrus flavours that compliment juniper so well. As such it could be criticised for being unambitious, but I think that’s actually one of its strengths. It’s a classic gin profile done really well and based on what I’ve tasted today I’m confident it’s a versatile gin that will work in a lot of drinks, and I very much look forward to testing that hypothesis! Definitely recommended.
Add half a feather if you love classic, citrus forwards gins.
58 is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.