Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas gin was produced especially for Craft Gin Club by the award winning English distillery.
Price: ~ £N/A
Dan Szor, the founder of Cotswolds distillery, was a man who had fallen out of love with a career in fiance and who suddenly found himself made redundant. If ever there was a time to change direction, it was then, so Dan and his family decided to make the Cotswolds, a place they had cherished for years, their permanent home. You see, Dan had a plan. A plan to make whisky. And make whisky he did! Setting up a distillery, he surrounded himself with all the equipment and experts needed, produced his whisky, and poured it into casks ready for its minimum three year maturation. Suddenly Dan was done, so a new question arose: what now?
The answer was gin. Once again, Dan called in the experts, and with three distillers, went about distilling around 150 different botanicals and 60 recipes, of which Cotswolds flagship gin was one. Since then the brand has won awards and fans all over, and the distillery has grown and grown. Cue the entrance of Alice, the distiller behind this new edition. Alice began working in the shop over a summer, eventually finding herself in the lab creating flavours and distillates, where she immediately began to shine. Having created a few other editions including an award winning Old Tom, it was Alice who was tasked with creating a special CHristmas edition for Craft Gin Club.
Taking cues from the original gin, she wanted to add a little Christmas magic, and eventually decided on clementine. Not just peel though, the whole thing, adding the local lavender to compliment the citrus. The gin retains the distilleries signature cloudiness when mixed, as a result of the high levels of essential oils present in the liquid.
The bottle is the same as the original, which is a pleasant shape in very dark green glass (it looks black until you view light through it), but they’ve added a larger, special Christmassy label. Around the original design, there’s a pleasant and detailed colour illustration showing the botanicals growing and in full leaf and flower. Hanging either side and with little clasps are two fruits made to look like decorations, one is a clementine and the other actually looks like a lime (though I’d have expected a grapefruit given it’s in the list of botanicals?). The standard diagonal label runs through giving the name of the edition and a little description. On the back is a dark label further describing the gin and distillery, as well as the usual info. Its nice design, subtle but pleasing.
Right from the start there’s an obvious intensity to the aroma, with a zingy, citrus heavy juniper leaping out. It’s fresh and has a little warmth behind it, though the citrus is right there alongside. It’s a very classic profile, a touch earthy and redolent, and I get a pleasant green feeling from it, which alternates with sensations of lemon and orange. Later I get hints of cardamom and more subtly, lavender, which comes as a pleasant answer to the call of the citrus and juniper. There’s a heaviness to it which I really like, despite the citrus and touch of spice. It’s an inviting aroma, and I can’t wait to take a sip.
Neat, juniper hits the roof of the mouth with a burst of fresh pine, and as with the nose, the citrus is there too, fresh and a little bitter. This is definitely a classic, dry gin and it has a sharp bite to it up front that’s refreshing and not too strong. For me, there are hints of the pepper and cardamom intertwining nicely to give a fresh spicy kick to back up the citrus. The finish is more subdued, with the lavender appearing, but for me more as a cushioning of the more harsher flavours, rather than one on its own.
Water brings out some sweeter flavours for me, as well as the pepper, which feels like it’s been given a real boost. The clouding is definitely visible and is nice to see. It’s still very dry to taste, with juniper and cardamom strong all around. The citrus is less pronounced, as are the warmer flavours I was getting before. For me it’s got a strong bite from the pepper, and to a degree the cardamom, that detracts a little from the overall enjoyment.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 The London Essence Co. Indian Tonic with dried grapefruit and star anise to garnish). The result is very cloudy, but a little disappointing, even after adding another little glug of gin (and please bear in mind CGC’s ratio for this is 4:1!). The flavours don’t really feel like they work as well as they could here, though I’m inclined to blame the tonic for the most part. I find it quite difficult to put the taste into words. It’s not so much that there’s anything wrong with it, but it does taste completely different to my expectations based on the flavours I had experienced sampling it neat and with water. Very little of the gin comes through for me, certainly none of the flavours I was enjoying before, with the drink producing instead a bit of a mess of grapefruit and pepper, with very little else (other than a fairly generic ‘gin’ element) to say. I am honestly surprised, and frankly a bit gutted!
A difficult one to say the least. While I enjoyed it neat and with water, I really thought it would work wonders in a G&T, but on this occasion at least for me, it did not. I do however think it would work very well in a Negroni, which I will be trying soon, no doubt! So what to make of this? Well, for anyone concerned, this is most definitely still a classic, dry gin, and not a Christmassy imposter like so many others. I’m not too concerned about the G&T, I think it’ll work well in other drinks as the quality of the liquid, when drunk neat, will attest. So while I’m not blown away (I’m a big fan of the original) it’s still a good gin and I’m sure members of CGC will be happy. That said, if I had the choice, I’d take the original (though I’ve definitely got my eyes on their Old Tom!).
Remove half a feather if you’re a G&T kinda person
Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas is available via Craft Gin Club only.
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.