Twenty-twenty. What a year.
But you were there, you know what happened, so I don’t think I need to give you any spiel about things being ‘crazy’ or how we all got used to ‘the new normal’. All I’ll say is that I hope you and all your loved ones remained safe and well.
It felt odd doing my first end of year review at the end of 2019 (especially as I’d not even been blogging for a whole year), but this time it feels pretty cool to be doing it. I’ve made progress in creating a recipe for my very own gin, and despite almost certainly drinking more overall this year, the blog did slow down a little. I’m not quite sure how I managed 62 reviews in ten months last year… but I think this year I’ve managed to keep going at a good rate, having reviewed 46 gins!
I’ve tried a few more than that too… so I guess it’s about time I provide you with the 2020 list of gins wot I want to write about!
As before, some ground rules.
- This list is of gins I have tried for the first time this year. So don’t raise any fingers if I mention a gin that’s been around for years!
- It won’t necessarily be only gins I’ve reviewed, but it will be gins I’ve tried more than a tiny sample of. Some I’ve enjoyed for the first time this year, but have yet to blog about.
- As with all of my reviews, it’s based on personal taste, and while I do my best to make my reviews informative and relevant to all, this post is all about my favourites!
- Unless stated, there is no order to the lists.
So, without further ado, let’s get down to business!
As we know, design has become more and more important as brands battle it out on the aesthetics in order to stand out from the crowd! Some go super fancy, others super simple. Here is my favourite from this year:
It seems re-branding is all the rage these days, and I completely understand why. So many producers are starting small, putting everything they have into making their gin dreams come true, and for that reason, dropping vast sums of money on a custom bottle design just isn’t in the cards. Until, as you’d hope… success comes. And deservedly, success has come for Luke and Jess at Whitby, who did just that. This year, they r-branded their bottles (and just in time for their special Demeter edition for Craft Gin Club!) with their own design, and it is phenomenal.
So here we are… again! I’m not sure the gin category has shown any real signs of slowing down this year, which is great… but the double edged sword is that neither has the ‘gin liqueur’ category from the looks of it! Suffice it to say if you’ve been drinking something poured from a ‘snowglobe’ over Christmas then… well, I hope this blog helps you find something a little more refined (and not in terms of sugar!).
I’m so happy that the gin category has continued to grow this year, and while there are countless brands that I’ve yet to taste (sadly), I can only comment on what I’ve tried and tested right here in the nest, and so: here are my favourite gins from 2020:
Gin aux Agrumes
In May, Craft Gin Club sent us a gin from La Distillerie De Monaco, the country’s first distillery. Originally set up to produce L’Orangerie liqueur, the owner, Philip took interest in the booming gin scene and created this beautiful gin as a celebration of Monaco’s citrus fruits. It was also recently announced as CGC’s gin of 2020!
Mackintosh – Old Tom
I mentioned Team Mackintosh in my roundup of 2019, having met Jim at Junipalooza. When they announced they were expanding their range to include an Old Tom and Mariner’s Strength, I signed right up and chose the OT, which duly arrived at the end of April this year. It’s a gorgeously sweet and tropical gin (featuring pineapple, grapefruit, and candy syrup), perfect for summer sipping!
My friend Anthony (@BrimandTonic on Twitter) sent me a sample of their original gin, as well as their new FireShip (high strength). For me, the regular gin really stood out as having an exceptional flavour that ticked all my boxes. It’s very high on my list for 2021!
Hidden Curiosities – Aranami Strength
Jenny kindly sent me a miniature of this a while ago and it blew my mind! I’m a fan of the original, which I reviewed back at the end of August this year, and was expecting this to be similar, albeit pack a much bigger punch with the 59% ABV, and I was (pleasantly) surprised to find it a different beast altogether! An absolutely delicious gin and I hope to get my hands on a full bottle of at some point!
And there we have it! My favourites from the year that was 2020! And what a year it’s been! Full of, if we’re honest, a whole plethora of shit that I can only hope my blog had distracted you from, if briefly!
Next, chums and other bloggers, thanks for keeping a sometimes anxious Raven company:
- Gin & Beer
- Sipping & Styling
- The Gin Shelf
- The Gin Lord
- The Aperitif Guy
- The Ginasium
- Gin a Ding Ding
- Gins Magic
- From the Gin Shelf
- What’s Katie Doing?
- Under the Ginfluence
- and of course: Gin Foundry
Apologies to anyone else I’ve missed off! I’ll be sure to update this list once I remember!
Thanks for being a part of my blog, and happy 2021!