Manchester Distiller’s Cut is a special edition made for Craft Gin Club, and features Dandelion & Burdock amongst its botanical lineup.
Price: ~ £35* (50cl)
Grains of paradise
* This edition is no longer available, so I have given the price of the Signature edition
Welcome aboard my time machine where I’ll be taking you all the way back to April 2018! That was when this bottle of gin arrived at my door, courtesy of Craft Gin Club. Me, a hoarder? Never!
Manchester gin is made in the heart of the city, and started life in the dining room of co-founders Jen and Seb. The two had their sights on opening their own bar, but when the realisation that they didn’t need their own, warehouse sized, distillery to make gin hit, they found themselves on another path. In a new house with an unused dining room, the two got hold of a 60l still and Manchester Gin was born. What began with an idea of running the still on a weekend while reading the paper soon changed, when the sheer level of demand for their gin saw them distilling through the night and delivering during the day, almost non-stop. Upscaling was required, to put it mildly, and by the time they moved the business out of their dining room, they had distilled 25,000 bottles and won Gold at the Spirit Masters for a micro-distillery. Fast forward and the gin is now made in a state-of-the-art distillery (with bar and restaurant) capable of producing a million bottles a year, which includes an extended range of flavoured and special edition gins.
The core of Manchester gin’s design is the Manchester Bee, an emblem of the city for over 150 years that represents the work ethic of the people, as well as the city being a hive of activity, and the sense of unity people feel. The design focuses on a hexagonal, honeycomb pattern embossed around the whole bottle, with the front label being the same shape. On the shoulder the words ‘made in Manchester’ are embossed, and the bee sits at the top of the label above the name and edition of the gin. On the back is a square label with a little blurb about the gin and makers, as well as the usual info. It’s a simple design concept, done incredibly well, and each edition has a different coloured label. I’m a huge fan of the branding.
Clean bright juniper punches out of the glass along with a sweet and creamy citrus aroma. The lemon and vanilla come through in a sumptuous, mouth-watering manner which is really making me want a Sgroppino! This is a luxurious smelling gin, with bright citrus high notes and lovely, subtle root elements from the angelica, but also dandelion, which is a botanical I’m a big fan of but one that isn’t often used in gins. There’s a mild, powdered element there too which is a lovely touch. For every element that grounds it in the classic profile, there’s something else that takes it in another direction. It smells fantastic.
Neat, there’s a slightly sour pine that’s immediately followed up with bitter citrus and a touch of earth. Sweet, creamy vanilla softens the flavour and sweetens it a little, and there’s a slight burn from the alcohol, though the liquid is smooth. There’s a definite fruity, peppery taste which I find is typical when grains of paradise feature, and adds a nice little kick, but for me it’s definitely a touch on the bitter side, and not as sweet and creamy as the nose suggests.
With water, the juniper and citrus come through a little more, but thankfully less bitter, along with some sweet and fruity elements. It’s a big improvement for me, diluting some of the harsher notes and bringing out the more flavoursome fruits and roots. The vanilla comes through nicely, along with hints of liquorice, bringing the sweetness up and making it much more palatable for me. Overall despite the dilution I feel that I can appreciate the flavours more now, and am enjoying it a lot more.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Fanklin & Sons Indian Tonic, with a wedge of blush orange to garnish). The result is very surprising, and delicious. What’s surprising here is that there’s an almost smokey element to the flavour, along with plenty of woody, rooty notes. It’s completely unexpected, but really interesting and I am definitely into it! The juniper remains dominant, but the citrus has almost disappeared for me, along with the vanilla, though I think they’re all working in the background to fill out the flavour here. Instead there’s a dry but muted pepper, with genuinely interesting wood notes. It’s a totally different drink, but a good one.
Manchester Distiller’s Cut is an interesting and I think versatile gin that will work well in a variety of cocktails. In the same way, I found it quite changeable too, improving with water, and changing dramatically in a G&T. I’m a fan and definitely look forward to trying it in other drinks.
I’m don’t think this edition is actually available any more, but if you can, I’d recommend giving it a try, and based on this, I’m looking forward to trying their Signature edition too!
Manchester Gin Distiller’s Cut is no longer available
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.