Sing gin, named after the hamlet of Kettlesing, in the Yorkshire Dales in which it is made, is a family business that values craft, authenticity, and family. A small batch gin, inspired by the beauty of the Dales.
Price: ~ £38
In 2016, in the hamlet of Kettlesing in the Yorkshire Dales, founder Ian Thompson went down into his cellar with a copper pot still and a bunch of botanicals. I have no idea how long he was down there, perhaps no one does, but eventually he emerged with his very own gin recipe. Soon after that, his wife Caron and their twin sons James and Richard joined him in his dream to create a legacy that would celebrate the beauty of Yorkshire, capturing its spirit in mood, method, ingredients, and flavour.
From there, the family set up a distillery just a few minutes from their home and Sing Gin was born. Made from a grape base (a nod to its traditional use in making juniper spirits back in the 13th century), all of the botanicals are hand crushed with a large pestle and mortar before being steeped overnight inside their still Bella (named after the first family dog… so extra points from me there!). From there the liquid is distilled in 50 litre batches over a four hour period, passing through a thumper before reaching the condenser.
One of the star botanicals in Sing Gin is Flax seed, an historic Yorkshire crop that the team grow themselves.
The bottle is a medium height, round number with shallow shoulder, wide neck and gold painted wooden stopper. Unfortunately the synthetic cork looks a little ugly through the top of the bottle, but it’s safe to say that everything beneath it is absolutely gorgeous.
Inspired by Fountains Abbey and its tranquil water garden, the bottle is screen printed with a design that bisects the bottle horizontally and is mirrored with gold on top and blue below. The design itself is of the key botanicals in the gin illustrated in a beautiful repeating pattern that includes mint leaves, angelica flowers, coriander leaves, and flax, all growing up (and down) from the ground. Front and centre within a solid print is the name of the gin in contrasting text, beneath another lovely illustration of the fearsome gargoyle from the Fountains Abbey water garden, said to be the protector of their secret recipe! Around the neck is a printed collar with the slogan ‘Beauty is only gin deep’ It may be a simple bottle, but it’s an elegant design and I really like it.
Juniper rises from the glass amid a soft and warming combination of orange and coriander. This is a comforting aroma, and though there are bright notes of citrus, there are no sharp edges, or dry tones to advance on the senses. Here I find a gentle aroma, full of that orange but also some earthy tones from the angelica and ginger. I find it a relaxing experience, pleasant and familiar.
Neat, the gin is lovely and smooth, with a far more savoury flavour than the nose suggests. I get a slightly oily taste, which I presume is the flax, alongside a waxy pine and slightly green, vegetal flavour. What surprises me is how little orange I get on the palate, and indeed I often find gins that use a grape base to be very distinguishable too, but not so here. Though the orange is there when searched for, it’s a deeper, more bitter flavour than expected. Delving a little further, the ginger does come through, almost hiding beneath the orange peel, while the mint passes by almost unnoticed, and at once leaving a tinge of doubt as to whether it was really there, or just my imagination. Overall it’s pleasant, with some nice, deep earthy tones, but I’d also like a little more from it.
Water releases a lot of the flavours that felt a little elusive before. The orange fleshes out (excuse the pun) a little while some more robust, dry and woodier notes come through nicely. Slowly, the mint comes through and the ginger comes with a little more of a zing. Neat it tasted quite green, but it’s now fairly light brown to me, if that makes sense, and while a number of the flavours are enhanced here, it’s lost a little of its cohesion. There’s a fairly big difference, but overall I’m looking forward to trying it with tonic.
Finally, a G&T (3:1 Ridge Valley Indian Tonic with a wedge of lime to garnish). The result is very tasty indeed, but improved with an extra glug of gin! If you’ll excuse the pun (and it’s hard not to make this particular one!) with tonic is where this gin really sings. It’s very easy to drink, working well with the tonic which brings out some really pleasant woody notes for me, along with hints of citrus. Enjoyable as it is though, it doesn’t stand out, and again the flavour isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be.
For my money, Sing is a competent gin that just doesn’t have enough about it to make it stand out. I think its main problem is that it’s just not flavoursome enough. What’s there is nice: it’s smooth, well-balanced and ticks a lot of boxes… but it’s just too much hard work to really get enough from it in my opinion. Yes it’s easy to drink, but I feel that’s more due to the lack of a challenge it poses to the taste buds. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just fine, and in a crowded market, at the price, I fear that’s not enough. Still, if you find yourself on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales and see a bottle, it’s worth a try.
Sing Gin is available online
All reviews are of the author’s personal collection, bought and paid for by the author, unless otherwise stated.