Blackfriars Gin

Someone going by the moniker Gin-Lover posted a comment on my about page back in September, telling me about an offer that Sainsbury’s was running on their Taste the Difference range of gin, Blackfriars. I never managed to get there in time as I was awash with other gins at the time, but I have some now. So this one is for you Gin-Lover; sorry it took so long.

Blackfriars Gin

Blackfriars Gin

The Blackfriars bottle looks suspiciously like the Greenall’s bottle with a different label. It comes as no surprise that Blackfriars is distilled by G & J Greenall (as is most supermarket gin). The label claims ten botanicals but lists only the following five…

  • Juniper berries
  • Coriander seeds
  • Angelica root
  • Orange peel
  • Lemon peel

The full botanical list is hard to come by, but I would love to know the full list, as it is a surprisingly complex gin. Blackfriars is not only a quadruple-distilled London Dry, but also weighs in at a hefty 43% export strength. It also picked up a silver award from the IWSC in 2010 (the same year as Oliver Cromwell gin from Aldi).

Removing the metal screw-cap and sticking my nose in the top of the bottle revealed a decent juniper aroma. It was less alcoholly (if that is a real word) than many, in spite of export strength. There were also tiny hints of citrus about it (note: my nose is just recovering from a cold and isn’t at its most receptive right now).

Sampled neat Blackfriars gin is fairly smooth; it has a good, solid junipery taste and carries a sweetness that surprised me. It is a warm and spicy gin with earthy undertones and a certain oily character. The addition of water added to this with the spiciness really coming through.

Mixing the Blackfriars with Fever-Tree tonic water produced a very rewarding G&T. Its spiciness is maintained and I thought I could taste angelica peeking through. The slice of lime complimented the earthy-spicy notes and the tonic and juniper made for a crisp, refreshing drink.

I also tried it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic water. The added floral notes of the tonic made for a tremendously complex drink with all you expect from a G&T, just amplified.

It has been a while since I have tried such a spicy gin, and by Jove, I love it.

This is a great gin for its price and stands up very well against the other quality gins in its price-bracket (Juniper Green, Greenall’s). I would not be disappointed to be served this at a party.


3 thoughts on “Blackfriars Gin

  • February 3, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    43% is a good strength for an own-brand gin. I’m quite fond of the Tesco Finest too (but Aldi is my favourite cheap one). I’ll have to keep an eye for Blackfriars though.

    • February 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      It has been a long time since I have had a bottle of Greenall’s, but Blackfriars strikes me as very similar. I would have to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure.

  • September 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I bought my Wife a bottle of this 43% Proof Blackfriars Gin with a Bottle of Russchian Pink Tonic, I am not normally a Gin Drinker, but it was very Refreshing and quite different, I shall be buying this again !


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