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.
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.