City of London Dry Gin (or COLD Gin) is distilled at the City of London Distillery, which is the first distillery to be commissioned in the City of London (or “The Square Mile”) for over 200 years – are you picking-up on the theme yet?
The distillery has been created as a destination as much as a place to create gin. Not only is there a bar at the distillery but they do distillery tours, gin master-classes and corporate gin creation sessions, as well as making the venue available to hire for your own events. It really does seem to have made itself as accessible as possible to the general public and tried to tap into every possible revenue stream.
The project is the brainchild of Jonathan Clark and Jamie Baxter, the latter being the master distiller that bought us Chase Vodka and William Chase Gin.
While grain neutral spirit is bought-in, the rest of the distillation and bottling process happens on-site. The gin is bottled at 40% and at least two of the citrus fruits are used fresh.
- Coriander Seed
- Angelica Root
- Liquorice Root
- Fresh Orange
- Fresh Lemon
- Pink Grapefruit
The gin is not cheap; retailing at £32.50 from the distillery, it’s placing itself firmly in the top-tier price bracket (although, it is available a couple of quid cheaper elsewhere).
The bottle is a fairly standard heavy-bottomed round-shouldered affair but the dressing does set it apart from most. The neck is capped with a cork and then dipped in bright red wax (I love a wax topping). There’s a narrow, two-inch-wide label on the back of the bottle with an image of St. Paul’s Cathedral on the inside; when the bottle it full, the liquid magnifies this to fill the full width of the bottle, which is a really nice touch.
Cutting into the wax and opening the bottle (small squeak, satisfying pop) and getting to grips with it, here’s what I found.
Giving COLD Gin a good sniffing reveals a heavy citrus load. The juniper is quite restrained but so is the alcohol. That’s about it.
Like the nose, the juniper in the neat gin is quite restrained. It carries a boat-load of citrus and there’s definitely some grapefruit in there. There’s also a hint of toffee-like vanilla (who knows where that came from). The alcohol is fairly well restrained.
Blimey! A Fever tree tonic really brings-out a torrential cascade of citrus. The grapefruit mentioned above really comes to the fore and the experience drips with different citrus fruits from a fresh and fruity attack right though to the slightly bitter, dry finish. The juniper is mild and takes a back-seat through the citrus-ride and there’s little spice or root flavours in evidence.
There are a lot of similarities between this and Larios Gin but COLD Gin is obviously the better quality of the two. COLD is smoother and while it might be a little one-dimensional, it has a multifaceted one-dimensionality (which sounds a little counter-intuitive) that gives it a lot more depth and interest. However, it does have a much higher price-tag than Larios, and the big question in my mind is: does it warrant that steep ticket-price? I’m not convinced that it does; to my mind it should sit in the mid-twenties price bracket. It’s good but I don’t think it ranks up there with No.3 or Herno Juniper Cask, especially when Whitley Neill comes so much cheaper. Saying that, citrus-forward gins don’t float my boat like a juniper-forward gin does, so if your tastes favour citrus, then City of London Dry Gin might be worth the outlay.