Greenall’s London Dry Gin

Finding myself back in the Sainsbury’s booze aisle with a slight lapse of memory, I decided to buy another bottle of gin. I completely forgot that I have a largely full bottle of Gordon’s in the cupboard. Oh well, more gin for me.

Greenall's London Dry Gin

Greenall's London Dry Gin

This time I settled on Greenall’s London Dry Gin. At £12 per bottle it was another low-priced bottle, but as the Juniper Green proved, cheap gin can be very good, so I had no concerns. The Greenall’s bottle is angular and sleek, and has a classy-looking label – but one shouldn’t judge a gin by its bottle.

Interestingly, G&J Greenall produces a massive 70% of the gin and vodka in the UK. It is the distillery that provides the bulk of the supermarket’s own label brands and offers contract distilling services to entrepreneurs and other spirits companies. This includes Bacardi, as G&J Greenall are reputed to produce Bombay Sapphire.

However, this is their premium gin offering, not some white-label product. Greenall’s Original has seven botanicals that bolster the juniper (so eight in total) – these include cassia bark, ground almond, coriander and lemon peel; the actual list seems to be quite difficult to come by. It is also the only gin in the UK to be produced under the watchful eye of the UK’s only female master distiller, Joanne Simcock.

Anyway, enough waffle, on with the tasting.

Upon opening the bottle, the aroma is rich and mellow. It is definitely a gin and has a noticeable juniper scent.

When I tasted it neat, I was pleasantly surprised. Greenall’s Original is a very smooth, mellow gin with enough juniper to hold its own. The feel is the mouth is oily and very heady with a warm spicy flavour underpinned by citrus. The flavour lingers long after it is gone and leaves you feeling slightly cozy. All-in-all this is a very smooth gin with lots of character – I have seen gins described as “creamy”, and while I have always thought this to be so much overblown nonsense spouted by booze aficionados, I am not sure this isn’t an accurate description for Greenall’s. It is very sweet for a London dry gin and under certain circumstances, it may be too sweet.

Mixed with Fever-Tree tonic water, Greenall’s Original made an incredible G&T. I drank the first one way too quickly because I was intrigued by the flavour – it was smooth, warm, spicy and sweet while managing to remain refreshing; definitely a slightly odd experience.

While the sweetness may not be to everyone’s tastes, this is a great gin and I will have to engineer a side-by-side tasting against Juniper Green. I suspect they will be very different but equally pleasant. Time will tell.

Update: 21/11/2011

The production of Hendrick’s is overseen by a female Master Distiller, Lesley Gracie and Brecon Gin is produced by Gillian Macdonald, although I don’t rightly know if she has “master” in her job title.


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