A little over a month ago, I reviewed Brecon Special Reserve gin and came to the conclusion that it was a fantastic gin. Thinking that it may even rival the tremendous Sipsmith, I thought I would try a side-by-side comparison; here it is.
However, before that, a little tangent.
Last Saturday (June 11th) was World Gin Day but I had a child’s birthday to prepare for and a parent visiting, so all-day rampant gin consumption were not exactly the order of the day. I did however, introduce my mother to Tanqueray 10 and had a few myself, so all was not a total loss.
World Gin Day was set up by YetAnotherGin as a celebration of the lovely world of gin and a great summary of this year’s activities can be found here. I would have loved to have done a lot more for the day, but my son would have never forgiven me.
Anyway, back to the gin comparison.
Brecon Special Reserve and Sipsmith both struck me as very similar, high-quality gins with a nice balance of traditional flavours; no strange botanicals and no real gimmicks.
Unlike the Sipsmith/Juniper Green face-off, this turned out to be a really close-run fight with each round seeing the contenders neck-and-neck throughout.
Both bottles have cork stoppers and I was struck by the differences in the pop noise when pulling them out. The Brecon bottle gave a much deeper sound than the Sipsmith. This isn’t of any real significance – the musical difference just pleased me.
Smell: Sipsmith had more depth of scent and a greater juniper aroma. The Brecon was good, but was back-footed in the first round. Sipsmith wins round one.
Neat: Both gins were very smooth but the Brecon held the edge in warmth and spiciness in the mouth. It seemed to have a more complexity and filled the nose with more aroma in the after-taste. Round two goes to Brecon.
G&T – no fruit: Although, after the application of Fever Tree tonic water, both are very good, Sipsmith is slightly flat by comparison and the Brecon carries a lighter, but slightly more intense flavour. Two-one to Brecon.
G&T – with lime: As noted previously in my first tasting, lime utterly completes Sipsmith; it needs it like Abbot needs Costello, or Batman needs Robin (put that smutty thought away) – they are made for each other, and they complete each other. The lime brought the Sipsmith alive and produced a sublime gin and tonic that Brecon couldn’t quite muster.
This was, at best, an inconclusive match-up. Sipsmith probably wins on points alone and this is only because it works best in my favoured drinking format, the G&T with lime. Saying that, Brecon is about £10 cheaper on the bottle, and with so little in the taste/quality, this makes it a great choice for everyday drinking.
Also, with Brecon and Sipsmith beating each other when drank in different ways, I can imagine the Brecon being the winner in all manner of gin-based drinks. Not being overly experienced in the ways of gin cocktails, this is a bit beyond my ability to comment at the moment though.
Conclusion: Brecon is awesome, but in the end, it couldn’t quite get the best of Sipsmith in a G&T. For the price though, it is a damn-fine gin and is certainly the champion of its price-bracket.