Ginuary 31st: sloe on the rocks.

And once again we’ve come to the end of the road! I marked the occasion today by heading to the end of another road, to drop into Nonesuch Distillery for my first visit.

You’ll find the distillery around half an hour out of Hobart, just past Sorell. Nonesuch currently exists as a humble wee thing of a shed on a working farm, but there are a whole hoard of expansions on the horizon. I need no more than a shed, a still, and a whole bunch of gin to be pleased, so I was sorted. Nonesuch first hit my radar a few months back at a little whisky house, hidden over on the small gin shelf (which I made a beeline for, of course). The question I really wanted answered was: why lead with sloe gin as your distillery champion?

Funnily enough, despite having a big chat with Nonesuch’s head distiller Rex, I don’t think I really got an answer to that. Don’t you need to lead with gin to make sloe gin? Yes, of course… and can adding sloe and sugar hide a bad base product? No, not really. You have to start strong! Rex is proud of his sloe and the gin that bolsters it, so he has finally buckled to pressure and bottled Nonesuch Dry Gin as well as the sloe champion. But today is a day for sloe gin, and so Nonesuch Sloe Gin it is.

 

Bonus feature succulent.

 
One of my questions for Rex was, “How do you best enjoy sloe gin?” I guess I still don’t really have my head around it. Is it meant to just be treated like normal gin when you look at things like G&Ts and martinis? Rex says yes, why not? He recommends the best sloe G&T is actually half sloe and half dry, so I’m going to have to try that one soon too. I’m still getting my head around sloe gin, so I’m obviously going to have to head out and have another chat to Rex sometime in the near future.

  
But for now, keeping things simple and lovely, cheers to the end of another Ginuary. Thanks for coming on the ride.

Ginuary 6th: Barrel Aged Gin.

I heard about barrel aged gin and barrel aged cocktails a couple of years ago—I’ve even tried a couple of barrel aged negronis in my time. But up until this Ginuary I hadn’t tried plain old barrel aged gin.

I did, however, have some in the cupboard. I managed to acquire a bottle of the limited first run of Four Pillars Gin’s barrel aged gin (bottle number 70, to be precise). And after sampling another barrel aged gin at the Taste festival the other day, I knew I couldn’t run this one through a cocktail. Not the first time, anyway.

So here’s me drinking barrel aged gin like I drink single malt scotch: in a lovely glass with a single ice cube.

Cheers, mate.

Cheers, mate.

Barrel aged gin is an altogether different monster. Four Pillars have aged their Rare Dry gin in French oak barrels that originally harboured chardonnay, and it’s resulted in a woody and very floral smooth drink.

I’d be interested to try this against another aged gin to compare just how much the barrel choice alters the flavour. That, or trying a different run of Four Pillars aged—though with a flavour like this, I can’t imagine they’d be bothered tampering with choices any time soon.

I tried a bit of the straight Rare Dry in comparison and it’s amazing what a few months in a barrel will do to this alcohol. Magic, I say.

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