Sainsbury’s is, for the uninitiated, a British Supermarket chain. It targets middle-class shoppers. That is to say it is posher than, Tesco or Asda, but probably not as posh as Waitrose. As such it’s obviously a good place to sell folks gin. So good that Sainsbury’s sell
5 different own-brand gins. One of these is Sainsbury’s Blackfriars London Dry Gin. Where it fits in their portfolio of gins is not quite clear, although I guess it’s somewhere above Sainbury’s Gin, basics but is not quite a green-bottleish as their Sainsbury’s Green Bottle Dry London Gin.
Enough of Sainsburys, this is what you need to know about the gin? Probably the most important is that it’s made for Sainsburys by G&J Greenalls up in Warrington, Cheshire (England). Greenalls have been making gin for over 250 years and sell their own Greenalls brand well as other brands. As for the gin itself, it’s quadruple-distilled and the 10 botanicals include “juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica roots and orange and lemon peel”. I’m thinking that Sainsbury’s should have used an Oxford Comma there, but I’m not that smart. As for the Blackfriars motif, I assume the lack of an apostrophe in the title suggests that the gin is named after the Blackfriars district of London, rather than this gin being made/owned or indeed consumed by the Blackfriars themselves.
As ever the bottle designs contains some interesting details, including a picture of St. Paul’s cathedral – just like the Marlborough Gin. Are they implying that this is the spiritual home of London Dry gin ? In addition the cap mentions that the product is “Taste Tested by Customers”, is this another 2016 post-expert motif ? Did I mention the following stand-out other features mentioned on the bottle, well not only is the drink suitable for Vegans but the bottle closure is “Screwcap”. Enough babbling, on to the hard stuff.
Day or Night Gin ? Well it’s an export strength 43%, so unless you are one of those hard-drinking foreigners I’d suggest you leave it for the evening.
What does it smell of ? It’s not a strong smell, juniper (duh), but with something a little petrol-like in there.
What does it taste of ? Drank neat it’s a very smooth – I guess that’s the quadruple distillation process. The main taste is slightly sweet with citrus notes and a short finish. In my gin and tonic test the Blackfriars went AWOL, there was nothing, zero, zip of the gin taste coming through.
Buy it ? In this case you need to buy it from Sainsbury’s (link here), where you can buy 70cl for £13 (although this is a special offer, saving you a £1).
Overall ? 1 out if 5 – I had high expectations of the Blackfriars. It combined Greenalls distilling skills with Sainsbury’s push to create a quality own-brand product. Indeed the base gin wasn’t a bad sip, however sadly the Blackfriars was unable to deliver anything to the gin and tonic. I even began to think I’d forgotten to add it to my G&T. That’s bad.