Normally I’m excited to be writing about gin, however today I’m dreading it. My gin review today is, as you will have gathered from the title, is for London Hill Gin. The reason for my dread: London Hill Gin is from Ian Macleod Distillers. These are the same people who make my gin nemesis, Marlborough Gin. London Hill is another of their value brands which their website describes as “a versatile base for cocktails and long drinks alike”. At least the website also gives us some hints on the botanicals being used “The botanicals, which include juniper berries, citrus peels (lemon and sweet orange) and coriander seeds, are first macerated with neutral grain alcohol to extract their individual flavours“. The bottle itself is a little more forthcoming on the botanicals used “coriander, cassia bark, cinnamon, angelica, orris root and liquorice“. It sounds quite a solid start.
The gin is made at the Langley Distillery and is batch-produced in a copper pot still “Jenny“. Interestingly a Google-search of the Langley Distillery turns up the drably-named alcohols.co.uk. This site has a good page about the general process of gin distillation, and lists 10 botanicals. It’s unclear which of their gin(s) use these.
Now I’ve reached the point of no return, time to sample the gin:
Day or Night Gin ? My bottle is a healthy 43% abv. , although the London Hill Gin webpage has images with it at either 40% abv or 43% abv, so I guess it depends where in the world you buy it. Nevertheless it’s not a bottle you want to be seen with in daylight hours.
What does it smell of ? Nothing too strong, a bit like a light pine room freshener, but there are some nice orange flavours in their.
What does it taste of ? Surprisingly, in the raw, it was really quite good, a little floral at first, before a nicely balanced juniper/citrus/spice hit and a pleasingly-long spicy finish. I must admit I was so surprised I had to haul the Marlborough Gin up from “Gin Dungeons” to side-by-side taste it and see if these were really from the same distiller. Side-by-side the London Hill Gin was just better, it had more taste and held the flavours better. In a gin and tonic it mixes OK, which is, I guess, damning a gin with faint praise.
Buy It ? You can get a litre of the hard stuff for around €15.
Overall ? 3 out of 5. I must admit I liked this a lot more than planned. It’s a good value gin, nothing special but, as they say, a “safe pair of hands”. A bit like your friend “Big Mick”, it’s probably good to have around next time you are holding a party.