“I have come, but I do not choose now to do what I came to do. I will not do this deed”
So spoke Frodo Baggins as he stood at the Crack of Doom contemplating casting the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. I know how he feels. For the last year I’ve been planning to write about Mason’s Yorkshire Gin and now as I’m sitting in front of my computer I share Frodo’s reluctance, although I suspect I sound more like Alan Partridge than JRR Tolkien. My problem: theoretically Masons Gin has got everything going for it – it’s Yorkshire, it’s craft gin, the people behind it are gin enthusiasts, it seems popular; but I’m just not into it. So lets start with the background details.
Masons Gin is the product of, ahmm, “husband and wife team” Karl & Cathy Mason. It’s produced in their own distillery in Bedale in two 300 litre stills. The gin is distilled only once with the botanicals and then diluted to drinking strength with Harrogate water. As ever the full list of botanicals is a secret but include “Coriander seed, cardamom, bay leaf, pepper and a citrus mix of lemon, lime and orange”. The emphasis in the blend is on reducing the juniper and floral elements to allow the other flavours to come out.
Before we go into the nitty-gritty of the gin I should also mention that I bought my Masons Gin at the rather wonderful Yorkshire institution that is Lewis and Cooper, one of the most magical food stores in the world. If Harry Potter would have needed a bag of flour whilst shopping in Diagon Ally, then they would have filmed it at Lewis and Cooper. It’s also the place I bought the fabulous Durham Gin a few years earlier.
Day or Night Gin ? Well it’s a solid 42% ABV, so best finish your day’s work before you start.
What does it smell of ? This definitely belongs in that category of gins that smell of mens aftershave. Think old-school aftershave, more Old Spice than Allure Homme.
What does it taste of ? As the distillers planned there’s no real taste of juniper, instead you get the spiciness of cardamoms followed by a more bitter, earthy liquorice-tinged taste of fennel. I prepared it as a gin and tonic with the trusty Fever Tree tonic and it just lacked the complexity of flavour I was hoping for. As a comparison I tried it against the trusty Tanquerey No. Ten and it came up short, lacking a pleasant finish and full flavour of the latter.
Buy It ? It’s available at Lewis and Cooper and other good retailers, or direct from masonsyorkshiregin.com. It’s not cheap, £13.49 for a 20 cl mini bottle or £39.99 for 70 cl. Interestingly I couldn’t find a German stockist for this gin.
Overall ? 3/5 I really, really, really, really wanted to like this gin, but it never delivered what I was hoping for. Perhaps it’s just my gin preferences (floral and citrus) are heading in the wrong direction for this gin. On top of that it’s expensive – Yes I know it’s a small craft distillery, but if you are putting such an expensive gin out there, you expect it to deliver something special.