This is another gin review that’s been a long time in the offing.
I’ve followed Mark Marmont and his gin exploration on social media for a while – but despite getting my mitts on a dinky little bottle to play with – it’s still ended up in the backlog. Mostly because a dinky little bottle is easy to misplace.
But we’re here now, there’s gin, there’s chilled tonic, ice and we’re ready to go.
The story of 58 Gin starts with a move from Australia to London. Mark had the good fortune to settle in at 58 Colebrook Row – an address that will sound a little familiar to Londoners and cocktail lovers alike, as it’s a short hop down the road from 69 Colebrook Row, aka The Bar With No Name.
Unsurprisingly, Mark became a frequent visitor to the bar (as anyone would) and this former dive instructor and boat skipper soon discovered a new passion. Gin.
As with any gin geek, Mark became consumed by this exploration, in particular trying to find a gin that he really liked, moving from sampling into distillation – the latter earning him the nickname ‘Moonshine Mark’. Eventually he did find a gin he liked, one that he had created, and this became 58 Gin.
58 Gin is produced in the distillery in Hackney Downs, using 9 different botanicals – juniper, coriander, bergamot, orris root, cubeb pepper, angelica, Sicillian lemon peel, pink grapefruit and bourbon vanilla, and a 50% ABV grain spirit. The botanicals are added to the alcohol and placed into Mark’s alembic still and left overnight to macerate.
The following day, heat is applied gently to the still and distillation takes place over 6 hours – the heads and tails are removed (these mostly contain alcohols that are both unpleasant tasting, and not very good for you) leaving the heart, the middle part of the distillation, which becomes 58 Gin, which is then bottled at 43%ABV.
On the nose, 58 Gin is green, lightly floral and for me, the coriander stands out. There’s a distinctive soft lemon scent that’s particular to coriander and it floats above the roundness of the vanilla, the pine of the juniper and the floral bergamot.
On the palate, that grassy lemon note is still prominent, but underneath the florals from the grapefruit and the bergamot play, shored up by a nice round mouthfeel, which I suspect comes from both the vanilla and the orris root working together. There’s a nice little spicy finish, that isn’t ‘hot’, just warming.
Whilst pleasant on it’s own (I suspect it would make a great Martini, so I need to get some new vermouth in for a play around), this is perfect in a G&T. Sticking with a lighter tonic (I really want to taste the gin) there’s a light citrus bitterness that comes out, that is completely refreshing and makes me yearn for a patio, my sunglasses and warm sunshine.
It’s a proper palate cleanser, which also makes me think it would be perfect for a G&T sorbet, rounding off a meal nicely.
I also suspect that a natural cinchona style tonic (Bermondsey Tonic Water, or Syndrome for example) that would work well – there’s something about their sweetness that would work with the citrus and coriander of the gin beautifully.
Overall, this is a great gin, and you can tell it’s made by someone who loves it. Keep an eye out for Mark’s one off bottlings too – though I’m not giving you the links for those. I’m going shopping first.
With thanks to Mark for the sample bottle to review.