In the world of gin, pretty much everyone knows everyone else. I’ve been waffling about it for a long time (drinking it for even longer). We bump into each other at trade shows, and gin tastings, or introductions by another of the gin network.
But for the life of me, I can’t remember the first time I tried Sir Robin of Locksley Gin. It’s long been a staple at home, because it’s so light, and soft and sweet without being sickly, that you can sip it on it’s own for something to savour, you can chuck it in a G&T and let the elderflower shine bright, or you can easily add it to a Negroni for the more bitter grapefruit notes to take centre stage. And it always goes down well at a tasting.
Word reached my ears earlier this year that Locksley Distilling had new products in the pipeline, which had me rather excited. Not just one product, but two. And both are a bit special, but for very different reasons.
The first is a liqueur. Their Morocello takes the concept of Limoncello (yes that sweet lemon liqueur you get offered by the server at the end of your dinner in an Italian restaurant) but uses blood orange instead.
Think orangina. Think Wells Orange Squash. Think orange Starburst – but with a hefty kick of booze. It works beautifully in Prosecco or Champagne, creating a drink that looks a bit like Bucks Fizz, and tastes a bit like Bucks Fizz, but is distinctly more grown up – yes despite both containing booze, this adds a bit of elegance that the orange juice perhaps lacks.
The second new release is, well, I knew it was going to be good. But it’s a bit bloody awesome.
Their VSOT (Very Special Old Tom) is an Old Tom style gin (think heavily citrus led gin), that’s not only Navy Strength (57.5% as that’s the strength needed to still light gunpowder after it’s soaked in the spirit – handy on naval ships), but is aged in Sauternes casks.
And my god is it good.
On the nose, there’s a sweetness with a kick of heat to tickle your nose and remind you not to stick it in too deep. Raisins, and sweet apples, and doughnut peaches and apricots.
On the palate, it’s warm, syrupy, sweet. Spices and stoned fruit, those peaches creep in again, citrus tickle at the finish.
As it’s been so warm, I added a little ice, and more spice comes through, loads of vanilla, I still can’t escape those peaches, it’s the same kind of effect I get from ice wine, but less apple, more peach and apricot. Background of citrus and juniper, it sits at the back of the mouth.
Now, I did the next bit, so you don’t have to. I tried it in a G&T. I knew it was going to spoilt it, but I had to be certain right? And it did. It loses oodles of the complexity that makes it what it is.
Just don’t do it. Don’t bother.
I really want to play with cocktails with this but am not sure where to start. It’s sweet enough, so doesn’t need to go in an old fashioned? A Martini might suit it, but a Vermouth that’s too complicated would ruin it. I really need a bartender because this is so good, the last thing I want to do is waste it. Again.
Intrigued? Contact the distillers themselves for details of how/where to buy these pretties, as they’ve only just been released, but in the meantime, you can console yourself with their gin, available direct from their website.