There are a lot of gins out there, and without taste testing them all - which would be very costly and time consuming - how are you meant to know what's good?!
First of all, you need to figure out what makes a gin good, and to do this you need to arm yourself with knowledge so we've compiled that here for you!
What Makes A Good Gin
Perhaps most importantly, juniper - the base of all gins - needs to stand out on its own for a great gin. A good quality gin is one that shows up in the way you drink it. In a Gin & Tonic, it needs to be distinguishable. The way to determine a bad gin is through a cocktail – a bad gin won’t stand up against the final serve. Great gins are all about the juniper up front, which must be complemented by the flavours which reflect where they are from. For example, our Catford Gin is infused by locally foraged catnip to create a distinctive tasting gin.
There’s diversity in gin, so experiment with flavours and determine what sort of things you enjoy. There’s many flavour profiles out there from the fruity end to the herbal end to the spice driven end, and at the end of the day flavour is a very personal preference!
Rarity & Availability
Rarity and small batch productions is something that drives sales. It’s a simple fact that gin can be produced a lot faster and cheaper than whiskies that are often labelled as rare and unique, but that's not to say that there’s no rarity in gin – it’s just not on the same scale as whisky is.
Gin is not aged. Instead it is a fresh distillate which only requires a small rest period. This resting period lasts a couple of weeks after manufacturing so, while some gins do barrel aged versions, it’s still essentially a fresh product. Rarity in gin is instead achieved through unique and difficult-to-source ingredients.
One thing to consider however, is that if you’re going to go for rare ingredients, the actual flavour has to pay off; there’s no point distilling gold leaf just because it’s rare, it won’t taste like anything. So make sure you're not fooled by gimmicks!
Some other things to look for are gins which challenge the status quo, those which challenge the alcohol percentage, use more fragrant botanicals and showcase great profiles with fewer ingredients in order to target a more discerning palate.
We hope this helps when it comes to making the tough choices, let us know if you have any other tips when it comes to finding your favourite blend!