When you really like Gin, its hard to find a good tasting session. Mission accomplished.
Despite having done a mead sampling session earlier in the day at The Vanguard- Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham our busy Saturday also included a Gin Tasting at the Hampton Manor before our Dinner at Peels
We have quite a lot of Gin at home, either bottles picked up from our own travels or ones we have been gifted. With that in mind, I hadn’t really considered that a Gin Tasting session might actually be an introduction to Gin rather than a sampling of some weird and wonderful bottles.
Needless to say, the session itself was set up (and beautifully presented) as more of an introduction into the history of gin with some tasters to get you started. However, as we sat down and chatted with our very friendly host we quickly came to a mutual understanding about what we needed. There were a couple of bottles lined up for us to try, a classic Bombay Sapphire, a Belgian Genever and a trade-only bottle of a new Hedricks variety, Orbium.
Our tasting session was probably more informal than most, as we chatted about the different gins we had tried, our favourites and our prefered method of serving. It was a good start to the evening and helped us settle into what turned out to be a very relaxed evening.
The Bombay was a fleeting taste, something we are familar with but wouldn’t normally order albeit their other varieties, East in particular are ones we tend to keep in the cabinet.
The Genever was more distinctive in flavour althout we did have to break from convention and add some tonic. We have tried straight gin several times before but it just isnt something we would drink by choice, even in Amsterdam we skipped the Genever bar to avoid drinking the spirit straight.
Orbium was an interesting choice, again we dont drink Hendricks regularly but I enjoyed this version which is mixed with quinine, wormwood and Blue Lotus Blossom. At the moment this is not available for public sale but I hope it will be made available soon as this would be a nice change from some of the standard options available.
Our host was excellent and catered to our interests, producing different gins for us to take a look at based on our conversations. We sampled a black gin, Infirmarian Black Hop Gin which was very interesting and made by Zymurgorium, one of our favorite distillers that we first discovered at 40st Pauls. We also sampled a Stratford Gin which was very similar to Gin Mare but made much closer to home.
The best part of our experience was the set up, spread across the table were small pots full of botanicals. Vanity and a touch of geekery meant we couldn’t help but be drawn to them and try to guess them. We did pretty well- cubeb pepper, juniper, cassia bark and rose petals being easy to spot. Other things proved more difficult, dried elderflower for example is much harder to identify when the signature leaves flowers are missing, orris root and angelica being equally difficult given the infrequency in which they pop up day to day.
Gin Tasting was £30pp and took approximately 45 minutes. We had 3 samples during this time plus an extra taste of the Zymurgorium which was not included.
HAMPTON MANORShadowbrook Lane