The best gins – taste tested

Drinks expert Leon Dalloway sips his way through a selection of the best new wave, artisan spirits to find his must-buy bottles, complete with tasting notes.

Gin is a global phenomenon. It’s on the lips of bar-goers and drink lovers around the world as it enjoys a resolute renaissance. The juniper elixir is now produced in all corners of the globe, yet London remains at the centre of gin production, proving itself to be the beating heart of the industry.

Here I’ve picked my favourite gins, and I’ve focused on what makes each gin unique. The botanicals I discuss are ingredients that showcase the variety of the drink in the modern age. All gins must use juniper and most also use citrus peels along with some spices and hopefully, once you read about the other components, you’ll find the right gin for you.
 

Victory ginVICTORY gin

Inspired by George Orwell’s 1984 and cold-distilled by booze aficionado Max Chater, this super small-batch creation is a gin full of intrigue. Max creates his potion in a basement on the south side of Tower Bridge. During distillation VICTORY Gin never rises above 48 degrees celsius and the botanicals see no heat whatsoever, therefore the gin harnesses the lighter oils from the botanicals only. It's uniquely flavoured with an instantly iconic label.

£34.50
Buy from Victory London


Warner EdwardsWarner Edwards rhubarb gin

The flavoured gin to end all other flavoured gins. Tom Warner and Sion Edwards take their classic Harrington Dry Gin and instead of diluting the distillate with water they use pressed Queen Victoria Rhubarb juice. Sound utterly delicious? Is is, with a royal stamp of approval to boot.

£32.95
Buy from 31 Dover


Manchester Three Rivers ginManchester Three Rivers

Manchester Three Rivers only started producing tasty liquid in 2016, so this is a truly fresh new gin. Distilled a stone’s throw away from Manchester’s Northern Quarter, master distiller Dave Rigby has produced a gin of intrigue and ease. It harnesses a creaminess that has the nostalgic nose of a Murray mint.  Dave adds oats to a traditional selection of botanicals that serves to offer a smooth mouthfeel. Best when stirred with a touch of dry vermouth and an olive (or three).

£35.85
Buy from Master of Malt


Burleigh’s London dry

Burleighs dry ginYou can find Burleighs Distillery near the Burleigh Wood in Leicestershire. Creator Jamie Baxter was wandering through the woods and struck gold in the form of the silver birch tree, which he combines with elderberry, dandelion and burdock to create a gin that soars with a eucalyptus and menthol flavour profile. Jamie and his team are rolling about special editions continuously so keep your eyes peeled.

£32.50
Buy from Burleighs

 

Silent Pool ginSilent Pool

Silent Pool is distilled in the Albury Estate in the Surrey Hills and takes its name from the mystical pool that the distillery resides beside. The gin is a sublime distillation using two distinct styles of juniper, then lavender, orange, pear, camomile, elderflower, Essex-grown kaffir lime leaves, linden flowers and rose petals among others add a touch of excitement. This is a new gin making serious waves in the juniper world.

£35.00
Buy from Silent Pool Distillery

St GeorgeSt George Terroir

This distillery is situated in an ex-aircraft hanger over the bay from San Francisco. They produce gins, absinthe and a coffee liqueur, but the jewel in St George’s crown is their Terroir gin. It has a taste that’s as refreshing as fresh rainfall, and it features a hint of Douglas Fir and all sorts of other delicious piney notes. A sip of this will have you feeling like you’re strolling through Yosemite national park!

£37.95
Buy from Ocado
 

East LondonEast London Liquor Co Batch 2

East London Liquor Company fired up their stills in the summer of 2014. They wasted no time in announcing themselves to the world with this belter of a gin. Lavender, sage, fennel and thyme all provide lovely herbal flavours, producing an English summer garden style of gin, perfect for sunny afternoons and balmy evenings. Plus, it packs a delightful punch at 47% ABV.

£31.95
Buy from The Whisky Exchange

 

Elephant ginElephant gin

Not only does this gin taste amazing, but the owners give 15% of all profits to two charities that focus on elephant conservation. They use five botanicals native to Africa including baobab, which are blended with more classic European style botanicals such as elderflower and apple. Complex, yet distinct in delivery.

£29.49
Buy from Master of Malt


GreenhookGreenhook Ginsmiths American dry

This gin uses a vacuum style of distillation which allows the process to occur at a much cooler temperature. This harnesses the lighter, more aromatic oils of the botanicals, which include chamomile, elderflower and ginger, creating a harmonious balance of flavour that is difficult to produce at higher temperatures and results in a stunningly well-balanced gin.

£38.99
Buy from Ministry of Drinks

Death's DoorDeath’s Door

Death’s Door distillery rip up the rule book by using only three botanicals. They solely use botanicals that grow wild on their native Washington Island: juniper, fennel and coriander seed. It’s simple yet beautiful. The dramatic name derives from the notoriously choppy body of water that passes by Washington Island.

£40.95
Buy from The Whisky Exchange
 

This review was last updated in December 2016. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at goodfoodwebsite@bbc.com. 

What's your favourite gin? We'd love to hear your product suggestions in the comments below... 

Comments, questions and tips

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whatscookin
27th Feb, 2017
There is another Irish Gin causing a stir over here at the moment - Gunpowder Gin produced in the NorthWest of the country in Leitrim - very tasty!
whatscookin
27th Feb, 2017
There is another Irish produced Gin called Gunpowder - produced in the northwest of the country in Leitrim - excellent I must say.
andyshep
11th Dec, 2016
Just discovered Salcombe Gin from South Devon. Simply the best!......
sheila57
21st Oct, 2016
I have always liked Bombay Blue Sapphire but have been trying other brands since gin has made a comeback. I find Tanqueray 10 a refreshing change as it has a more subtle taste.
shirley1265
19th Oct, 2016
My current favourite gin is a new one from the Galicia área of Spain and is called NORDES. It is very refreshing. So delicious and light with plain tonic and lemon.
lindapalmer1
11th Jun, 2016
Opihr is a beautiful spicy gin. Well worth a try.
bwcca
18th May, 2016
Sipsmith is the best.
borumha2
17th Apr, 2016
I'm newly returned to gin and so excited with the varieties available as well as the experimentation by small producers. My favourite is an Irish gin made in Kerry - Dingle gin. The herbs they use are unique to the area and make for a distinctive drink that is like no other. It's very hard to entertain anything less than perfection.
spincat
16th Jul, 2017
The more floral gins really benefit from Elderflower tonic water (Fevertree brand). It is delicious!!
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paulasiegers
28th Jan, 2017
Some tips from across the North Sea where the mother of all gins is made for centuries already. We started our own small but quite international (Dutch, Danish, Irish, Scottish) gin tasting club in May 2016. We get together every month and try 3 new G&T's then. Our best tips so far: - Bobby's Schiedam (nice & spicy) to go with orange & cloves - Hermit (Dutch) and Møn (Danish) (dry & salty) to go with grapefruit & samphire - Hanami (Dutch) (flowery) to go with berries and/or hibiscus