MM columnist and Drinks Enthusiast, David Marsland, takes his tastebuds to Manchester Central's Northern Restaurant and Bar Show to provide tasting notes for Sacred Spirits...
Manchester was the host of the annual Northern Restaurant and Bar Show at Manchester Central last week, where amongst the guest masterclasses, Ian Hart brought along his gin making expertise.
This unique way of involving the consumer has spiralled to new heights since the launch back in 2009, and its all created in the living room of his home. Having originally met both Ian and his partner in crime Hilary Whitney in London last year, I was very excited to see what Ian had in store for us at the Restaurant and Bar Show.
Turns out it was to be an insight into Sacred Gin and eleven of the botanicals that are used, with the chance to create our own at the end.
Below are the botanicals, and a little note on how each displays itself on the nose and palate.
Clean nose with only a slight juniper aroma. Surprisingly easy-going on the palate.
Mixed Citrus Blend (orange, lemon and lime) -
Very light on the nose with a smooth, long taste.
Angelica Root -
Very clean on the nose with a slight sweetness, with a palate of creamy potato.
Coriander Seed -
Smooth with a slight citrus and coriander nose, but a slight harshness and very little flavour on the palate.
Green Cardamon Pods -
Slightly harsh on the nose and palate with ony a small flavour.
Licorice Root -
Floral and clean on the nose, with a hint of sweetness on the palate.
Pink Grapefruit -
Subtle aroma with a rather potent attack to the palate.
Orris Root -
Slightly bold on the nose, but a freshness on the palate.
Star Anise -
Slight aniseed that slowly powers through on the palate and nose.
A freshness on the nose, following to the palate.
Cassia Bark -
Slight sweetness on the nose, and again on the palate with a hint of harshness near the end.
After nosing and sampling each botanical, we were given the chance to create our own gin using what we had in front of us.
I went for a blend of juniper, mixed citrus, green cardamon pods and nutmeg creating a rather hazy nose but a smoothness on the palate with a mix of citrus and cardamon dominating the palate.
Possibly not as good as an award winning gin like Sacred, but it was a fun way to mess around with the different ingredients and to see how each can compliment, and not so compliment each other.
So how does Ian Hart’s Sacred Gin compare to my own?
Sacred Gin – 40%
Clean, with a very subtle nose of fresh pine and violet. A dry, juniper let flavour on the palate, with a spicy edge that lingers for a long finish.
We were also lucky enough to try out his Spiced English Vermouth which is created using barks, peels, herbs and spices including organic wormwood from Somerset, organic thyme for the New Forest and English wine from Chapel Down in Kent.
Spiced English Vermouth – 18%
A strong aroma of herbs and cloves that follows onto the palate and creates a sweetness from orange wormwood and a small amount of lavender.
All of Ian’s creations are botanicals macerated in wheat grain neutral spirit before being diluted with distilled water. He then uses reduced pressure distillation to produce highly concentrated botanical flavoured spirits. These are blended and hydrated to create products that also includes Sacred Vodka and his ‘Gin Making Kits’ (a fantastic idea for any gin loving customer).
With the boom in micro distillers like Sacred Spirits, Chase and Sipsmith, and all hailing from the British Isles, there seems to be no end to these award-winning spirits and better still, there becoming very customer focused – and Sacred Spirits has hit the nail right on.