In May 2021, The Spirits Business held part one of its Gin Masters 2021 competitions, marking the biggest competition in The Global Spirits Masters series to date – and the second part of The Gin Masters 2021 will be held in October. This competition was inspired by the volume of new gin products coming into the market.
“Retailers in the UK experienced a 30% spike in gin sales in the 12 months to 27 March 2021, as the category reached £1.3 billion (US$1.8bn) – equal to 80 million bottles. Flavored gin now accounts for approximately 40% of the total gin market by both volume and value.”According to WSTA (Wine &Spirits Trade Association)
The Gin Masters 2021 also marked a return to in-person tastings as Covid-19 restrictions were eased in England. The contest was held over two days in a physically distanced format at the Ibis Hotel in London Bridge, with the bottles packed by Wine Sorted to guarantee anonymity. This year’s tasting was sponsored by Bevica. The blind tasting was done for more than 450 gins over the two days. Surprisingly, it was their biggest competition done so far as the gin market value kept on booming.
A group of eight industry experts assessed the gins: Chris Tanner, bar manager at Milroy’s; Peter Downes, distillery partnerships specialist at Craft Gin Club; Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor of The Spirits Business; Ben Lindsay, global spirits and on-premise consultant; Ivan Dixon, independent spirits consultant; David T Smith, spirits writer, consultant and co-founder of the Craft Distilling Expo; Julian de Feral, international bar consultant, and writer; and Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business.
“I am delighted to be in partnership with The Spirits Business [and the drinks business], with Bevica as the sponsor for The Gin Masters and The English and Welsh Wine Masters. With our extensive experience of clients across the drinks sector, but in these two areas specifically, we know that Bevica is a proven, reliable, and effective cloud SaaS solution powered by Microsoft. It is ideal for organizations that are looking to streamline and automate their processes, with an all-in-one solution that is future-proofed and can flex to any business growth requirements.”According to Claudio Martell, Bevica product director
The blind-tasting featured a wide variety of juniper spirits in subcategories including Ultra Premium, Flavoured, and Old Tom, but only a select few were awarded a coveted Master medal. There were top 10 gin spirits awarded. Our list consists of descriptions of the top 6 awarded gins in the category.
The top 6 award-winning gins of the May edition of Gin Master 2021 are:
Brecon Special Reserve Gin
Penderyn is a Welsh whisky distillery that has been producing the first commercially available whisky made in Wales since the 19th century. It is distilled in the village of Penderyn, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in the Cynon Valley. The company was launched in 2000 as the Welsh Whisky Company and started its sales in 2004.
Why Brecon Special Reserve Gin earned 1st spot?
“Penderyn Distillery’s Brecon Special Reserve Gin earned the top accolade in the Premium category thanks to its “bright, lovely citrus notes, good mouthfeel and complexity with nice juniper”. This Welsh gin marries water sourced from Brecon Beacons National Park with botanicals sourced from around the world, including cassia bark, orange peel, liquorice, cinnamon, angelica root, coriander, nutmeg, lemon peel, and orris root.”According to the Spirits Business
- Order Here: https://www.penderyn.wales/store-spirits/
- Price: £20 (US$27.31)
Mercato Mediterranean Gin
Jim founded ‘JIM AND TONIC’ Distillery in 2016. He started the distillery with a mission to create a range of gins that make killer G&T’s and cocktails, but with sustainable, eco-friendly practices at their core. The gins are made in small batches in the distillery and gin bar in South London’s ‘Elephant and Castle’ neighborhood. The distillery adopted a ‘REDUCE AND REUSE’ philosophy and is pioneering innovative ways to ‘REGENERATE’ the urban London surroundings. They call their gins ‘Sustainable Urban Gins’.
Why did Mercato Mediterranean Gin earn 2nd spot?
“Among the spirits in the Microdistillery group, small-batch producer Jim and Tonic’s Mercato Mediterranean Gin impressed our judges due to its aromatic qualities. The panel enjoyed its “lovely herbaceous nose” and “savouriness with a hint of citrus peel” on the palate. Mercato is made in Elephant and Castle, London, with botanicals including fresh-cut rosemary, thyme, and basil, some of which are grown on-site using hydroponic walls.”According to the Spirits Business
- Order Here: https://jimandtonic.com/collections/mercato-mediterranean-gin/
- Price: £38.95 (US$53.18)
Hernö Old Tom Gin
Jon Hillgren founded the Hernö Gin Distillery in 2011. At the time it was Sweden’s first dedicated gin distillery and the world’s northernmost gin distillery. Jon was dedicated and passionate to create a beautiful Gin. Hernö Gin creates artisanal gin crafted from natural and carefully selected organic botanicals. Intending to provide a world of flavors, Hernö Gin has a strong global network with bartenders sharing knowledge and exchanging experiences. Hernö Gin also arranges masterclasses, cocktail sessions, and events to uplift the noble art of creating gin and gin cocktails.
Why Hernö’s Old Tom Gin earned the 3rd spot?
“Swedish distillery Hernö’s Old Tom Gin garnered praise for its “bold juniper character” and “well-balanced touch of sweetness”. To make its Old Tom expression, Hernö uses the same distilled spirit and botanical blend as its Dry Gin, but adds an extra touch of meadowsweet – a botanical in the rose family – and sugar.”According to the Spirits Business
- Official link: https://hernogin.com/gins/
- Price: £36 (US$49.15)
In The Welsh Wind Palo Cortado Edition
In The Welsh Wind Distillery is one of the smallest distilleries in Wales, based in Tresaith, overlooking Cardigan Bay. The distillery was founded in 2018. The Welsh Wind Distillery specializes in gin-making experiences and creating bespoke spirits for other businesses.
Why In The Welsh Wind Distillery’s Palo Cortado Edition Gin earned 4th spot?
“Cask-aged gins are a less common offering, but our tasting unearthed some fantastic ones – and In The Welsh Wind Distillery’s Palo Cortado Edition was among the best. This gin is one to buy for the holidays, boasting “rich spice, Christmas notes with juniper, citrus, and spice – very Christmassy but a lovely sipper”, according to our judges. To make the expression, the distillery matures 400 litres of its flagship gin in palo cortado Sherry casks, resulting in an amber-colored liquid.”According to the Spirits Business
- Order Here: https://www.inthewelshwind.co.uk/product/limited-edition-palo-cortado-cask-aged-gin/
- Price: £45 (US$61.44)
58 Gin Apple and Hibiscus
58 Gin Distillery is an eco-conscious, sustainably focused distillery producing exceptional IWSC award-winning spirits and was founded in 2016. The distillery started as a local, sustainable, and micro-distillery. The distillery is named after the birth of the London Dry Gin on the 58th distillation. The inspiration for flavors is taken from seasonal British produce, from the wonky Apples not fit for supermarkets in the Apple & Hibiscus Pink Gin to the seasonal foraged Sloes in the English Berry Gin. They also have a small Gin School where customers are invited to make their Gin and share the passion for creating spirits and the joy of exploring, selecting, and tasting botanicals. The distillery believes that the craft spirit movement can grow sustainably and positively by making relatable spirits and drinks.
Why did 58’s Apple and Hibiscus Gin earn the 5th spot?
“In the Pink Gin category, 58’s Apple and Hibiscus bottling came out on top thanks to its “very refreshing” flavor profile. The gin offers “crisp apple on the nose with some soft, jammy floral notes”, as well as “good texture [and] nice sweetness”. To craft the candy floss-colored liquid, London-based producer 58 uses a botanical mix of surplus Cox’s apples and hibiscus flowers.”According to the Spirits Business
- Order Here: https://58gin.com/product/apple-hibiscus-gin/
- Price: £34 (US$46.42)
Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin
Four Pillars Distillery is a small gin distillery in Healesville, Yarra Valley. It was founded in 2013 by three friends – Cameron Mackenzie, Matt Jones, and Stuart Gregor, and one extraordinary copper still Wilma. The distillery’s motto is to deliver the best of both worlds…a perfect, classic gin and something that would fascinate and delight even the most hardened gin fanatic…spicy but with great citrus, a truly modern Australian gin. A Four Pillars Laboratory is based in Surry Hills, Sydney and, four new stills- Jude, Beth, Eileen, and Coral, now accompany Wilma in producing spectacular gin.
Four Pillars distillery won International Gin Producer of the Year at both the 2019 and 2020 IWSC awards in London.
Why did Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin earn the 6th spot?
“Australian producer Four Pillars made a good showing in the Contemporary group with its Rare Dry Gin. The expression was acclaimed for its “layers”. “Subtle lifts of tangerine and orange hidden in the background elevate this,” one judge described. Rare Dry Gin, Four Pillars’ flagship spirit, marries Asian botanicals with whole fresh oranges and Australian lemon myrtle.”According to the Spirits Business
- Order Here: https://www.fourpillarsgin.com/products/four-pillars-rare-dry-gin
- Price: £25 (US$34.14)
So, which one of your favorites makes an appearance on this list? Didn’t try them? Then, indulge yourself in these delicious, botanical, classic, spicy, and award-winning Gins. Once tried, the Gins may tempt you to try them again. That’s the Spirit!!