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The Gin Masters – Second Tasting 2022 results – The Spirits Business

Such is the popularity of the gin category that yet again we had to host two tastings. In this second round of The Gin Masters, our judges found a plethora of amazing expressions, offering plenty of choice for consumers.

The Gin Masters 2022 has decided its Taste Master winner – scroll down to find out which product secured the top accolade

When the world’s leading spirits companies, such as Diageo, Pernod Ricard, or Bacardi, acquire a new brand, it’s always a conversation starter. Last month, Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman bought Mediterranean-inspired brand Gin Mare. The details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but it shows continued faith in the future potential of the gin category.

The Gin Masters 2022 became the biggest blind tasting in the history of The Global Spirits Masters Competitions. In the first instalment, judged in June, more than 500 products were put to the taste test. November’s second tasting worked through around 125 bottlings to complete this year’s Gin Masters. Five panels of experts gathered at Joshua’s Tavern at The Londoner Hotel to award Silver, Gold and Master medals to deserving spirits. They were also tasked with resampling all the Master medallists from both parts of The Gin Masters competition to decide The Gin Taste Master 2022.

The judges

The first panel comprised: Marie Cheong Thong, wine and spirits judge, and Wine and Spirit Education Trust educator; Emilia Wrelton, bar manager at Electric House; and Dimple Athavia, founder of All Things Drinks, who chaired the group.

Group two consisted of Emma Stokes, ‘chief monkey’ at Gin Monkey; Anne Jones, drinks experience and events at Waitrose; and Nicola Carruthers, deputy editor of The Spirits Business, who chaired the panel.

The third team was chaired by David T Smith, spirits consultant, writer and co-founder of the Craft Distilling Expo. He judged alongside Sara Jane Eichler, founder of the Negroni Club UK; and Ibrahima Guenne, senior bartender at 8, The Londoner hotel.

Matt Chambers, spirits writer and co-founder of the Whisky For Everyone blog, chaired the fourth panel. He was joined by Alan Uresti, head of agave spirits, Annabel’s; and Angelo Sparvoli, head bartender at St James Bar at the Sofitel St James in London.

Claire Filer, of Ginesthesia, sat on the fifth panel, which was chaired by Melita Kiely, editor of The Spirits Business and chair of The Global Spirits Masters Competitions.

The opening Standard flight looked at gins priced up to £15 (US$18). Darley’s Gin won a Gold medal with its “citrus-led nose” and “lingering spice” on the palate. Toradh Gin grabbed a Silver medal in this flight.

The Premium flight was formed of gins costing between £16 and £20. The first of two Gold medals was awarded to Wild Child Dry Gin. Tasting notes included “bright lime zest, well-balanced and well-integrated alcohol”.

Cruxland Black Winter Truffle Gin delivered “earthy sweetness” on the nose, while the palate was described as “savoury with some liquorice notes”. The flight wrapped up with a Silver medal for Ashmont Premium Gin.

The first Master medal of the day came in the Super Premium round (£21-£35). Reminisce London Dry Gin collected the top award for its “silky soft and smooth palate – like a bouquet of summer flowers with a little peppery cubeb prickle on the finish”.

Two Gold medallists were also awarded in this heat: Beg Brazilian Boutique Dry Gin, and 135˚ East Hyogo Dry Gin. The former was praised for its “lovely aromatic nose” and notes of “cinnamon and citrus” on the palate.

Gold-winning 135˚ East Hyogo Dry Gin was described as having “good texture”, with “lemon, juniper” notes on the palate. Seven Silver medals completed the flight.

Gin-Masters-2022-cocktail
The Gin Masters looked at a variety of styles from London Dry and Old Tom to flavoured expressions

At the most expensive end of the spectrum – Ultra Premium (£36-plus) – two products were deserving of the top award.

Sakurao Gin Hamagou won a Master medal for its “elegant nose” with a “hint of lemon zest, warming spices with a hint of clove” on the palate.

Master-winning Good Gin Company impressed with its Heritage Magnolia Gin, offering “plenty of juniper and lemon zest” on the nose, and its “very classic palate; good balance of citrus peel and juniper”.

Six Gold medals and two Silvers were also awarded in this round. Gold winners included Aatta by the Orkney Gin Company, found to have a “very pleasant palate with some nice lemon and a fresh profile”, and Vildkatt by Sweden, described as having “bitter orange and apéritif-like herbs” on the nose, leading to “more juniper on the palate”.

Well-balanced palate

From there, the tasting progressed to London Dry, where a Master medal was given to Royal Flush Gin. The judges enthused about this gin’s “sweet citrus nose” and “very well-balanced palate – the best of the bunch”, according to Stone.

Ten Gold medals were also enjoyed in this bumper round, including: Highclere Castle Gin, found to have “cassia bark, earthy spices, and a nice peppery complexity”; Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin, which delivered notes of “chocolate, some pepper”, and; Hawkridge Victorian Botanical Blend London Dry, found to be “very perfumed throughout with underlying cardamom”.

Nine Silver medals completed the London Dry flight.

“It was really nice to see lots of diversity of style,” noted Jones. “It used to be that London Dry would be citrus-dominated, but it was nice to see more spicy and savoury styles in well-made expressions.”

Stone agreed and added: “London Dry is evolving in character.”

In the Contemporary round, the judges were impressed with Tir & Môr Welsh Dry Gin – Seaweed and Spice – so much so that it was awarded a Master medal. Athavia found “subtle aromas of fresh sea air, cucumber and some citrus; the palate is lovely, fresh and zesty”.

Seven Gold medals gave the Contemporary flight a boost, including one for Kori Gin, with hints of “dry coconut shells, and soft palate”. Gold winner Gin du Jardin also impressed with “malty notes of breadcrumb, some watermelon, and good length and complexity”. The round finished with five Silver awards.

Astounding variety

In the Organic contingent, Organic Bio Gin secured the Master accolade. Smith noted flavours of “oily juniper and sappy cedar”, and remarked how the gin had “a clean, neutral nose”. Organic gin The Gardener won a Silver medal in this heat.

The Microdistillery round brought one Gold and three Silver medals. The Gold award went to Western Star. Stokes found that there were notes of “stollen on the nose, cardamom, clove, nutmeg, and icing sugar. Rounded palate; a touch of green juniper on the palate – delicate.” She continued: “The variety between them was pretty astounding.”

Jones also lingered on this point: “There was lots of personality coming through.”

Gin-Masters-second-tasting
Flavoured gins are on the up, as The Gin Masters results show

The Old Tom round delivered two Gold-worthy winners: Manchester Gin – Festive Edition, and Hayman’s Old Tom.

Manchester Gin – Festive Edition offered “mince pies and sweetness” on the nose before flavours of “orange, warm baking spices and gingerbread” kicked in on the palate. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, meanwhile, was “very zesty” on the nose, with a “thick, syrupy palate, grapefruit zest and orange oil, and a hint of spice and juniper”.

Athavia’s panel then tackled cask-aged gins, awarding two Golds and one Silver. Seventy One Gin demonstrated all the qualities of a Gold medallist with flavours such as “truffle and woody herbs, like thyme stems”.

“Citrusy and refreshing” Vildkatt by Sweden grabbed another Gold, while 57˚ Skye Earth & Sea Gin Banyuls Cask Finish won Silver.

Pink Gin has enjoyed an explosion in popularity in recent years – and the flight produced four medals in total. One of two Gold medals was given to Hortus Gin – Japanese Edition, with its “complex and aromatic” flavour profile.

Hortus Rhubarb & Ginger Gin also won a Gold medal for being “sticky and jammy, with nicely integrated ginger and rhubarb”. Aquine Raspberry and Blackberry Gin, and Greysons Premium Pink Gin both won Silver medals.

Flavoured Gin brought another large flight to The Gin Masters, awarding a total of six Gold medals and eight Silvers.

Port of Spirits collected two Gold medals in this round, one for “sweet, cherry-like, fruity” Mintis Gin Amarena, and a second for “lively” Mintis Gin Clementina, with lots of “citrus oils”.

Kepler Stellaire also secured a Gold medal for its “complementary” integration of raspberry and blood orange. “Very good balance; juniper is subtle, but the flavour works well,” noted Kiely.

The final flight of the day was Gin Liqueur, where a Gold medal was presented to Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin. Filer found “tart, juicy plum” on the nose, leading to “juicy plum flavour, and subtle juniper” when sipped.

A Silver award went to Infusionist Orange and Mandarin Gin Liqueur.

Once each panel had finished judging their appointed flights, the Master medallists from both the first and second tastings were divided among the groups.

Each panel was asked to agree their favourite product to be put forward for the final Taste Master decision. Collecting the coveted Gin Taste Master 2022 title was Hernö Navy Strength Gin from Swedish distillery Hernö, which was tasted in the first round of The Gin Masters.

In conclusion, the judges voiced their ongoing enthusiasm for the gin category, and were impressed to see a high standard of products being produced around the world.

Stokes added: “This has shown the breadth and diversity across the gin category. There’s a nice shift towards juniper playing a more predominant role, compared with a few years ago when juniper was lacking – this is great to see.”

The Gin Masters – First Tasting 2022 results are also online to view.


Standard

Company Product  Medal
Aldi Stores Australia Darley’s Gin Gold
Aldi Toradh Gin Silver

Premium

Company Product  Medal
Sash & Fritz Wild Child Dry Gin Gold
Wharsay Investments | KWV Cruxland Black Winter Truffle Gin Gold
Pravda Ashmont Premium Gin Silver

Super Premium

Company Product  Medal
Reminisce Drinks Reminisce London Dry Gin Master
Beg Boutique Distillery Beg Brazilian Boutique Dry Gin Gold
Akashi Sake Brewery 135°East Hyogo Dry Gin Gold
The Lancaster Spirits Company Firecracker Gin Silver
The Hope Distillery Gindome Ambrosia Silver
Tiger Gin Tiger Gin Silver
Ar‐gin‐tà‐rio Ar‐gin‐tà‐rio Silver
Glendalough Distillery Glendalough Rose Gin Silver
Club Local Cocktails & Spirits Portage Dry Gin Silver
Brockmans Gin Brockmans Gin Silver

Ultra Premium

Company Product  Medal
Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co Sakurao Gin Hamagou Master
Good Gin Company Heritage Magnolia Gin Master
Radico Khaitan Jaisalmer Gold Gold
Salud Beverages Salud Cusp Gold
Orkney Gin Company Aatta Gold
Brand Star Alliance Vildkatt by Sweden Gold
Beg Boutique Distillery Beg New World Navy Gin Gold
Seventy One Gin Seventy One Gin Gold
Wolffer Estate Vineyard Wölffer Gin Silver
House of Heritage Distillery Kori Gin Silver

London Dry

Company Product  Medal
Royal Flush Gin Company Royal Flush Gin Master
Wessex Distillery Wessex Gin Gold
Highclere Castle Spirits Highclere Castle Gin Gold
Isle of Skye Experimental Spirits 57° Skye Earth & Sea London Dry Gin Gold
Sakurao Brewery and Distillery Co Sakurao Gin Original Gold
Kells Gin Kells Gin Gold
Glendalough Distillery Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin Gold
Dublin City Spirits Dublin City Gin – Premium Irish Gin Gold
Hawkridge Distillers Hawkridge Victorian Botanical Blend London Dry Gold
Ivaí Gin Ivaí London Dry Gin Gold
The Bartender Collective Trade Secrets Gold
Trii Gin Trii Gin Silver
Rola & Co Premium Gin Wellinghouse Silver
Rola & Co Mandaley Blue Gin Silver
Duh U Boci Old Pilot’s London Dry Gin Silver
Distillerie De La Riviera The Gardener Silver
Wharsay Investments | KWV Cruxland Kalahari Truffle Gin Silver
Hawkridge Distillers The Blowing Stone London Dry Silver
Spice Islands Distilling Co East Indies Archipelago Dry Gin Silver
Destilaria Black Pig Alentejo Gin Black Pig Costa Alentejana Silver

Contemporary

Company Product  Medal
Lobster and Môr Tir & Môr Welsh Dry Gin – Seaweed and Spice Master
Strange Nature Distilling Strange Nature Gin Gold
Distillerie du Square Gin du Jardin Gold
Rechmaya Distillery Lebanese Artisanal Gin – Jun Botanic Gold
House of Heritage Distillery Kori Gin Gold
Lobster and Môr Tir & Môr Welsh Dry Gin – Citrus and Thyme Gold
Tinberry Distilling Co Signature Gin Gold
Cape Byron Distillery Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin Gold
Albion & East Tiny Tower Liquor Teatro Gin Silver
Seventy One Gin Seventy One Gin Silver
Mercia Whisky Company Mercia Signature Gin Silver
Spirits of the Alps Parson Classy Gin Silver
Tinberry Distilling Co Dry Gin Silver

Organic

Company Product  Medal
Rola & Co Organic Bio Gin Master
Distillerie De La Riviera The Gardener Silver

Microdistillery

Company Product  Medal
Mainline Spirit Co Western Star Gold
Albion & East Cattivo Small Batch Gin Silver
House of Heritage Distillery Kori Gin Silver
Docca Distillery Gin Docca Distillery Silver

Old Tom

Company Product  Medal
Drinks of Manche Manchester Gin – Festive Edition Gold
Hayman’s Gin Hayman’s Old Tom Gold

Cask-Aged

Company Product  Medal
Seventy One Gin Seventy One Gin Gold
Brand Star Alliance Vildkatt by Sweden Gold
Isle of Skye Experimental Spirits 57° Skye Earth & Sea Gin Banyuls Cask Finish Silver

Pink Gin

Company Product  Medal
Lidl GB Hortus Gin – Japanese Edition Gold
Lidl GB Hortus Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Gold
Lidl GB Aquine Raspberry and Blackberry Gin Silver
Aldi Stores (Australia) Greysons Premium Pink Gin Silver

Flavoured Gin

Company Product  Medal
Port of Spirits Mintis Gin Amarena Gold
Port of Spirits Mintis Gin Clementina Gold
Spirits of the Alps Parson Grapy Gin Gold
Agnes Bernrieder Kaiza 6 Gin Gold
Getränkevertrieb
Appalaches Distillerie
Kepler Stellaire Gold
Albion & East Tiny Tower Lemon Gin Gold
Cape Byron Distillery Brookie’s Shirl The Pearl Cumquat Gin Silver
Aldi Stores (Australia) Greysons Seville Orange and Persian Lime Gin Silver
Appalaches Distillerie Kepler Bord de Mer Silver
Aldi Stores (Australia) Greysons Spiced Plum and Clementine Gin Silver
Ivaí Gin Ivaí Abacaxi & Marucajá Gin Silver
Ivaí Gin Ivaí Hibisco & Lichia Gin Silver
Ivaí Gin Ivaí Seriguela Gin Silver
Berliner Brandstifter Berlin Aged Gin 2022 Silver

Gin Liqueur

Company Product  Medal
Cape Byron Distillery Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin Gold
Aldi Stores (Australia) Infusionist Orange and Mandarin Gin Liqueur Silver
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