Castles & Cocktails
A Highclere Castle Gin Blog

Contributor: Bobby Freeman,
No Nonsense Gin Drinking.

How To pick a great gin from the rest?

In recent years, we hear of more and more markets becoming flooded. From gyms to banks, to dating apps to crypto currencies. But all these floods become mere puddles when compared to the veritable ocean of gin brands that are sloshing around liquor stores and supermarkets all over the world. Consumers are finding themselves overwhelmed and swept away in a tsunami of juniper-based spirits, floundering helplessly and drowning in endless, wallowing choice.

So how does one distinguish a stand-out product from the clinking army of gin bottles, all jostling for our attention with bright colours and enticing designs? The answer is of course reasonably subjective, but in my humble opinion as a ‘moderately successful’ gin vlogger, the answer lies with a combination of simplicity, refinement and exquisite attention to detail. 

I am the presenter of one of the world’s most watch gin YouTube channels, No Nonsense Gin Drinking. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have tasted hundreds of gins from all over the world. With flavors ranging from citrus, chocolate, chili, mushroom, oysters, brussels sprouts, ants and even elephant poo, it’s fair to say I’ve tasted many more than my fair share.

So, when it comes to selecting my top 10 at the end of every year I face an arduous task and some incredibly difficult choices, particularly when picking the number one spot. So, I find myself going back to basics and cutting to the core of what gin really is; a juniper-based spirit of at least 37.5% ABV.

For me, a truly brilliant gin must have a modest amount of botanicals, used delicately and intelligently without masking the core element of juniper. Sure, it’s fun to explore all the weird and wonderful offerings, but, to me, brilliance lies with simplicity and fine tuning.

This is why my number one spot last year went to Highclere Castle Gin. It is a truly elegant gin and I knew from the second that it passed my lips that it was going to be my number one. It boasts a humble selection of botanicals, sourced from the Highclere Castle estate, including lime flower, orange peel and a touch of lavender. These both compliment and work in glorious harmony with the juniper to create the epitome of what a truly brilliant gin should be.

One of the most important aspects of gin is the balancing of flavours. It requires many months of fastidious fine tuning in the distillery to get the flavours to align perfectly but when they do and they hit that harmony it’s a wonderful thing to experience and the team at Highclere have absolutely nailed it.

This feat alone is enough to set it apart from its rivals but they have also managed to achieve a beautiful silky smoothness that I have rarely, if ever, encountered in any other gins. All this combined is the reason that, still to this day, I have not tasted anything that comes close to rivaling it.

So, if you consider yourself a gin purest and you are looking for the definitive product that speaks to the essence of gin and stays true to what a gin really is, then allow me to summon my inner Moses and guide you through the parted waves and beyond, where you will find Highclere Castle Gin, waiting on the shores of the promised land.

Bobby Freeman
YouTube: No Nonsense Gin Drinking

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