A range of oak-aged gins has been launched today, matured in single malt whisky casks selected from distilleries across Scotland.
They have been produced using Pickering’s Gin, based at Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh, with barrels from five of Scotland’s whisky-making regions: Islay, Speyside, the Lowlands, Islands and the Highlands.
The oak-ageing process lasted between three and six months for each expression. Each cask yields only 200 bottles, all at 47% ABV.
The unique never-to-be-repeated gins are available from today, coming in 35cl bottles sold at a recommended price in retail of £36 each.
Marcus Pickering, co-founder of Pickering’s Gin, said: “Scouring the length and breadth of Scotland to find the perfect whisky casks was a tough gig, but someone had to do it. We eventually identified five of the best casks to create our oak-aged expressions, helping us to craft five gins which are undoubtedly different.”
Each rare, collectable gin can be drunk like a whisky using water or ice, or savoured in cocktails to bring out the gin’s subtle whisky notes left behind by the casks. The flavour profile ranges from the light and citric aromas of Speyside to the sweeter, peatier notes of the Islay region.
Pickering’s other co-founder Matt Gammell added: “As distillers we wanted to take people on a journey exploring both gin and whisky, and to truly test the versatility of Pickering’s Gin.
“With gin, there’s endless pleasure to be had experimenting with new flavours, serves and cocktails. Our latest offering of oak-aged gin is truly a different way to experience gin, and to explore the world of scotch whisky for spirit lovers the world over.”
Whisky writer Charlie MacLean said: “All five expressions retain the fragrance, taste and product identity of gin but finish on the palate like a whisky thanks to the subtle extra dimension left behind by the cask ageing.”
Gin expert and writer Geraldine Coates added: “I was drinking gin long before it was cool. Who would have thought back then that people would come up with such intriguing and clever things to
do with it?”
Founded in 2013, Pickering’s Gin is based on an original Bombay recipe dating from 1947, with a smooth, refreshing and flavoursome character.
Tasting notes from Pickering’s Gin
Lowland Cask Aged Gin
This region’s softer landscape is reflected in the lighter colour and character of its whiskies. The aroma is fresh, with a citric top-note. Slightly sweet, but not cloying. With water the nose opens up. Toffee notes come through and the aroma of lemon fudge confectionary. On the palate, it is lightly sweet with a light spritz. The cask brings some spiciness giving a tingling sensation across the tongue. Hints of tobacco, then herbs (dried sage), some lingering fruity notes and a lemony aftertaste.
Speyside Cask Aged Gin
The aroma is light, fresh and citric to start, with a faint mossy base note and wood shavings in the finish. Water opens up a more mushroomy, damp woody undercurrent. The delicate sweetness of Speyside whiskies is evident on the palate, though subtle. Classic flavours of vanilla and caramel emerge. Lime-flavoured boiled sweets with a woody, vegetal quality.
Highland Cask Aged Gin
The gin gives a prickly nose-feel. Behind the prickle, it’s mossy/woody with a hint of pepper. Water raises citric notes and traces of sweet soft fudge. Reminiscent of boiled lemon sweets – a sherbet lemon without the sherbet. To taste, the juniper shines through from the start, giving way to richer sweet notes of apricot and raisin. A suggestion of whisky in the aftertaste – wood and vanilla?
Island Cask Aged Gin
The whisky distilleries from this region – Orkney, Skye, Mull, Arran and Jura – often share a salty, maritime character. The gin has a mellow aroma, with faint notes of light toffee, vanilla and dried peat. With water it’s slightly maritime, on a base of moss and dry peat. The mouthfeel is drier. Slightly salty with a subtle smoky dimension. Chilli-pepper in the aftertaste that complements the fresh juniper notes. With a touch more water, the cask adds a base note of faint smoke, with a touch of vanilla. The maritime flavours return, and the aftertaste has a trace of peat smoke.
Islay Cask Aged Gin
Islay is home to Scotland’s most powerful and peaty whiskies. The aroma has mild sweetness and some toffee notes. Dried, crumbly peat and an elusive waft of peat smoke. Faintly maritime and mineralic. Water brings out a more herbal quality. The taste is lovely and fragrant, with herbal notes and a maritime saltiness. The influence of the cask is unmistakable. Following the gin’s initial softness, a light whiff of peat smoke, with iodine and medicinal notes. It’s Islay, but not as you know it.