With an impressive showing at the 2011 San Francisco competition (where it won best un-aged spirit) Sloane’s Gin has marked its arrival onto the scene.
Both the name and contents for Sloane’s Gin were inspired by the exploits of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753). Sir Hans Sloane was a Royal Physician, botanist, collector, lifelong benefactor and landlord of the Physic Garden Chelsea, one of the UK’s foremost institutions for growing and experimenting in the use of plants and plant extracts for medicinal purposes.
The personal botanical collection he amassed during his lifetime was bequeathed to the nation upon his death and later formed the foundation of the British and Natural History Museum collections. More can be read about Sir Hans HERE
Given the dates of Sir Hans life, the scale and high profile nature of his botanical collection, as well as his work (seeking out uses for botanical extracts); it is possible to suggest that Sir Hans would have had influenced various distillers and, all-be-it unwittingly, maybe inspired some to use various new ingredients in their gins (we must stress that this can’t be categorically proven nor are their actual records of Sir Hans being actively involved in the gin game…). To bring a short history lesson full circle, this is why the Toorank master distiller thought it fitting to call his gin – Sloane’s – in honour of Sir Hans Sloane’s significant contribution to botany.
Made by blending ten separately distilled botanical distillates, Sloane’s Gin manages to combine elements of citrus, juniper and an array of other supporting herbs and spice into a balanced and well-mannered gin. At 40% ABV, Sloane’s Gin mixes surprisingly well in a G&T and offers plenty of the traditional gin flavours while not being too diluted nor sharp; a testament to the master distiller’s ability to combine all the botanicals in just the right quantities.
With only the ‘heart’ of the distillate being used to extract the purest flavour, Juniper, Angelica, Cassia bark, Cardamon Pods, Coriander Seeds, Iris Root, Lemon, Orange, Liquorice Root and Vanilla Pod are all individually distilled. They are then carefully blended together one at a time, creating subtle layers of flavour. The blended gin is left to settle for a minimum of one month to allow the elements to marry together and to create a constant gin.
With clear notes of juniper and slight citrus, Sloane’s Gin is beautifully balanced and the result can easily be described as a premium dry gin. Interestingly, for the citrus distillates, fresh fruits rather than dried peels are left to macerate and are steeped in spirit overnight prior to the distillation for a crisper, fresher citrus flavour.
Distilling each of the botanicals is a little unusual, although not unique with Leopold’s Gin, Sacred Gin, and Moore’s Vintage Dry Gin being a few others who do the same. In this case it has resulted in Sloane’s Gin being a creamy, lighter style gin – juniper centered but not dominant and with a slight sweetness and a touch of citrus. Traditionalists, perhaps put off by the distillation methods should give it a try, as they would be pleasantly surprised by this modern classic.
The bottle itself is well done, tapered in two directions, it’s reminiscent of a classic Gordon’s Export from a distance whilst being so much more than that once it’s in the hands. The botanical illustrations are a nice touch and bring life to the individually distilled stance.
Sloanes’s Gin is distilled in Holland by Toorank Distilleries, one of the fastest growing Dutch Distilleries currently operating. Toorank was founded by Metaxa in 1978 and sold by a management buyout in 1990. With sales forces in The Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom, as well as modern manufacturing facilities in both Poland and The Netherlands- they now employ over 100 people.
It’s too early to judge Sloane’s Dry Gin as a brand as it was only launched earlier this year and is just getting started. Its big selling point is that it’s a good gin and that the distillery team has enough know-how to leverage it into markets across the world. Only time will tell on how successfully they do that. It should also be said however, that in order to succeed in a ferocious market place some quick consideration will need to happen with regards to the PR and marketing approach. No brand website, inactive social media feeds and other small communication errors are bound to happen in the early days of a brand as the team find their feet and the gin starts to gain momentum. While these blemishes are unnoticed by most people other than the early adopters, currently they detract from a really good gin and with gin audiences becoming better informed and more inquisitive at an earlier stage, they need to be ironed out as soon as possible for Sloane’s Gin to stand any chance of gaining traction with influencers. In fairness to the Toorank team, the gin’s profile suddenly received a huge and unexpected boost when it won best un-aged spirit at the San Francisco Awards, which must have brought forward many things planned for 2012 (including the launch itself) and has probably meant that they are playing catch-up to supply press, trade and other suppliers with materials they require way ahead of their own initially forecasted plans.
Suffice to say, Sloane’s Gin has a lot of potential and we would love to see more of it here in the UK; with Sainsbury’s listing it at £23.00 it’s certainly very competitive with other premium gins and taste wise – it’s more than just comparable too. Now it is up to Toorank to see what happens…
To find out more information about Sloane’s Gin, visit there website:
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