We’re back. In style may we just add…
After an ambitious project last year, it’s not everyday that you have a one by one meter advent calendar on the wall, let alone filled with gin! The brands, the brand ambassadors and mostly those who feverishly tweeted in each day in an attempt to win the bottle inside made the Ginvent 2011 project a success. It was truly a joy to work on. However, whilst the original Ginvent calendar was fantastic, it was flawed in one very critical area – there were only 26 winners overall (in total 25 people won bottles in daily Twitter competitions and another person won the whole lot). No doubt they would all share their winnings along the way but advent calendars aren’t amazing in the long term because of the individual moment when you enjoyed the chocolate (or gift), or in this case gin. The memories last becasue they are shared with many others who in their own way also enjoyed their calendars too. The idea that makes an ordinary advent calendar special to us here at The Gin Blog HQ, is the fact that many remember having one. A shared cultural heritage of sorts. This may well be a little righteous and the leap from there to gin filled calendars may also seem a bit stretched but just read on a little – the connection is truly there.
Earlier this year, we met with Ben from Master of Malt to have a talk about all things juniper related. It seems that it was a fruitful meeting as both the Ginvent calender and Orgin (Master of Malt’s series of single variety juniper distillates) have come out of it. The former with a lot more involvement from us, the latter purely an epic journey by Ben (literally) grounding and pounding juniper berries from across the world. Anyway… a brief conversation later and the Ginvent journey began and we started sketching up a box that would make use of all those botanical drawings we’ve been collecting along the years.
Gin (contrary to a few recent articles in mainstream newspapers) has enjoyed a rejuvenation over the past decade. It didn’t happen overnight and it certainly hasn’t just started now. If anything we’re reaching the peak of gin’s powers and the future whilst uncertain looks steady for now, but may eventually lead to a slow decrease in sales. It is only normal that a saturated market contracts with only the best, tastiest and most credible gins surviving. The tireless work of many ambassadors, brands, bars and bartenders have made what was an almost lifeless category into the template that many other spirits are looking to replicate. It’s been an interesting ride and whilst we are slowly seeing a fall in new products, they are still coming through at a rate of several per week. Gin is in the best shape it has been in in decades, certainly the best in over a generation. With the Guinness Book of Records clocking in a whopping 161 gins for the title of most gins in a single bar (to the Feathers Hotel), there are a lot of brands, flavours and even methods of making gin that fans have never come across before. Whilst variety is a good thing, it can also be confusing and can sometimes lead to less people trying something new- opting to play it safe and stick to what they know instead. It would seem that an abundance of choice can be as restrictive as no choice! Time to set that straight and open a window – or in this case 24 – and show the amazing variety available. There is truly a gin for everyone and anyone who says that they are all the same best perk up their ears as from here on in, there will be quite a few connoisseurs out there to tell you all about just what those variations are thanks to this little project.
It’s too easy to see Ginvent as a purely commercial proposition and whilst cinics may crow, it genuinely isn’t why we’re doing it. This blog isn’t about that. It’s about sharing a passion for gin with those who, like us, are juniper crazy. What better way than to try and create an opportunity for gin fans to try out a load of different gins than to put 24 of them in one pack and a combine it with a great to excuse to open them one after the next…
So, what are the details? Each calendar costs £79.95 to buy (equivalent to under £3.50 per gin!). A Ginvent calendar consists of 24 different gins in 3cl dram size tasters, each of which individually hidden behind 24 doors. . Advent calendars are not that complicated to understand… Each day, we will announce which gin is behind the door and hope that those who have got their Ginvent calendars (and anyone else who just wants to get involved) join in and taste it each day. Weather that’s in a G&T, by itself or in a cocktail it doesn’t matter – it’s there to be enjoyed! Hopefully, people will do just that – enjoy trying out that particular gin. Better still would be to have a few opinions on it and even better still, sharing those views with us on Twitter (@THEGINBLOG & Ben at @MASTEROFMALT).
We’ve chosen 24 different gins that reflect the category as a whole. There are one or two gins from the US but we do not lay claim to representing all forms of gin from around world in this pack. We will state that far more importantly, all the gins can be bought in the UK should any tickle your fancy, that there is a real difference between the gins and that all 24 represent what we think is the best the category has to offer. These are not new “fad” gins there to fill out PR creds and that will be dead and disappeared in a year, they are brands that are here to stay and that are made, run and promoted by people who we felt understood what gin was about. In all of the 24 gins, we are proud to say – we’re glad that they’re there. It is also worth mentioning that there are many brands we had to leave out which we’d loved to have included – 24 to us is a small number of gins!
We’ll be doing a daily live tasting at 5.00PM (you’ve guessed it – Gin O’Clock) where we’ll be sharing our thoughts on what it tastes like. Obviously, we know that people will taste in their own time and that not everyone can join in. However we’re really interested in hearing what you all have to think as the crucial part in this whole Ginvent extravaganza is you. It doesn’t matter what we think of all of these gins, far more important is you finding out which one (or few!) you enjoy. To us, this is the point of Ginvent. Enjoying tasting gins, but most of all, finding your favourite.
So, here’s to going full circle and to stopping reminiscing about how we used to have advent calendars in the past, to stopping sharing collective memories and to starting making them instead.
Ginvent Calendars cost £79.95
To buy one – please head over to MASTER of MALT
Hendrick’s Gin, Berkeley Sq, Hayman’s Old Tom, Bloom, Plymouth, Adnams, Origin – Arezzo, Bathtub Navy Strength, Portobello Road, Greenalls, Edinburgh Gin, No3 Gin, Tanqueray, G’Vine Floraison, Sacred, Caorunn, Tanqueray no. 10, Beefeater, Sipsmith, Bathtub Gin, Bombay Sapphire, Darnley’s View, Few Gin, William’s Gin