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I remember the first time I tried gin. It was a gin and tonic made with Gordon’s and I didn’t like it, so I never touched it again until a friend made me a Tanqueray and tonic with lime many years later. It was actually quite nice. I was converted, and now Colin calls me a ginsoak. I don’t even dislike Gordon’s any more. Having said that, I dislike neat gin and tonic water on its own.
At the end of November, Colin took delivery of a parcel. He disappeared into his den with it and emerged with a gift-wrapped present. He said it was for me. I was puzzled: it was a bit early for Christmas presents, surely. He said to open it, though, so open it I did. It was the best advent calendar ever: it was a calendar. Never have I been so impatient for December to start.
I decided I would try them all with the minimum of additional flavours, so that, in theory, I could taste the different botanicals more clearly. I’m not keen on neat gin, so I added the same tonic water throughout to minimise variations: Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water.
To help with the tasting, there was a flavour wheel of different botanicals used to make gin printed on the bottom of the calendar box. This was good and bad for me. It was good because I don’t know what all the botanicals are. It was bad because I didn’t know what half the things taste like.
I didn’t look at any other tasting noted for the gins before I tried them because I didn’t want to influence myself in any way. Afterwards, I enjoyed reading people’s tweets, and comparing what they could taste with what I had.
I decided I’d make notes in GoodNotes on my iPad to keep track of my tasting adventure. I wrote down all the basic flavours from the flavour wheel and tried to work out which of them I could taste. I tried to narrow it down further, but sometimes I struggled even with the basic flavours. Clearly, I need to try more gin.
If I write about all the gins in this post, it’ll end up being a monster, so I will publish a series of Ginvent posts over the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, you can find my Ginvent-related comments on Twitter.