'First Taste' Live Reviews...

There are 1000's of craft gins, vodkas & rums on the market from across the UK and beyond. Deciding what to choose, where to shop and even, occasionally how much to pour can be a minefield. This blog and my reviews are designed to be your consistent go-to voice for all things craft spirits.

In these 'mini reviews' and full live taste tests, I'll give you my review out of 5 stars, share with you what I like, love and loathe about everything I try. I taste all of my spirits neat over ice and then mix with a plain tonic. And of course, where I can, I'll bring you discount vouchers and offers so you can sample, sipple and share on a shoestring.

Stay safe and I'll see you soon,

Love Kate

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Friday 24th July - 7pm - McLean's Something Blue Gin

In this review I tasted:

Foral, complex, sweet, smooth - this is a gin like i've never tasted before. With botanicals from around the world including bucha and tonka bean (you'll have to listen to the live to hear the rest) this Something Blue was made to celebrate the distillers 1st wedding anniversary. What a celebration is it. It's beautiful colour, complex, floral (but not perfumed!) with a hint of marzipan, sweet taste makes a wonderful Tom Collins blue cocktail and a refreshing and very pleasant g&t with tonic and grapefruit. This tasting was followed by a lovely interview with Colin McLean himself where we learnt about the full range of McLean's Gins and plans for the future. A must have for your gin shelf.

If you'd like to buy this gin you can contact the distiller on email - info@mcleansgin.co.uk and quote "Sip&Share", they are not currently using an e-commerce website - or click 'buy now' to contact them via facebook. Usually retailing for £40 plus p&p the special offer for the Sip & Share community it is £35 including p&p. Go get it!

Buy now

Friday 17th July - 7pm - Elstead Village Distillers

In this review I tasted:

Original Gin 43% - Caraway & Sweet Orange
Sanctuary Gin 43% - Aromas of Citrus, Pine & Juniper
PM Gin 43% - Caraway, Pear & Mango

What beautiful branding and packaging, a fair reflection of the gin inside the well put together bottles. The original gin had a winter warming spice with an orange kick, perfect for dark nights sat by the fire! The Sanctuary gin was runner up at The Gin Guide 2020 and I can see why, complex, smooth, clear flavour profiles - the little sweet citrus kick at the end of the mouthful was lovely. Finally the PM has a wonderful aroma, let it sit in your glass and after a minute the rich pear and the sweet mango become clearer. There is a slight spice of caraway with a little gin kick then you get the smooth pear and mango to finish off the mouthful. It's not overpowering nor too sweet, just right.

See the full live review here.

Friday 10th July - 7pm - HMS Spirits

In this review I tasted:

Dreadnaught Navy Strength 57.5%
Elderflower Premium Gin 42%
Mary Rose London Dry Gin 42%

My first taste of navy strength gin, and how wonderful to do it with this navy coastal brand! I'm sold. Dreadnaught was DELICIOUS, thick smooth, rich, clear taste of grapefruit and rosemary for me with a clear Juniper base and a surprisingly small gin kick for something which packs a punch at 57.5%!

The Elderflower 'Elizabeth' Gin and 'Mary Rose' were both very smooth and tasty to. The Elderflower perked up more with a splash of elderflower tonic, I think it needs that extra dash of sweetness for me and some orange would go perfectly in it. The Mary Rose has the same flavour profile as the Dreadnaught but I would add some grapefruit to it too so it packs the same punch as it's big brother!

Well made, balanced, smooth and sophisticated gins, thank you to Ben and the team at HMS Spirits for letting me share!

See the full live review here.

Friday 3rd July - 7pm - "Big Night In" with 3 Pugs Gin

In this review I tasted:

Signature London Dry Gin 42%
Blackcurrant Premium Gin 40%
Lemon Sherbet Gin Liqueur 20%
Bakewell Tart Gin Liqueur 20%
Apple Crumble Gin Liqueur 20%

Do not let these cartoon inspired gorgeous little pug dogs mislead you into thinking "oh this is a fun, playful gin", these guys are here to stay! Absolutely exceptionally beautiful gin and gin liquors. I was worried the liquors would be sugary and too sweet, lord I was wrong, they're delicious - Distiller Steve is a magician. I can't speak highly enough of them. Apple Crumble with Rhubarb Tonic was my fave thank you!

The "big night in" box for £35 is well worth it. Go get it!

10% off everything with code s&s10

See the full live review here.

Friday 26th June - 7pm - Ruby Red & Classic Little Quaker Gin

Nice work Little Quaker Distillery team! Ruby Red, I was scared at first, but there was no need... both beautiful.

The Ruby Red is best if you like red wine - it's like the red wine was once in a glass and then a beautiful G&T has been added. Very enjoyable though, even if red wine isn't your thing. The classic gin from Little Quaker is big, bold, smooth and complex - a definite talking point gin that you'll enjoy!

See the full live review here.

Friday 19th June - 7pm - Cloudy Lemon & Cardamon Stable Yard Gin

This is your after dinner, dead posh, sophisticated and warming lemon gin. The warmth of spices, followed quickly by hints of floral, apple and then the clear lemon peel and citrus zest make it a very easy to drink, delicious gin. Don't be fooled, this isn't a 'fun lemon' gin, if you have mates that like Gordons Lemon - don't let them near this, they won't get it. This is for gin lovers, classy, grown up, gin-drinking lemon loving gin lovers who enjoy a 46% gin full of complex flavours.

Wonderful with apple, mediterranean tonic and, I added mint too - it gave it another level of flavour and a bright 'hit' of mint from the start.

Enjoy every sip. You'll be sophisticated enough to appreciate it!

See the full live review here.

Friday 12th June - 7pm - Rascal Gin

Rich, fruity, very easy to drink and super-smooth. This little rascal has a lot going for it and I can see why this hipster-vibed gin has quite a following. The Liverpool based distiller Dan has created a super-cool fuss free brand with a gin thats worthy of fuss. The original first gin has clear passionfruit and raspberry notes, flavours difficult to achieve but ones that work super well with a simple tonic and citrus flavours. I feel this gin can stand up to anything - throw it in a passionfruit martini, buddy it up with orange or keep it simple with lemon. This gin can take it!

Worth having on your shelf and keeping to yourself! See the full review here.

Friday 6th June - 7pm - Forged in Wakefield

"It's like sherbet lemons have had sherbet lemon babies and exploded in my mouth"

These guys came here to play, well, to fight. I called them the Mafia of the craft, small batch fin world. The flavours punch (delightfully). I tried the Passion Fruit, Original and Sherbet Lemon and think you need to watch the full review to do them justice.

Thanks so much to Gary and Victoria for letting me review your beauties, I can't wait to try your other exciting flavours!

Watch the live here and full review coming soon.

Code 'sipandshare20' for 20% off on the Forged in Wakefield website.

Monday 1st June - 7pm - Daisy Distillery - Apple Gin

From the distillery who broughy us "The Lemon One" this new, exclusive Apple Gin has a rich, complex, sometimes warming taste to it. With hints of cinnamon, the odd 'apple punch' and all round a warmer, softer taste and smooth texture, you'd be surprised to remember this gin comes from the same distillery as The Lemon One (where I said it felt like you'd been punched in the mouth with lemons!).

This Apple Gin is very tasty! The Apple flavour is not as strong as it's Lemon cousin but it's greater for it in a way, because you get the complex flavour and the apple richness coming through vs a big hit. If you like to discuss your drinks, guess the ingredients, want it to linger on the palette and fancy sitting in the sunshine with a long drink, or neat over ice - the Apple Gin is a winner! I tried it neat over ice, with tonic and with elderflower (tonic and/or cordial) and for me the winner was simple tonic, tiny dash of elderflower cordial and ice. I even think a sprig of mint would add another dimension, one to try!

The Daisy Distillery are offering 20% off on pre-orders for the first 30 bottles in the batch that they create - bloody brilliant. Simply visit their facebook page and message them quoting "SIPANDSHARE" to see if you can get your hands on some of this special stock, which won't sit around for long!

Watch the full live review here.

Wednesday 27th May - 8pm - Spirit of Georges Gin

Esquisite. Rounded, incredibly smooth - by a mile, the nicest, smoothes London Dry Gin I've ever had. This is a special gin, it's not a party gin, nor is it a 'sit alone an savour' gin - but it's a special London Dry, one to be treasured and show off about.

Subtle hints of citrus and spice, beautifully balanced all round flavour to shout about. Very easy to drink neat!

Easily should be priced at £45-50 instead of £39. The time and attention that has gone into this gin is evident.

Watch the full review here.

10% discount and free delivery during May 2020 at dippletipple.com with the code SIPANDSHARE

6th May 2020 - Faith & Sons - Cold Pressed Coffee Gin

The live review of this is on my Facebook page at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday 6th May. Join us on Facebook to watch and then pop back here for the review and sign up to our emails to receive the discount code!  See you there.

The morning after the night before... so last night at 8pm I did the first review of this unusual gin on my facebook page (see here) so here's the summary.

1. Beautiful brand - everything about this bottle from the size, shape, colour, label and overall style screams quality and premium - but in an accessible way, not in an "up itself too exclusive" sort of way. It has a wholesome, down to earth, slightly rustic feel and the gin matches! I don't drink coffee, and so was slightly wary of how this would taste but am pleased to say, it's enjoyable.

2. Clearly Coffee - It definitely has that clear coffee hit, so if you are a coffee lover, you'll love this. I drank it neat over ice first and then added a mixer - not tonic!

3. Mixing it up - After a few different examples, we landed on FeverTree Spiced Apple Ginger Ale! It gave me that slight kick of ginger, sweetness to counter balance the coffee and a nice gentle fizz. The gin itself is sweeter (in a great way, I wouldn't call it sweet!) than I was expecting, making it more palatable than an alcoholic espresso. The smell matches the taste - great for consistency as a customer - we like to know what we're getting!

4. The pour itself - it was thinner in quality than I was expecting, you can see it up close in the video - I guess I thought it may be slightly thicker, darker and more syrup like. It's not as rich as I thought it would be, but on reflection that's a good thing and better for mixing, very nice.

I'd recommend either neat over ice, or with the FeverTree Spiced Apple Ginger Ale.

Overall - I'd give it 3.5 / 5 - I do like it especially with the spicy sweet mixer and ice, as I said, I don't drink coffee - if you do, you'll give this 5* no doubt!

Enjoy and remember if you want the discount code - use SIPANDSHARE on the dippletipple.com website.

Friday 8th May - 7pm - Theodore Pictish Gin & Jaffa Cake Gin

Well this was a tale of too halves. You can see the live reviews for both of these gins from facebook here.

Starting with the Jaffa Cake - well I have to admit I have a sweet tooth, but even I bought this as a bit of a gimmick thinking, "nah no way" but, they delivered. It's really sweet, but it DOES taste of jaffa cakes at the end. More of a party drink with friends (whenever that time returns!) than a sipping alone in the garden drink. But, a positive result. I tasted it neat and with orange tonic, which undoubtedly added to the sweetness, but I felt like, well, go for it and do it properly - but no doubt with a plain skinny tonic it'd also work well. Be prepared for the sugar rush! If chocolate oranges are your thing... 4*

Theodore Pictish Gin - beautiful, floral, classy, rich and strong. A special floral perfume-y gin to drink on your own, with a book, or the headphones in and no-one else around. It isn't subtle, it's confident but smooth and tasty. I was really pleased with this and see this as a gin not for sharing, well, not with my husband anyway. Lovely with a simple tonic, it doesn't need anything adding to it. This feels like a grown up gin that's well worth the money. Beautiful bottle and presentation box too if you can get one with the box. I enjoyed it. 4*.

Wednesday 13th May - 8pm - Cleveland Gin - 'The Lemon One'

Did it. OMG. It's like being punched in the face with a very strong lemon sorbet ice cream and hit with lemons - by far the nicest lemon gin you'll ever get, and i've tried (and did on the live review!) several. So happy with this gin, yes it's £39 but of course it is, it's a small batch premium gin and my god do this distillery know how to make gin. Punchy, smooth, not too sweet, lemon sorbet, lemon verbena and very tasty. You can drink this neat with ice, in the sunshine and a book (both latter points optional!) but it is truly delicious. Rich after taste that lingers, lovely smell, no fake lemons or sugary sweet smell here like you get with some others. I'm in love and no need for me to write any more.

If you like lemons, and not "a hint of" but proper lemon taste - buy this gin!

5*

P.S You can watch the live review here.

Buy now

Friday 15th May - 7pm - Faith & Sons - Passionfruit Gin Liquor

Undoubtedly the nicest gin liquors you'll every get.

I ended up taste testing all 3 - Choc & Orange, Rhubarb & Orange, Passionfruit. I couldn't resist. Watch the live here and you'll see.

Each one has a defined taste, flavour and smell. Sweet but not sickly, smooth and exceptionally delicious. If i could give it 6/5 I would. Beautiful neat, with ice and Processo (not the choc one, keep that neat!)

These are delicious and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you buy the set of 3. Remember you get 10% off at the website when you click 'Buy now' and enter 'SIPANDSHARE' at the checkout.

Wednesday 20th May - 8pm - Surrey Copper Distillery Vol 1, 2 & 3

See the live review here.

Well aren't these classy, sophisticated beauties!?

In everything from their look, to their size, bottle style, colouring, font oh yes, and taste. These Volume1, 2 and 3 from The Surrey Copper Distillery Company are a posh treat. These are not your party gins, you save these for people you're out to impress, or of course as a sophisticated treat for yourself!

I was a tiny bit sceptical when I saw volumes 1-3 thinking "really? how different can they be?"... well I was soon put in my place. Each of these 3 gins have their own clear taste, each very different from the other but each carrying their own very sophisticated, rounded, smooth balanced flavour. There's no "hit of flavour" followed by a pang of gin, these are rounded. The love and attention that went into the beautiful branding was clearly representative of the attention to detail paid during the distilling process.

Volume 1 is rich, smoothy, warm and a bit spicy - very grown up and as I described it, the one you'd give to someone who you want to impress and show how sophisticated your palette is.

Volume 2 has all of the balance and sophistication of Volume 1 but I found it lighter, a bit sweeter and more floral, for me more of a summer 'sit outside' gin vs the posh dinner party of Volume 1.

Finally Volume 3 is orange spiced and brings back memories of Christmas, it's the gin you imagine the rich house in the village in Dickens era (who had a bloody good distillery) created and sold to the village people and people flocked from neighbouring towns and even countries to taste - Christmas, rich, smooth, spicy, warm and tasty.

Offer - 30% off a standard 70cl bottle during May (then 10% off during June) using code "SIPANDSHARE" online.

I was very impressed. Well done The Surrey Copper Distillery Company.

Friday 22nd May - 7pm - SP8 Gin

Fair to say it was a sweet floral success tasting 4 very different unusual flavours of Bilberry, the award winning Signature Floral, Rhubarb (tangy!) and Huckleberry. Each flavour can clearly hold it's own, there's not mixing them up and confusing them here!

The Rhubarb is a very strong, tasty, clear rhubarb flavour - you can't go wrong, if you like Rhubarb, you'll love it!

The Signature Floral - well I was worried it'd be too perfumed for me as I have a sweet tooth but instead it's perfectly balanced and goes deliciously with a splash of Elderflower Cordial and simple tonic. It's perfect for a summer's day to share with friends - i'd even pop some summer berries in it - delicious and light.

Huckleberry - well this is like the one night stand you weren't expecting to happen. One taste and you're both thrown, confused and hooked. Having never tasted Huckleberry I had no idea, but it's complex, a bit rich and has a deep fruity flavour. Very nice!

Bilberry - like the Huckleberry's milder friend, I didn't expect much from the bilberry but it's sweeter than the Huckleberry, more innocent let's say, but no less deliciously sweet and tasty with a slight tang. You'll enjoy it!

Watch the live review here.

Offer - Send SMS with words "SIP&SHARE" to 07715005114 to get 20% off a 70cl bottle.

Meet Kate

Gin drinker, brand lover, award-winning marketing consultant (you can see me winning an award on this pic giving a speech after drinking too many Manchester Gin Fizz's) and "trying my best" mum & wife... hi I'm Kate.

I finally decided to take my love of all things craft spirited online, after years of being tagged in posts across social media about gin, being told "you should try it" or being asked every few days "what do you think".

So here it is, "Sip & Share" the home for all my drink-related passions, my place to review style and stories, tastes and trends and bring the world of craft spirts and marketing together.

Welcome to Sip & Share, please do both... with kindness and love.