Gin gin gin! Gin Mare, Queensborough, Few, Tanqueray

Our gin explorations continued… with gins from a jaunt around a few countries with:

  • From Spain… the Mediterranean Gin Mare
  • From the west coast of Canada,  the classic dry Queensborough
  • From south of the border in Illinois, USA a blind sample from FEW
  • And finally… a step back into familiar territory with the very British Tanqueray Ten

We sampled them on a lazy Sunday sundowner in South Bombay, anchored by a collection of a travelling friend, augmented by a few more offerings!

Here are our tasting impressions…

Gin Mare 42.7%

  • Very dry, olives, has the biggest nose of all sampled so far, yet less rosemary than expected, a bit of cardamon and mint, juniper there but supporting, basil, thyme
  • Green pepper, spice, olive, quite warm

One of our tasting companions has spent time with the Gin Mare team and shared how they distill 12 different gins – one for each element – then blend together. A painstaking and meticulous process. It is a bit different, not for everyone.

A  few remarked on a shift – previously finding it both more olive and rosemary forward yet now sweeter. For more info, check out their website Gin Mare.

Queensborough Small Batch Dry Gin 43% (BC, Canada)

  • Very classic, spruce tree, lots of juniper, nice clean citrus, lightly floral
  • Nice light spices, juniper and pine forest, direct, clean, lightly floral
  • Nice clean citrus after taste

This was my offering to the evening and one brought in by a friend who picked it up after researching the “best classic dry gin” from BC. It is produced by Central City Brewers + Distillers. It uses Juniper from the BC interior and Spruce Tips sourced from Vancouver Island.  (Central City)

Above all it can best be described as “classic and clean” with a nice fresh forest feel. No crazy experiments here just a solid dry gin.

Mystery gin 

  • Initially was surgical spirit, floral perfume, fruits like peaches or apricot?
  • Very anise or fennel on the palate, then finishes with a salty pear
  • Not something very appealing initially then adjusted and began to enjoy

One of tasting companions brought this carefully concealed gin to the party… just to see what we thought. To be honest it wasn’t for everyone but it grew on us too.

And what was it? While I can’t confirm the full details it was a barrel gin from FEW Spirits from Illinois, USA.

Tanqueray Ten 47.3%

  • Lower on the botanicals, spice dry
  • Citrus, sweet
  • An easy one to enjoy in a G&T… which is exactly why it was picked!

Which is exactly when our attentions shifted from comparing different gin profiles to pairing with different tonics. Which will be a topic for another day…

Other gin experiences:

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Getting distracted in a Winnipeg Liquor Mart…

It started off innocently enough… “Let’s go pick up a few things for tomorrow’s open house!”

My sister and her partner kindly host a gathering when I’m back in my hometown of Winnipeg. This time her partner suggested we head over to the local “LC” (Liquor Commission) and grocery store to stock up on a few drinkables and edibles for the celebration.

Cue wide-eyed kid in a candy store dazed expression… because the array of wines, beer and other liquid libations available in your regular old liquor store in Winnipeg far outdo your local Mumbai “wine shop”. They also have multiple tasting corners to try before you buy – I’m a HUUUGE fan of this concept!

First I was introduced to a “Growler Bar” where you re-fill your empty growler (1.89 L) or howler (946 ml) with beers on tap. Naturally everything is available to sip before you commit.

Growler Bar (Photo:

Growler Bar (Photo: Liquor Marts)

Then I was distracted by the whisky section and a helpful lass who shared tales of her adventures with craft distilleries in BC… which turned from various whiskies to other offerings…

Fort Richmond Liquor Mart

Followed by further digression to another sampling counter where I revisited the delightful Caorunn gin. Which lead in turn to an exploration of:

  • Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 40% (Batch 18) from Ontario – remarkably nuanced with 22 botanicals weaving together to awaken your senses with a teasing perfume
  • Spain’s Gin Mare 42.7% with its Mediterranean flavours of olives, rosemary, thyme, basil and mandarin is bolder and shouts out to be transformed into a wicked martini

Dillon's + Gin Mare

Apparently my father’s quest to obtain Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye was remembered! “Hey you are the one that lives in India and writes about whisky, aren’t you?”

Rather than hoard bottles, when Northern Harvest Rye initially flew off the shelves after Jim Murray catapulted it to his global top spot, Canadian liquor stores were re-stocked with the remaining 200 cases at the same price… with free samples being generously shared so the public could enjoy. How utterly Canadian, eh?

While we were decidedly delayed in completing our simple shopping list, what fun to while away some time with friendly knowledgable staff while sampling a few interesting wares not readily accessible in Mumbai!

Any local liquor store that you enjoy visiting?

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