Review: Greenalls London Dry Gin
Even if you haven’t heard of Greenall’s gin, you have probably consumed a gin of their making at some stage or another, for G and J Greenall is the second largest distiller of gin in the UK. Many supermarket own-brand gins are produced by Greenalls’s, as is Bombay Sapphire. For a gin connoisseur this is hardly a distilling pedigree to get you excited, but perhaps they save the good stuff for themselves.
Greenall’s is celebrating their 250th anniversary in 2011 by relaunching their London dry gin with a sleek new bottle design and an increased presence in major retailers. Unusually (and refreshingly), they are sticking with the classic approach to London dry gin in both their botanicals and marketing. There are no weird and wonderful botanicals used here, just classic flavours such as juniper, coriander, lemon, almonds and cassia bark.
The nose has a classic gin profile with a soft juniper aroma that is neither too dominant nor too weak, and sits nicely alongside the coriander and citrus elements. It does smell a little one dimensional and this is highlighted when tasted neat. Greenall’s is certainly a classically styled gin on the palate, with juniper playing the starring role and the other botanicals sitting very much in the background. It is also relatively sweet, and I can’t help but think this is disguising the shallowness of flavour and deliberately smoothing the rough edges. There isn’t much of a finish to speak of and it’s hardly the tastiest gin you’ll ever try, but it’s also of much better quality than one would expect at this price point.
The shortage in the flavour flavour department becomes even more evident when mixed. As soon as other ingredients are added, the gin character is largely lost and this spirit is rapidly out of it’s depth. However, for those not looking for a heavy ‘ginny’ hit, it is smooth and balanced enough to be worthy of a try. Whilst even relatively simple cocktails like the white lady (gin, lemon juice, triple sec and egg white) and dry martini (gin, dry vermouth) demand too much from this gin, simply mixing with tonic, ginger ale or bitter lemon works nicely. They’re not the most complex or flavoursome cocktail you’ll ever drink, but on a hot day they might be just what you are looking for.
Greenall’s Gin is a low cost, but low appeal gin that isn’t worth checking out. For the price it might might be considered reasonable value, but it’s worth stretching to a couple of quid more for something better tasting.
Greenall’s Gin is available to buy from Master of Malt.
★: Terrible, only drink for a dare.
★★: Meh, not undrinkable but best left alone.
★★★: Reasonable, middle of the road.
★★★★: Tasty stuff, well worth seeking out.
★★★★★: Incredible, booze doesn’t get better than this. You need a bottle in your life.