Review: Haymans Gin
With so many gins now available to choose from, the decision as to which to go for can at times seem like an unnecessarily challenging task. Each have their own characteristics, but sometimes the clever marketing and hyperbole can cloud the picture of what the gin is all about. In amongst this plethora of information is a gin brand that prefers to stick very much with it’s traditional roots. No gimmicks, just good ‘ol tasty gin. That product is Haymans.
The current Hayman’s range includes a London Dry, Old Tom and Sloe gin plus an interesting and unusual gin liqueur to round things off. All the gins are distilled by master distiller Christopher Hayman using a copper pot still and a 24hr maceration of the botanicals before distillation. It would appear that the Hayman family benefit from a genetic predisposition to gin production for Christophers great grandfather James Burrough was the chap who created Beefeater gin in the 1800s!
The London Dry
With ever-more exotic botanicals being used in gin production it is refreshing to see a gin that sticks to the traditional London Dry style. Juniper, angelica root, coriander, orris root, orange and lemon peels are amongst the botanicals, with a fine balance achieved. A nice whiff of juniper on the nose is mellowed by subtle coriander and rounded by the citrus. The flavours are very ‘classic’, smooth juniper balanced well with citrus and a touch of spice. This is a gin that is straight down the middle of the London Dry style and for that, I like it. This balance makes it a good cocktail base and it works well in all the classics.
The Old Tom
My favourite product in the Hayman’s range, the Old Tom is an excellent example of this style of gin. The sweetness that characterises the Old Tom style is achieved through the addition of small amounts of sugar, rather than through manipulation of the botanical base. This creates a a smooth, yet complex gin that is continues the house style from the London Dry. I particularly love this gin in a Martinez, where it stands up well even to the most complex of vermouths.
The Sloe Gin
As a gin to drink neat I must admit it doesn’t quite beat thecocktailgeek own brand. However, this gin achieves what I find many sloe gins do not, excellent mix-ability. I put this down to the bitter edge introduced by the inclusion of cracked sloe stones into the maceration process. Whilst this makes makes the gin a little more bitter for sipping, it produces impressive results when mixed, adding a complexity of flavour that raises my sloe gin cocktails to another level. For those who find many commercial sloe gins a little too cloying, this one will certainly appeal.
The Haymans 1820
A really quite unique product that combines the aromatic complexity of gin, with the smooth sippability of a liqueur. This product took a while to garner my enthusiasm but, after a few attempts to get my head around the concept, it really started to ‘grow’. Whilst still clearly present, the juniper takes a back seat here and allows the citrus notes to come to the fore. Again, there is a touch of spice, and altogether the liqueur is very well balanced. Although designed to be sipped, 1820 is much more fun as a mixer, providing an interesting and tasty twist on cocktails usually calling for liqueurs such as triple sec.
“The Hayman’s Gin range is a great example of classic gin making at its best. Traditional in flavour profile, the range is versatile and stacks up well in a range of cocktails. The Old Tom in particular is unbeatable, and the sloe gin makes me question why I bother with my homemade stuff each year! Delicious.”
Rating: ★★★ – ★★★★
Hayman’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.