Review – Hoxton Gin
As any market grows, it is inevitable that brands seek to expand the market by introducing products to new consumers. With spirits, this often means producing a product whose taste and marketing break new moulds in order to appeal to a different type of consumer than the traditional spirits in that category. It is no surprise therefore that someone would take the bold leap of producing a product such as Hoxton gin which claims to be “the most distinctive gin in the world” and which appeals to people who “want something different”.
Hoxton gin is the brainchild of Gerry Calabrese and is produced using alcohol derived from French summer wheat. Coconut, grapefruit, juniper, iris, tarragon and ginger are macerated for five days in neutral alcohol before undergoing a single distillation in a 150 yr old copper pot still. The distillate is then blended with neutral alcohol and diluted to bottling strength of 43% abv before being rested in steel tanks for two months.
Nose: Grapefruit and coconut dominate, although the ginger, juniper and tarragon in particular are all perceptible in the background. The combination of bold coconut and grapefruit is certainly unique, but not altogether successful.
Neat: Once again the coconut and grapefruit dominate, with the juniper very much playing second fiddle. Assertive flavours can be a very positive attribute but here the result is frankly unpalatable. The remaining botanicals make a fleeting appearance later on before the coconut returns to stick to ones palate like some sort of chemical weapon.
Mixing: If ever there was a spirit to illustrate why cocktails were invented it is this. Irrespective of an individual preference for or against the predominant flavours of coconut and grapefruit, the principle problem here is that they insist on fighting with each other for the limelight. One or other might be bearable, but together they are a disaster. An entire bottle was used in the process of trying to find something bearable to drink this spirit in, with the conclusion being that the only way forward is to beat it into submission with even more aggressive flavours; intensely floral honey syrup works well for example. I am sure that those more skilled than I in the mixing department will be able to concoct some decent libations, but that only goes to highlight their skill in spite of such an unpleasant tasting spirit.
As disappointed as I was with the taste of this product, it must be recognised that this is a personal thing and it is entirely possible that I am alone in disliking it intensely. However, I must take issue with the decision to market this as a gin. Gin you see, according to EU regulations, has to have juniper as its predominant flavour. This most certainly does not have juniper as its predominant flavour, irrespective of whether or not you enjoy that flavour. The concept of widening the appeal of gin to non-traditional gin drinkers is one that I support, but this just feels like a cynical attempt to cash in on those that don’t know better.
Hoxton gin is quite frankly the most disappointing spirit I have yet to taste. The flavour profile is not only offensive to the senses, but it strays so far away from what a gin is intended to be that it really should not be considered as such. A spectacular failure.
Hoxton Gin is available to buy from Master of Malt.