Let the tasting beGIN!

The South Sensation bloggers never need an excuse to drink gin, but when World Gin Day came around in June, we decided it might be a good idea to make our gin tasting a little more focused by checking out the offerings from our local distilleries.

We bought a box of five to try from @masterofmalt, which came nicely packaged with a set of tasting note cards, and we added Mermaid gin from the Isle of Wight to our list. You can check out our introduction on our earlier blog ‘A local challenge for World Gin Day.

A tasting team of six of us tried each gin neat first, and then topped it up with Fevertree light tonic water. We tasted blind without reading the notes, as we wanted to see if we could guess the ingredients from smell and taste alone.

Let us know what you think of the gins themselves, our comments, or suggestions for others we should try!


South Sensation Gin #2: Twisted Nose Watercress Dry Gin, Hampshire

Official description: A small batch gin that combines ten botanicals including watercress, juniper, grapefruit zest, cassia bark, fennel seed, orris, angelica and lavender.

On the nose: This smelt the most like traditional, neat spirit. We all detected notes of pepper, and one picked up grapefruit.

On the palate: Two people said they tasted watercress, and everyone said it was very strong, although it became softer with the addition of tonic.

Verdict: A very potent gin which, suprisingly as we’ve heard so much about it and is clearly a hit with many met a mixed reaction. Our amateur photographer loved it in the garden with lots of ice, some watercress (ok partly for show) and juniper berries.

Interesting fact: This gin couldn’t be made anywhere but Hampshire, as it uses watercress native to Hampshire’s clear flowing chalk streams. The Romans knew watercress as Nasturtium, literally translated as ‘twisted nose’.

Don’t take our word for it though – try for yourself! W: Winchester Distillery


South Sensation Gin: #1 Mary Rose Gin, Hampshire

So first up was Mary Rose London Dry Gin from HMS Spirits Company representing Hampshire.

Official description: Juniper heavy, balancing citrus and herbal tones, this gin uses grapefruit to liven the palatte and rosemary to create a soft, oily finsh.

On the nose: We detected rosemary, lavender and rose.

On the palate: We all picked up rosemary, and a floral, rose note reminiscent of Turkish Delight. Once we added the tonic, the gin became much more subtle with a touch of sweetness, and had a lovely soft finish.

Verdict: All of us liked this gin, and three of us said we would definitley be adding it to our gin cupboard.

Interesting fact: The name Mary Rose is both a nod to creator Ben Maguire’s love of adventure and a play on the rosemary content of the gin. Mary Rose Dry London Gin is available online and at the Mary Rose Museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Don’t take our word for it though – try for yourself! W: HMS Spirits Company


So that’s our first offerings for you, all in the name of research of course. Tell us what you think, do you agree or disagree? Can you recommend any others we should try? One lucky recommendation will win the bottle of their choice this autumn!

Follow us here on the blog and on our social media for the next South Sensation bottles before our gin judges:

South Sensation Gin #3 Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin, Dorset

South Sensation Gin #4 Pothecary Gin, Dorset

South Sensation Gin #5 Blackdown Sussex Dry Gin, Sussex

South Sensation Gin #6 Hampshire Gin Summer Garden, Winchester Distillery, Hampshire

South Sensation Gin #7 Keepr’s English Strawberry and Lavender Gin, Oxfordshire

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