Gin O’Clock (104)

It is important if you are going to make a bit of a splash in the world of the ginaissance to be able to stand out from the crowd. A slick, punchy marketing message with a quirky backstory, as we have seen, certainly helps. The shape and design of the bottle is another. After all, that is the first thing you notice about a gin on the shelf and an attractive or unusual design can catch your attention. The irony of it all, of course, is that the more distillers who put some of their energy not designing an eye-catching bottle, the less likely it is that any one bottle will stand out. Indeed, you could argue that in those circumstances it is the plain, dull bottle that will look unusual on the shelf. And you need to consider the impact of an unusual bottle on the overall price.

There’s a lot to consider but there is no getting away from the fact that there are some beautiful bottles around. Those of you who have followed these posts will have realised by now that I take some time in a review to consider the design and aesthetics of the bottles and their labelling. I find it is part of the overall experience. Here, in no particular order, as they say on all good reality shows, are some of my favourites.

For elegance, simplicity and a touch of its heritage, you cannot beat the Plymouth Gin bottle. The glass is a beautiful pale green, embossed with the name of the distillery and the year it was founded (1793), topped off with a copper coloured screwcap. And the gin is superb. I was so enamoured with the white bottle with floral designs in black which the French gin, Generous Gin, comes in that it is still standing on my shelf, even though, alas, its contents have long since gone.    

I also think the classic wine bottle shape, as favoured by the excellent Portobello Road No 171 Gin, one of my absolute favourite gins, adds some elan to the gin shelf, a style also adopted, albeit in a slightly more elongated form and in an almost fluorescent green, by Crawshay Welsh Dry Gin, whose distillery at Hensol Castle I shall enjoy visiting when I can safely cross the Severn.

A bottle that is simply a stunner is Silent Pool’s beautiful pale blue cylindrical number, etched in gold with motifs of some of the flowers and botanicals that go into the mix. The cynic in me fears that the more effort that is put into the look, the more disappointing will the end product be. My fears on this occasion were ill-founded. The gin was as good as the bottle looked. The City of London range, I love their Christopher Wren Gin, is contained in a bottle with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral leading up to the neck. A lovely shape.

Bottles need not be round and there is something distinctive about a geometric shape, particularly one that is in synch with the product itself. No 3 London Dry Gin from Berry Bros & Rudd is in a distinctive pale green triangular bottle, while the New Zealand Scapegrace Premium Dry Gin is in a square one. The gorgeous Caorunn Small Batch Scottish Gin is in a pentagonal bottle, representing the key Scottish botanicals, Heather, Rowan Berry, Dandelion, Bog Myrtle, and Couls Blush Apple, while, not to be outdone, the Japanese Roku Gin is in a hexagonal bottle, each side representing one of the six traditional Japanese botanicals that go into the mix.

I’m also a sucker for a metallic plate, Puerto de Indias Sevillian Premium Gin using a brass one to particularly good effect. Gin bottles really do come in all shapes and sizes.

Until the next time, cheers!

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