The last two years have seen a significant curtailment in my travels but one of my few remaining joys has been my semi-annual pilgrimage to Cornwall, partly to enjoy the beautiful scenery and partly to visit the headquarters of Drinkfinder UK and stock up on some more goodies spawned by the ginaissance. It seems rather churlish not to sample some of the gins distilled in the county and a bottle of Fowey Valley Foy Gin seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
I hummed and hawed over buying a bottle as paying over £30 for a bottle containing just 50cl almost brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps I was overcome by that devil-may-care attitude that befalls many a holidaymaker and took the plunge.
Based in Golant on the banks of the river Fowey, Fowey Valley is better known as a cider maker and has been producing quality ciders since 2012. Having cracked that, it seemed a logical step to use their apples to make an alcohol spirit and from that to use it as the base for their own gin. The idea of Foy Gin was born.
They distil the spirit five times using a traditional copper pot still in batches of 200 litres, initially at an ABV of up to 96% on the column but reducing the ferocity of the spirit with each pass through. The botanicals, of which there are six although, sadly, unnamed, are introduced on the pot still during the last run. The resultant gin has a fighting weight of 40% ABV.
The bottle is a no-nonsense affair, made of clear glass and a squat square with a flat shoulder and a relatively short neck leading to a wooden stopper with an artificial cork. The background of the square label that takes up most of the front of the bottle is black with white lettering, although gold script is used to proclaim that it is made with six botanicals. A sticker tells me that it was awarded Gold in 2020 by Taste of the West. The slightly smaller label at the rear of the bottle follows the same colour scheme. It states that it is “a classic, velvety, aromatic gin. Juniper led, floral notes with a round body and a hint of fragrant spice”.
On opening the stopper, the immediate sensation is one of citrus with fresh juniper in the background and an intriguing hint of earthiness. It is a crystal-clear spirit in the glass with a crispness that makes it a delight to drink. The juniper is prominent to begin with before the citrus elements and a pleasant spiciness come to the fore. It has a long aftertaste which is dry, slightly spicy with a hint of salt and sweetness.
I found it a delightful gin, firmly in the London Dry tradition, but with its own distinctive twist. It worked well with a good quality tonic, and it took all of my iron will to stop me from having a second glass immediately afterwards. If you can swallow the price, then it is an impressive gin that would enhance any collection.
Until the next time, cheers!