During my trip to the UK last June, I visited Hayman’s Distillery and met their master distiller Lizzy Bailey. Lizzy was an excellent host and It was during a guided tasting that I had my first taste of Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin.
Lizzy painstakingly researches the Hayman family archive to find authentic gin recipes. The technique used to make Hayman’s Family Reserve Gin harks back to the days when bottling your gin was not yet the norm. Before the Bottling Act of 1861, gin was transported and served from old whisky barrels, as seen here.
To be clear though, the gin is not aged, merely “rested” in 3rd filled Scotch whisky barrels for a minimum of 3 weeks. The short time frame means the gin doesn’t take on the colour from the barrels. In addition the juniper notes that are often rounded out during a lengthier barrel-ageing process remain intact.
On the nose Hayman’s Family reserve is juniper and coriander and less citrus that other gins in their range. On tasting pine from the juniper are present with spicy coriander notes and some lovely hints of oak. It’s smooth and rounded on the palate which I attribute to the resting process.
I must admit when I knew this gin was rested in whisky barrels I was concerned that not only would it confuse the flavours, but would impact on the ways I could drink it.
Fortunately, Hayman’s Family Reserve is versatile, exactly as a good gin should be. It works well in a G&T, cutting through the sweetness of the tonic and is fantastic in a Gibson martini, the peppery notes boosting the savoury nature of the drink.
Country of Origin: UK