A Special Gin Tasting at The Ardshiel Hotel Campbeltown

While having a few days away with the Whisky Boys in Campbeltown I had a very pleasant surprise. We were all staying at the Ardshiel Hotel, which is the ideal hotel for the Whisky lover. The hotel is very tastefully appointed and has friendly and efficient staff and a phenomenal selection of desirable tipples.

Normally if I am on such a trip Whisky is the main feature of the day, but to my delight Marion, Flora and Julie provided me with a wonderful Gin tasting.   What really tickled me was that I hadn’t tasted any of the Gins they had selected and believe me I have made it my life work to sample as many Gins as possible.   

I feel I have to point out that traditionally I am not a lover of flavoured gins but have come to realise, as James Bond would say, “never say never”. I could not help giggling with anticipation when the girls produced the garnishes to go with the wonderful gins.

All the Gins were served with loads of ice and tonic water.  We started with:-

1.      Verano Watermelon Gin

Now this was a big surprise. It was a beautiful enticing pale pink colour and albeit I recognised it was fruity, it was very subtle.  I tend not to eat Watermelon, so did not immediately recognise the fruit, but this gin was one of my favourites.   On a warm day to have a glass of this seriously chilled would be wonderful. 

The description of the gin is a fruity pink gin infused with a handmade distillate of fresh Spanish watermelon. It has a delicious delicate sweet flavour, and the sweetness of the watermelon is balanced perfectly to create a juicy and refreshing pink gin. 

It was suggested it should be enjoyed mixed with Lemonade for a sweet and fruity easy gin cocktail, or mixed with sparkling tonic water for a fruity twist on the classic Gin and Tonic serve.  For me, it was definitely with tonic water.  I would highly recommend this Gin and for my palate, it was subtle but sophisticated.  I definitely will be buying this one. The garnish for this Gin was a little bit of mint.

2.   Red Door Highland Gin

I felt this was a more traditional juniper Gin which is a style I gravitate towards.   The description of this Gin is a heart of finest juniper and bitter orange peel with deliciously complex notes of sea buckthorn, pearls of heather and rowan berries.  The garnish for this Gin was a slice of orange.

3.   Devil’s Staircase Gin

This truly was a spicy wee Devil.   This is a Craft distilled Highland Spiced Gin with the traditional juniper and coriander mixed with warm flavours of cardamom, nutmeg cassia and beautiful citrus zest. This one was served with some pink peppercorns which were very aesthetically pleasing.

4.   Cadenhead’s Old Raj Rum Cask Matured Gin

This is a classic rum cask gin which adds a sweetness to the Old Raj.  This was a very pleasant Gin, but I am not sure if I could drink many of them as I would call this a “grown up Gin”, but certainly it is not unpleasant.  There was a warmth from this Gin, but I wouldn’t immediately recognise Rum tones.  The garnish for this one was lime.

5.   Ben Lomond Gin

This was a delightful Gin. Inspired by Ben Lomond, as well as the extensive natural flora within Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. This classic style gin is produced with 11 key botanicals, including two hand-picked Scottish berries, blackcurrants, and locally foraged rowan berries. Beautifully blended, our gin is vibrant and crisp with a delicate berry sweetness.   The garnish for this Gin was blackberries and lime – delicious. Loved it so much I had to buy a bottle.

I have to send a big thank you to Marion, Flora and Julie for taking the time and using their skill to select such an interesting selection of Gins.  I had a super afternoon and definitely had a wee Campbelltown glow after tasting the spectacular Gins.  Thanks girls – great job.

Many people will associate Campbeltown with Whisky. Now you can visit the Ardshiel Hotel where you can as well as having a fabulous selection of Whiskies you can have a great selection of gins and have an educational tasting.

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