It’s not every day you get a bottle delivered to your house of a new product that has a note from the brand owner telling you that this is the first bottle outside of his own house. So this past Thursday, when exactly that happened, and I found in my hands a bottle of Hammer & Son Old English Gin, I was pretty excited to say the least. I’ve been waiting for the release of this product for several months, ever since Henrik Hammer (of Geranium Gin) mentioned that he had found a 1783 gin recipe in the safe at a distillery and was going to have a go at recreating it, as closely as possible within the confines of modern production techniques and current regulations.
But what exactly is an Old English Gin? Well essentially it’s the original style of gin produced in England, and is somewhere between the sweet rich flavour of Genever, and the dry style of gin we’re used to today. It differs from London Dry in that it is slightly sweetened, a tradition that goes back to a time when poor quality spirits could have some of their impurities masked by the addition of sugar after distillation. The decision not to refer to this new product as an Old Tom Gin, as some might expect, comes from Henrik’s research into the history of gin in the 1700s, and his desire to produce a spirit that would be true to the origins of English Gin.