As a lover of a gin or two, I was excited when it was announced that Dundee was hosting its first gin fayre, showcasing predominantly Scotland’s finest gins. The tickets flew thick and fast and I was lucky to obtain a ticket for their late afternoon session.
Originally meant to be hosted at Dundee University’s Bonar Hall, it was changed last minute to a canteen in a building behind the University’s art school, Duncan of Jordanstone. This sadly resulted in poor signage and a collection of confused ticket holders congregating on the Perth Road with no assistance as to where the venue was located. But we all eventually managed to find our destination through what appeared to be a service entrance. The chaos, however didn’t end there, the stalls were squeezed into a small space with couches from the Student’s Union, making it look more like a jumbled car boot sale than an exclusive event and made what should’ve been a relaxed movement of people into a chaotic mash.
Despite the poor infrastructure of the event, the spirits (no pun intended) were high. We were greeted with an ice cold glass of Gin & Tonic with lemon syrup a slice of lemon garnish. An easy drink to start the afternoon. We were all given a Gin Handbook, detailing the vendors present and 10 tokens to obtain samples. There were over 20 vendors to chose from, most of them in gin samples, so I had to be savvy in my selections.
My first go to was my favourite Gin Distillery, Eden Mill. They have recently released a new range of Gin Liqueurs. I sampled the Pear and Cassia which was sweet enough not to taste syrupy. It will definitely be on my list to be picked up on Pay day!
My next stop was to visit The Gin Bothy. I was instantly drawn to the unusually named gin called ‘Gunshot’. Hunters in the Angus Glens where the distillery is based nicknamed the company’s seasonal Mulled gin ‘Gunshot’ as is it was the chosen tipple in their hipflasks to warm them up in the winter. Thus the name was born to sell the gin all year round. What a great story behind a warm gin laced with cinnamon, cloves & mixed spices.
With it being the Dundee Gin Fayre, a must on the list was to try something from the Dundee Gin Company. The bubbly staff were keen for me to try their Marmalade Gin Liqueur and were full of facts. One fact of note is that is only has 10% sugar, reasonably lower compared to its competitors. It tasted quite similar to Cointreau, with rich warm orange notes. As a lover of Cointreau, this would definitely hold up as a just as refreshing alternative.
Through the throngs of people, I was drawn to the beautiful bottle of the Wild Island Gin. Crafted around their native growing botanicals, this Colonsay based distillery prides itself on being smooth and an easy drink. The best ‘classic’ tasting gin I have ever had.
My favourite gin of the afternoon was the Orkney Gin Company’s Rhubarb Old Tom. The company uses a bathtub style method to produce small batches and is distilled seven times. This flavour in particular has a variety of notes which includes rose, cinnamon and Seville orange peel to compliment the seasonal local rhubarb.
It wasn’t all about the drinks however. There was a plethora of gin accessories for any gin lover. Scottish Borders distillery Lilliard had a wonderful selection of Gin scented candles. Maxwell’s Desserts also sold a variety of baked goods containing Persie’s gin, from Gin Chocolate Mousse Cups to Gin infused Marshmallows. Naturally I picked up some goodies to enjoy when I got home and they most certainly did not disappoint!
I hope No 18 (the event organisers) learn from their mistakes in how they exectuded Dundee’s first ever Gin Fayre. I look forward to them touring again and seeing their improvements.
Were you at the Dundee Gin Fayre? What were your thoughts?