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Tag Archives: gin

  • The Real Spirit of Christmas

    Christmas Eve at Oddbins is doing exactly what Christmas Eve should do at Oddbins. The Liverpool store is thronged beyond all known laws of physics, and a sweet-natured queue snakes from the counter to the back of the shop and round on itself to the front door. Who in their right mind would think this was a good time to get the tasting samples out?

    CW-Gin

    "Ello darli-er, good afternoon madam!" But of course. Hello, Crazy Chimp. "I see you're feasting your minces on our gins, I've got a lovely one here you'll enjoy. You're not driving, are you? Oh, good, there you are, Christopher Wren Gin from the City of London Distillery. Mmm, nice palate, liquorice and oranges going on there, very Christmassy. Handsome bottle too, looks just like St. Paul's Cathedral. So that's two masterpieces with Wren's name for the price of one! Tell you what, I'll let you enjoy it in peace while I go and pop one under the counter for you..." And he scuttles away on his knuckles, to charm somebody else.

    Crazy-Banner

    At the end of the counter, a whisky lover is being told things by a chimp who has a slight smell of old books and a charming aura of forgotten academia. "...and Masataka Taketsuru, who established the distillery in 1934," instructs Curious Chimp, "was the first Japanese person to study whisky-making at Glasgow University. His Nikka From The Barrel is decidedly high in alcohol - 51.4%! But rather than merely making it hot, the extra abv adds depth, weight and richness, don't you think? Orange peel, cedar, woody spice - true decadence and indulgence, 50cl of Christmas. And the packaging? So stylish. If Blue Note was a distillery instead of a jazz label, they'd have made things that looked like this. Give me a bottle of this and a Horace Silver CD and I'll happily come and make Christmas dinner for you. As long as it's nut roast!"

    Nikka

    In the corner of the room, a roguish chimp is telling a group of rum aficionados about the time he and his old chum Shifty had to flee to Venezuela in a borrowed Jaguar. Crafty Chimp is no stranger "...heh, heh, heh, and no sooner had she finished peeling my banana than in walks her brother - turns out he was the bloody ambassador!"

    Crafty-Banner

    "That's one diplomatic incident I won't be returning to in a hurry, I can tell you, but this Diplomatico Exclusiva rum really is something you can go back to without a forged passport. It has the kind of gravitas that could get a chap out of any scrape - brown sugar and liquorice underneath delicious dried fruit peel and toffee characters - and it rather lends itself to be taken neat. Drunk au naturel, so to speak. Which takes me back rather neatly to the ambassador's sister..."

    Exclusiva

    Wandering around the shop with an empty bottle of Brockman's Gin and a beautific smile is Loveable Chimp. He is trying to get people to smell his empty bottle, and though he hasn't quite got them in the palm of his hand, he isn't giving a monkey's. It's Christmas Eve and his family and friends are all in the one place, and they are in their element, helping to choose gifts and treats for his beloved regulars, and everybody is in the very best of heart and humour. He is surrounded by people and chimps who are giving a shit this Christmas, and this, he muses as his smile grows even wider, is the true spirit of the season.

    Brockmans

    Although, that Nikka whisky was pretty decent, it has to be said...

    Thanks to all of you for another extraordinary year. Merry Christmas! x

  • GINDUSTRIAL TASTING THIS WEEKEND

    In the same way that dogs don’t arrive in the world being able to skip backwards around an assault course at Krufts, grain, peat and botanicals don’t just turn into delicious libations all by themselves: they need time, skill and love invested in them. They need nurturing by people who know what they’re doing. It’s abundantly clear when a drink has been made by a ham-fisted eejit and when it has been made with skill and passion. Be it ageing in soleras in the highlands of Guatemala (Ron Zacapa Rum), or infusing with bog myrtle and dandelion (Caorunn Gin), the ‘nurturing’ process involves is a mind-boggling array of decisions and the results are infinitely diverse and fascinating. So, this weekend we will be putting two curiously crafted gins on free tasting , so you can take notes on the effect their ‘upbringing’ has had on them…

    G'Vine Floraison

    First up is G’Vine Nouaison (£39.50). G’Vine is the only gin in the world to use the vine flower as a botanical and these ‘ginspired’ gins beautifully harness the different stages of the vine’s life. Whilst G’Vine Floraison is made with the fleeting magic of the budding flower, G’Vine Nouaison is heady, spicy and aromatic, as it is made with the mature flower as it transitions into a berry. Basically, if you are really undecided between buying a wine and a gin, this is your man.

    Aviation.jpg

    Let’s say you’re less of a vine-loving Francophile, and more of an Aviator-wearing All-America. Well, there’s a gin for you, too. The botanicals chosen for Aviation Gin aim to conjure up the ‘lushness, spice, creativity, and freshness of the Pacific Northwest’. They do this using the rich, floral and savoury notes of lavender, cardamom, and sarsaparilla and the result is a leather-clad, sexy beast of a gin that will make you think you’re top gun.

    If scientists want a decisive answer on the nature vs nurture debate, they should really come along. White coats not necessary.

  • HERALDRY, ORNITHOLOGY AND SPACE EXPLORATION

    Isn’t the retail calendar shamelessly predictable? Christmas has only just finished when the inevitable January sales roll round, next up is Celebrate Couples Day, soon we’ll be reminding you about your Mother (like you could forget) and before you know it, you’ll be knee deep in chocolate eggs and fluffy chicks, lambs, bunnies and the like. So we’re going to break free from the trade clichés that shackle us to this hamster wheel of holidays and tell you about heraldry, ornithology and space exploration instead……oh sorry, the powers that be have told us we can’t, we’ve got to tell you about Valentine’s Day, kissing and mushy stuff like hearts and flowers. Sorry we tried. How does one get off this infernal cycle?

    He may rival Cupid with his penchant for loosing arrows, but did anybody else notice how everybody’s favourite albino elf used the plural there? Nothing says “hopeless romantic” like a firm grasp on the concept of monogamy. If, like Mr Legolas Bloom you have a different lover for every day of the week, although Oddbins cannot condone this kind of behaviour, we are still on hand to help you out with Valentine’s Day gifts…

    We have six incredible new wines from a South American winery whose name rather fittingly means “beautiful heart”. Pora Py’a own vineyards in both Chile and Argentina, where they create a series of stunning wines made from single grape varieties. From Chile we have Carmenère, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc and from Argentina we have Malbec, Shiraz and Torrontes. Each one is an Oddbins classic in the making, but the standouts for us are the Torrontes, which is so jam packed with jasmine and rose notes that you won’t have to buy a bunch of flowers for February 14th, the Sauvignon, which is like a veritable tropical honeymoon, and the Malbec, which our buyer Ana described simply as “love at first taste”. And if you are counting them and thinking “that’s only six, didn’t you say a lover for every day of the week?” then please remember that although Orlando Bloom may be some kind of modern lothario, even that smoothest of operators: Craig David, had to chill for one of the seven days in the week.

    Mr Leno owns approximately 190 vehicles, including 90 motorcycles, so it is little wonder he resents spending a little extra on his wife, Mavis, on Valentine’s Day. Now, we may not be quite as cynical as Mr Leno, but there’s no denying that around February 14th prices on flowers, chocolates, underwear and restaurant menus seem to take a step in the wrong direction from a consumer perspective. Not at Oddbins though, we’re doing the exact reverse. To celebrate passion, love, companionship and all that mushy stuff, we’re knocking money off the most romantic of beverage of all: Pink Champagne. There’s £10 off the iconic Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne and £13 off the spicy and rose gold-hued Heidsieck Monopole Rosé Champagne. But our top tip is the Oddbins exclusive Antoine Remy Rosé Champagne, down to the unbeatably good value of just £25. By purchasing this glorious fizz, you aren’t paying for fancy marketing, celebrity endorsement or elaborate packaging, no, you are simply taking home pure boutique craftsmanship that has turned humble grapes into wild strawberries and cream, raspberry sorbet, cherry blossom and bubbling stars. Forget Jay Leno, when it comes to the most romantic night of the year Antoine Remy is the Tonight Show.

    If you don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day, don’t worry about it, it is just a day like any other. Except it isn’t this year, because this year it’s a Friday. So iron your best outfit, pour a gin and tonic (into yourself, not the iron) and hit the town. Caorunn is our gin of choice (currently £4 off), a crisp tipple made from a mixture of rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, Coul Blush apple, dandelion leaf and other botanicals. With that list of ingredients, the recipe sounds like a love potion, and to be honest it is: you’ll fall head over heels…

                                                                                                                       …for Caorunn.

    That’s all from us, except to say a very passionate and heartfelt toodles and to let you know that the next edition of Oddnews will definitely be about heraldry, ornithology and space exploration.

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