Behind every great artisanal gin there is a cadre of dedicated individuals who comprise the very heart and soul of the spirit. Sipsmith Independent Spirits is an excellent example. In 2009, partners Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall and Master Distiller Jared Brown began operating a craft distillery in London, and in doing so became the first copper-pot distillery to open in that city in nearly 200 years. Along with some beautiful, state-of-the-art equipment, they brought a passion for handcrafted gin and the artisanal distilling process. For devotees of classically structured spirits, Sipsmith Gins are a tour de force.
The distillery's standardbearer—Sipsmith London Dry Gin—is produced on a foundation of neutral spirits distilled five times from English barley. The neutral spirits are transferred into the distillery's newest copper pot still dubbed "Patience." A proprietary blend of 10 aromatics and botanicals is added to the still and allowed to steep for 15 hours prior to distillation. The botanical mix includes juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, licorice root, orris root, almonds, cassia bark, cinnamon and orange and lemon peels, a traditional cast capable of producing an exceptionally dry gin.
Sipsmith London Dry Gin is big, complex and utterly engaging. The gin has pristine clarity, a satiny textured body and a tantalizing floral, juniper and citrus bouquet. Its aromatics add greatly to the gin's appreciable character. Its warm, silky smooth entry gradually fades to reveal a broad ensemble of dry flavors, including piney juniper followed by zesty lemon, anise and baking spice. It finishes long, spicy warm and absolutely elegant. Aromatic, flavorful and precisely balanced, it's a natural to serve straight up, or in a '50s style Martini.