Pickering’s Launch Whisky Cask Aged Gins

Oak-Aged-GinOak aged gins have certainly become a bit of a thing now so it’s refreshing to see a distillery take a radically different approach. Based at Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh, Pickering’s Gin has created a special marriage between two of Scotland’s best loved spirits, by ageing its award-winning gin in five Scotch malt whisky casks from Islay, Speyside, the Lowlands, Islands and the Highlands. This is the first time a gin distillery has launched a collection of five oak aged gins.

The gin is aged in one cask from each of the five regions at a time. Each cask yields just 200 bottles of never-to-be-repeated 47% ABV oak aged gin. After travelling the length and breadth of Scotland to select the casks, founders Marcus Pickering and Matt Gammell brought the barrels back to Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh to be filled with batches of cask strength Pickering’s Gin. The oak ageing process lasted between three and six months for each expression.

Each rare, collectable gin can be drunk like a whisky using water or ice, or savoured in cocktails to bring out the gin’s subtle whisky notes left behind by the five distinctive casks. The flavour profile ranges from the light and citric aromas of Speyside to the sweeter, peatier notes of the Islay region.

We were lucky enough to be invited along for a preview tasting of this fantastic gin meets whisky experiment with Charlie Maclean, the renowned whisky writer. Here’s what we  all thought:


Lowland Cask Aged Gin
Strength: 47% alc./vol.
Whisky region: Lowland

This region’s softer landscape is reflected in the lighter colour and character of its whiskies.

Aroma: Fresh, with a citric top-note. Slightly sweet, but not cloying. With water the nose opens up. Toffee notes come through and the aroma of lemon fudge confectionary.

Taste: Lightly sweet with a light spritz. The cask brings some spiciness giving a tingling sensation across the tongue. Hints of tobacco, then herbs (dried sage), some lingering fruity notes and a lemony aftertaste.

Speyside Cask Aged Gin
Strength: 47% alc./vol.
Whisky region: Speyside

Over half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries can be found in this region alone.

Aroma: Light, fresh and citric to start, with a faint mossy base note and wood shavings in the finish. Water opens up a more mushroomy, damp woody undercurrent.

Taste: The delicate sweetness of Speyside whiskies is evident, though subtle. Classic flavours of vanilla & caramel emerge. Lime flavoured boiled sweets with a woody, vegetal quality.

Highland Cask Aged Gin
Strength: 47% alc./vol.
Whisky region: Highland

The Highland region covers a vast and diverse area of Scotland. Its whiskies are often full-bodied and powerful.

Aroma: A prickly nosefeel. Behind the prickle, it’s mossy/woody with a hint of pepper. Water raises citric notes and traces of sweet soft fudge. Reminiscent of boiled lemon sweets – a sherbet lemon without the sherbet.

Taste: The juniper shines through from the start, giving way to richer sweet notes of apricot and raisin. A suggestion of whisky in the aftertaste – wood and vanilla?

Island Cask Aged Gin
Strength: 47% alc./vol.
Whisky region: Island

The whisky distilleries from this region – Orkney, Skye, Mull, Arran and Jura – often share a salty, maritime character.

Aroma: Mellow, with faint notes of light toffee, vanilla and dried peat. With water it’s slightly maritime, on a base of moss and dry peat.

Taste: Here the mouthfeel is drier. Slightly salty with a subtle smoky dimension. Chlli-pepper in the aftertaste that complements the fresh juniper notes. With a touch more water, the cask adds a base note of faint smoke, with a touch of vanilla. The maritime flavours return, and the aftertaste has a trace of peat smoke.

Islay Cask Aged Gin
Strength: 47% alc./vol.
Whisky region: Islay

The small island of Islay is home to Scotland’s most powerful and peaty whiskies.

Aroma: Mild sweetness and some toffee notes. Dried, crumbly peat and an elusive waft of peat smoke. Faintly maritime and mineralic. Water brings out a more herbal quality.

Taste: Lovely and fragrant, with herbal notes and a maritime saltiness. The influence of the cask is unmistakable. Following the gin’s initial softness, a light whiff of peat smoke, with iodine and medicinal notes. It’s Islay, but not as you know it.

Pickering’s Oak Aged Gin retails at £36 for a 35cl bottle. It is available to buy either online at www.pickeringsgin.com or directly from the Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh. The edition is very limited so get in quick! And watch Charles Maclean discussing the gins here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztUqc7ri7Ok&feature=youtu.be

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