Gin meets whisky: Pickering’s launches oak-aged collection

Edinburgh gin distiller Pickering's has launched a unique collection of oak-aged gins, matured in single malt whisky casks, hand-picked from distilleries in five of Scotland's whisky regions.

Published 19th May 2016
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

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 gin in whisky casks from Islay, Speyside, the Lowlands, Islands and the Highlands.

Though other distilleries have released oak-aged whiskies before, this is the first time a gin distillery has launched a collection of five oak-aged gins at the one time.

Whisky writer Charlie MacLean who created a video tasting for the launch, said: “All five expressions retain the fragrance, taste and product identity of gin but finish on the palate like a whisky thanks to the subtle extra dimension left behind by the cask ageing.”

Each gin is aged in one cask from the five regions. Each cask yields just 200 bottles of limited edition 47 per cent 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 gin can be enjoyed like a whisky using water or ice, or savoured in cocktails to bring out the gin's subtle oak notes left behind by the five distinctive casks. The flavour profile ranges from the light and citrus aromas of Speyside to the sweeter, peatier notes of the Islay region.

Marcus Pickering, co-founder said: “Scouring the length and breadth of Scotland to find the perfect whisky casks was a tough gig, but someone had to do it. We eventually identified five of the best casks to create our oak aged expressions, helping us to craft five gins which are undoubtedly different.”

Pickering’s co-founder Matt Gammell added: “Our latest offering of oak aged gin is truly a different way to experience gin, and to explore the world of Scotch whisky for spirit lovers the world over.”

DISTILLER'S TASTING NOTES:

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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

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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.

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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 mouth feel is drier. Slightly salty with a subtle smoky dimension. Chilli-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 goes on sale from 8.30am Thursday 19 May 2016, retailing at £36 for a 35cl bottle. For more information about Pickering’s Gin, visit: www.pickeringsgin.com

 

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