Aldi’s £9.65 a bottle gin sees off premium spirits in a taste test
Gin, in its simplest form is effectively a neutral spirit plus juniper berries. Other botanicals, such as cassisa bark, saffron and grapefruit peel, are added and create the taste difference that distinguish Bombay Sapphire from Plymouth and Sipsmith from Martin Miller’s. Of course, the magic that sets a great gin apart from a bad‘un is a little more complex but though drinks industry “experts” bang on about this, does the layman really care?
The so-called “revival” in gin has been much discussed in the national press and every week new brands are launched. Most take the route of calling themselves “premium”. Though some, such as Sipsmith and No. 3, are, in my view spectacular, others are simply flavoured vodkas with the name gin on the bottle. Now, the majority of brands focus on expensive bottles and packaging in the belief that consumers will pay more for something that “looks better”. Many are marketed at ludicrous prices that are nothing other than unjustifiable. Rather like was the case with The Emperor’s New Clothes, it shouldn’t be about the price and the packaging, it should all be about the taste. A great gin need not be expensive.
It was refreshing this morning, therefore, to learn that an own label gin sold at Aldi has triumphed in this year’s International Spirits Challenge. The £9.65 a bottle (70cl) Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin, described on the company’s website as featuring a “ripe, citrus aroma with rounded spice and a touch of juniper” and boasting a “clear, light, crisp complex flavour”, saw off competition from far more expensive gins including the £32 a bottle Citadelle Gin and won a silver medal. Well-known brand Hendrick’s was awarded a bronze.
Of the award for Oliver Comwell London Dry Gin, Aldi’s Tony Baines commented:
“It is fantastic that our commitment to quality has been recognised by such a prestigious group as the ISC tasting panel… It’s safe to say we’re all in high spirits today – and we hope our customers will enjoy raising a glass of Gin and Tonic to our success”.
Old Noll was much loathed during his reign. Now, he finally gets an honour and we, the consumer, get proof that good gin can be affordable.
For more information about Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin, go to: http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/product_range/product_range_22878.htm