Ginvent Review

The Gin Foundry ‘Ginvent’ is the world’s first gin advent calendar (the clue is in the name). Over the weekend we were treated to a pop-up shop and tasting experience.IMG_0510

Visitors were led through the back of independent vinyl specialist Phonica records of Poland St, through an origami basement wonderland (see photo!) through to a spacious yet cosy warehouse-bar space. All gins came with a helpful talk from a brand ambassador about where the gin came from and tasting notes.


  • First up and collected upon entry: Strane– very agreeable, served with clove studded orange. Got things moving nicely but I’ll admit I knocked it back too quickly to savour properly.
  • Sharish blue magic gin– pea flower, with strong raspberry and strawberry. Cardamom, spice and ginger. Sippable, but benefits from dilution with tonic, not least because it turns from deep blue to pale pink in the presence of citric acid. Bit fruity for me but smooth and would significantly improve a fruit and gin cocktail.IMG_0515
  • Pinkster- someone on the table referred to this as ‘summer in a cup’, which I’m stealing. Fruity, but emphatically a gin and not a raspberry spirit- though it has enough raspberry in it to give a characteristic pink. The taste of raspberries is subtle, and leads more towards aroma. To balance that out it has double juniper (very up front), followed by a long peppery finish. Dilution brings out the fruity and floral flavours, paired with raspberries, mint, and a subtly flavoured tonic- preferably grapefruit. The mint should be spanked, not muddled.IMG_0518
  • Nginious- ‘smoked and salted gin’. Salty, with smoked chestnuts (nutty -unusual!). This is one of four seasonal gins produced by the brand. For their winter version Nginious avoided more obvious botanicals like cinnamon or citrus, hence the nuts. Suggested either straight or with ginger beer, which mutes the salt and smoke and brings out the chestnut.IMG_0523
  • Bertha’s Revenge. Made by a small family distillery based in a family farm in the Republic of Ireland, this gin is based on fermented whey spirit- hence the cow on the label. Tricky to achieve, but gives a clear yet creamy spirit with a great heavy mouth feel. Traditional floral and herbal don’t go with this creaminess, but spice does, and the resulting gin tastes strongly of ras molai or halva. Very peppery, which lingers. Being more of a sipping gin than a candidate for tonic.IMG_0529
  • Ginvent gin. Redberries and chocolate- but with juniper astringency. This had much more structure, personality and interest than either chocolate liqueur or kirsch. Licorice and star anise on the finish. Tonic brought the chocolate and cherry out, and shifted the dark chocolate to a rounder, hot-chocolate flavour. I was determined to buy some but tragically everyone has had the same idea so it is now no longer commercially available.IMG_0533

This gin came with a helpful talk on the latest gin trends- seasonal gin is likely to be big in 2017. This won’t be a return to using seasonal botanicals, but rather using aromas and processes to convey an the feeling of a season- as with a perfume. An example would be using roasting as a cooking process associated with Christmas and winter (as with Nginious). These limited editions will allow distillers to take greater risks with flavour than with their flagship gins.

Additional gin cocktails were available at the venue for £6-8, which is middling for central London. Being at the end of a very ‘taxing’ Christmas weekend neither of us went for these but they did look varied, tasty, and innovative (if my liver had been up to it I wouldn’t have said no to any on the list).

The Ginvent gin tasting is only with us very briefly so if the opportunity comes up again and it takes your fancy, act quickly.

Reporter: David Brown

Instagram: Salomebloke

Photos by Tegan LeBon @toogs1