London Dry Gin Round 7 – Pink 47 (New Champion) VS Fords (Challenger)

Let’s kick off the start of a new year by welcoming the 7th Round of the London Dry Gin Battles. We have the newly crowned Pink 47 going up against The 86 Co.’s Fords London dry.


[CHAMPION from Round 6, recrowned after losing out on round 5, Pink 47]

1) Pink 47 – 47% ABV – 700ml., Old St. Andrews (UK), ~$40 CAD no longer sold at BC Liquor Stores

  • beautiful diamond shaped bottle – inspired by the legendary Khavaraya pink diamond
  • 4x distilled
  • recipe includes 12 botanicals: juniper berries (Tuscany), coriander seeds (Morocco), two types of Angelica roots (Saxony and ?), lemon and orange peel (Spain), orris root (Italy), almonds (Spain), licorice roots (China), cassia bark (Indochina), nutmeg (West Africa) – [actually that’s only 11…]
  • accolades include: International Spirits Challenge 2012 Gold, 69th 2012 Annual Wine & Spirits WSWA Silver, 5***** rating from Paul Pacult 2012, etc, etc, (18 awards and counting)

[VS]

[CHALLENGER]

2) Ford’s Gin London Dry – 45% ABV – 750ml., The 86 Co. (England), $43.70 CAD,  Jan 2017 – BC Liquor Stores

  • distilled by 8th gen Master distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co.
  • 9 botanicals: Italian juniper, Romanian coriander seed, Spanish lemon peel, Haitian/Moroccan bitter orange peel, Turkish grapefruit peel, Chinese jasmine, Italian/Moroccan orris powder, Polish angelica, Indonesian cassia
  • botanicals steeped for 15 hours, cooked for 5 hours

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Criteria:

Nose: Keeping in mind that almond, licorice, and nutmeg differ in ingredients for P47, I get half juniper-half licorice floral harshness. While it’s not exactly unpleasant, I find the alcohol detection slightly disengaging. Fords main difference is its use of grapefruit peel and jasmine. Upon nosing Fords I get a very clean, composed and mellow sweet grapefruit-lemon citrus – virtually no nasal burn whatsoever; Impressive since it is just 2% ABV lower. Fords wins the nosing challenge.

Taste & Texture: Sipping P47 for the first time in 2017, I remember why I dethroned T.10 in round 6. It comes out with a huge alcoholic intensity backup up by a very lengthy sweet juniper base, prickly licorice and subtle citrus mids, and incredible throat heat at the finish. My intuition says that this will make a sturdy gin base in a cocktail. Onto Fords, slightly thicker in viscosity and wow, I’m really digging the juniper/cinnamon->grapefruit-lemon-orange->sleeper jasmine notes at the finish. Amazingly the alcohol harshness stays for the most part, hidden in the background so you are able to concentrate on teasing apart the individual botanicals. Although P47 has intensity and length, Fords takes it with its composed clean elegance.

Final Notes:

  • P47 exhibits intense juniper sweet, alcoholic soft citrus licorice, a reliable gin-cocktail base spirit
  • Fords showcases a burst of grapefruit juniper citrus with a subtle jasmine backend
  • Both have their place when concocting cocktails; P47 for cocktails with numerous ingredients, Fords to accentuate either the citrus or spotlight the jasmine in it.
  • As I mentioned at the start of Round 1 in the Gin battles, every gin has its own unique recipe, therefore each is more suitable according to the cocktail you wish to create. Thus, all gins are WINNERS! (actually there are probably some awful bathtub gins out there…)

but for this round 7, WINNER = Fords London Dry Gin

Extra battle – [T.10 VS Fords citrus battle]

Outcome: T.10 grapefruit/lime/orange/chamomile VS Fords grapefruit/lemon/orange/jasmine = T.10 is much more grapefruity citrus forward but with it comes a lot of aggressive alcohol at 47.3% ABV. It’s quite suitable in a lower ABV cocktail. Fords is much more tame and around a 65:35 – juniper:citrus ratio. I’d pick T.10 but obviously only for citrus-oriented gin cocktails.

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Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons (Herefordshire, UK)

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Black Fox Organic Cider – Dunkertons Cider, 7% ABV, 500ml, (Pembridge, Herefordshire, UK)


on the back label:

“Dunkertons Cider Mill is set in the ancient parish of Pembridge, an area of farmland, woods and hedgerows, where medieval half timbered villages meet the stone market towns of Wales.

From earlier times, rural communities have told stories of fantastic and unusual creatures which have supposedly lived in their locality. The lush rolling countryside of North West Herefordshire is no exception. Here stories tell of an animal which has evaded capture by farm and huntsman alike: a Black Fox. The red fox has always existed, but the belief grew that there was a fox ‘as black as night, so that it might live in a man’s shadow and so never be seen’.

A favoured haunt of the BLACK FOX is ……………the Cider Orchard.”

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  • Style: (Organic) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Big woody med acidity sweet apple juice vanilla mild white grape medium tart
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $13 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., February 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yep, dig the woody

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours almost golden orange, no head, small clusters of slow steady micro streams.

Nose: heavy wet woody yeasty apple wine, vanilla. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, incoming tangy

Mid-palate: tangy medium acidity, (lvl-6-sweetness), woody apple juice,

Finish: medium tart, woody exhale, vanilla, white grape

Summary: Big wood vanilla, solid taste and body, all around clean.

Against the Grain (Gluten-free) – Wold Top Brewery (UK)

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Against the Grain (< 20ppm Gluten) – Wold Top Brewery, 4.5% ABV, 500ml, (Driffield, UK)

-My 2nd Wold Top beer, the 1st being their Marmalade Porter (B-) which I enjoyed.


on the front-right label:

“Naturally wheat free real ale. The Wold Top Brewery at our Mellor family farm is situated high on Yorkshire Wolds where gently sloping hills give way to the sea. High quality Real Ales are traditionally brewed using home and wold grown barley, and our own source of pure chalk filtered water to produce an award winning range of beers.

Ingredients: water, lager malt, maize, hops and yeast. Gluten content certified less at less than 20ppm”

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  • Style: (lager malt, maize) Specialty Grain
  • Taste: Flat thin-body tangy sour sweet lager corny malt lingering bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $7 CAD (after 10% off) – 500ml, September 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no even if you have celiac disease

Visual: (cellared for 3 years). Pours clear apple juice yellow with a quickly dissipating small head, large bubbles clinging to the side of the glass, varied speed singular streams.

Nose: yeasty, sweet liquid lager malt (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: citrusy tangy sourness, lacking CO2 mouthfeel, (lvl-6-sweetness), thin body-no depth, bitter hops, hints of corn, hints of puke

Finish: lingering bitter hops

Summary: This one loses carbonation fast and drinks quite thin compared to beers without a corn adjunct. At least the hops are there but nothing much else. Skip it.

Hollows & Fentimans Alcoholic Ginger Brew – Thomas Hardy Brewing (UK)

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  • My Rating: [B]

Hollows & Fentimans Alcoholic Ginger Brew – Thomas Hardy Brewing, 4% ABV, 500ml, (UK)

-Is it categorically a beer? Let’s call it that since historically it was named so since the 20th century.

Ingredients: fermented ginger root extract, carbonated water, sugar, pear juice, sweet orange extract, citric acid, yeast.

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  • Style: (ginger, pear juice, orange extract) Ginger Beer
  • Taste: Sweet cane sugar pear juice pressed ginger mild burn
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.35 CAD – 500ml., sometime in 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to at parties: for ginger ale/beer/soda lovers

Visual: Pours cloudy pale yellow-orange with a decent-sized dissipating foamy head, thin ringed retention, lots of steady small streams.

Nose: pungent pressed ginger. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp-fizzy

Mid-palate: pear juice, cane sugar, (lvl-7)-sweetness, medium ginger bite

Finish: a tad cloying, mild ginger throat burn, ginger rootiness, residual sweet finish.

Summary: Very crisp and refreshing with authentic ginger taste and burn. Decent body and depth. I didn’t know ginger and pear went so well together, I’ll have to try it a homemade ginger ale sometime (non-fermented).

Wyld Wood Organic Classic Cider – Westons (UK) (re-tasting)

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  • My Rating: [B-, unchanged],  I gave it a (3.1 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Wyld Wood Premium Organic Classic Cider – Westons, 6.5% ABV, 500ml, (Herefordshire, UK)


  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Low CO2 tart-tangy big woody oak vanilla apple white grape
  • Where I got it : ??
  • How much: $4 – 500ml., ??
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yah pretty good

Initial September 2013 tasting (Rating = B-):

Visual: Simple and effect clean-looking label, I like it. Pours deep golden yellow with zero head and zero activity, rather unappealing.

Nose: vanilla-woody and tangy apples (7/10-aromatic strength)

Attack: sharp crispness

Mid-palate: rich tangy, 7/10-sweetness (MAIN) vanilla, woodiness, red apples, (HINT) barnyard, green apple

Finish: medium tartness, fruity sweet, mild saliva thickness, crisp apple finish.

Summary: Major vanilla woodness balanced with clean tart, sweet and tangy apple flavour. Very nice although I wish it was more carbonated.


February 13, 2016 tasting notes:

Visual: Pours deep yellow orange with no head, several large bubbles clinging to the glass, some bubbles reaching the surface.

Nose: woody oak, vanilla, mild funk, tangy acidic apple wine.  (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-low micro tingly, tangy light bitter

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, tangy-acidic, (MAIN flavours): red & green apple, white grape juice, apple cider vinegar, wet oak

Finish: off-dry, vanilla & clean oaked woody exhale, gum-sticky tartness.

Summary: Big oak and fruity clean flavours with a strong vanilla presence. This time around I can appreciate more the enticing wood flavour that keeps you sipping. I actually don’t mind the low CO2.

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout – Well’s & Young’s Brewing Co. (Bedford, UK) (re-tasting)

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  • My Rating: [C, unchanged],  I gave it a (2.8 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout – Well’s & Young’s Brewing Co., 5.2% ABV, 500ml, (Bedford, UK)


  • Style: (chocolate, flavoured) Stout
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50 – 500ml., Sometime in 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados:

Initial April 2014 tasting (Rating = C):

Tasting notes: pours ultra dark brown with barely any head, not much retention, micro CO2, invisible slow-moving CO2 streams near the surface. Fragrant nutty chocolate & medium malts on the nose – inviting. Drinks with a definite medium-rich chocolate flavour but with a fizzy and pilsner-esque background – Rich & thin don’t quite work together. Also somewhat metallic, creamy mouthfeel, 4/10-level sweetness, lingering roasted malts, coffee, off-dry bitter finish. Medium complexity, medium depth, not so good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. The flavour profile is good but I dislike the lack of thickness in the body. A much better chocolate stout is done by Sankt Gallen (Rating: A-)


February 12, 2016 tasting notes:

Visual: Pours very dark brown with minimal dissipating head, thin ringed retention, singular micro streams around the perimeter.

Nose: dark chocolate malts, a touch of brandy.  (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: thin mouthfeel, light crisp

Mid-palate: tingly mouthfeel, (lvl-3)-sweetness, (MAIN flavours) chocolate, deep roasted barley malt

Finish: background sour, soft subtle bitterness, roasted coffee exhale, chocolate saliva finish.

Summary: Pretty good chocolate and roasted malt flavours with a bit of coffee. The thin mouthfeel is a letdown and noticeable sourness in the finish hinders the drinkability.

Cracked Apple Cider with Tequila & Lime (UK)

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  • My Rating: [D+]

Cracked Apple Cider with Tequila & Lime, 5.5% ABV, 500ml, (Gloucester, UK)

printed on the front-left of the can:

“Cracked Apple is a cider with real character and barrels of personality. With our drinks, as in life, we like to keep things zingy and that’s exactly what we’ve done by adding a splash of smooth tequila and a squeeze of lime to our tangy apple cider. Enjoy super-chilled.

Ingredients: Carbonated Water, Fermented Apple Juice, Sugar, Ethanol, Citric Acid, Flavours, Tequila, Lime Juice Concentrate, (Preservatives) Potassium Sorbate, Sulphur Dioxide.”

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  • Style: (tequila, lime flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste: Sour puckery lime red/green apple light tequila
  • Where I got it : ???
  • How much: $3 – 500ml., ???
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: Pours light apple juice yellow a small fizzy quickly dissipating head, virtually no retention and only a few sporadic bubbles.

Nose: bright lime, green apple, background agave. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming sour sugars

Mid-palate: soda-like fizzy, HUGE sour-tangy, (lvl-8)-sweetness, tart (MAIN) tequila, lime, red & green apple -> cloying sugars

Finish: plasticky, puckery-sticky gums, palate roughness, candy-eqse fruity exhale.

Summary: Initial sips are decent, but it becomes too puckery too basic too fast. It might be okay with a meal but very aggressively sour and candy-like without any real boldness of flavour.