Product Review -The Ribble Valley Gin Co.

10/10/2022 | 0 comments

Here, at Fabulous Farm Shops Headquarters, we regularly receive products to taste, try out and review and it’s always a pleasure…but when four beautiful (and I mean really beautiful) bottles of gin arrived on our doorstep, the excitement was palpable.
Ribble Valley Gin is a small batch gin distillery based in Lancashire in, you’ve guessed it, Ribble Valley. I am sorry to say I have never been there, but the pictures of the valley took my breath away. Somehow, they have managed to capture the essence of their home and incorporate it into the labels that adorn their bottles and again on the gift boxes which can be purchased when gifting these gins.
​First impressions were excellent, and we were looking forward to easing out the cork stoppers and pouring the fragranced liquid into our gin balloons.
​Our tasting department had done its homework. We knew we should keep the gin at room temperature before tasting so as not to distort the flavour. We knew that it’s important to choose the right glass so that the scents could easily reach the nose. We knew that we should be patient and before guzzling, swirl the gin around the glass and inhale the aromas.  We knew that we should try it neat before adding any tonics or other mixers. We knew that it was going to be a good night!
​Helpful too were some tasting notes that I had filed under G for “Gin”, showing the possible range of adjectives describing the profile of each batch. A wonderful graph was waiting to be populated showing how savoury, earthy, spicy, bitter or crisp our first taste would be… and could we detect any citrus, juniper, fruits or herbs. Just let me at it!!
​The first bottle we were drawn to was the Country Market Gin described by Ribble Valley as:
our vegetable gin, which pays homage to the simple vegetable patch & the traditional country market for a contemporary take on a classic gin”. 
We all agreed that we had never tried a “vegetable gin” before but something about the label with its beautifully painted hare, green wellies and allotment-styled basket of freshly picked vegetables had enticed us in…. and our glasses were ready.
​We all agreed there was a definite savoury aroma and a warmth to the flavour that was slightly unexpected but quite comforting. I could definitely detect tomatoes and felt an earthy undertone to the aftertaste.
​Words like “herby” and “woodland” and “brambles” were also whispered, as well as the less than helpful “gin-ny”!  The botanicals used in the making of this small batch gin include beetroot, peppers, basil and wild thyme so we weren’t too far off the mark.
​Warmed and raring to go, we moved on to The Winter’s Night Gin.
​Perhaps I was influenced by the pouring rain outside the window and the howling wind, or the beautiful indigo-blue of the label and the silvery writing, but this one was my favourite.
​The painting of the little cottage under a frosty roof and the wintry juniper berries watched over by the Christmassy robin red breast made me feel all festive and cosy. I can imagine sitting by the fire with my slippered feet up, being offered a glass of Winter’s Night Gin and tonic.
​A definite peppery first impression with a subtle aftertaste of Christmas (think cinnamon and cardamon).
​Suggestions are to serve with a garnish of orange or accompany it with some heated apple juice and cloves for a Ribble Valley take on a mulled gin. I will certainly be trying this with the small amount that is left in the bottle after our tasting session.
​This would also make a perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything, and Ribble Valley have thought of that. Available on their website are some stunning gift hampers with a selection of smaller (25cl) bottles or the 70cl bottles in their beautiful cardboard boxes. I’d be happy with either poking out of my stocking this Christmas.
​I had to be dragged out of my reverie of chestnuts roasting by an open fire to try the next two gins. It didn’t quite seem fitting to try the Garden Party Gin on such a foul night, but I managed to get myself in the mood somehow. The label helped, with its delicate pastel tones and evocative impressions of a cottage garden, complete with bumble bee and bunting and copper writing flanked by butterflies. I could almost imagine myself barefoot and sinking my toes into the grass at a summer party.
​We agreed that the smell of this gin is really very pleasing. Some caught raspberries drifting up from the bottle, others strawberries, one even mentioned elderflower. Everyone offered “fruity” and “floral” and some shouted “summery” (it was getting a bit loud by this point!)
​The official consensus from the Great Taste Awards feedback of 2021 was:
“This smells like a dry gin with citrus, juniper and lots of botanicals. It is sherbetty yet with a touch of sweetness and the spice complements it beautifully. It is a good well rounded gin made with care, love and affection.”
​And none of us would argue with that. It certainly makes us hanker after the long and heady days of the not-too-distant summer and dream of late sultry evenings without the need for jumpers and socks.
​There was a freshness about this gin that made us sit up and take notice. I had done my homework and realised that it is probably down to the water used in the distillation process. Apparently, it is locally sourced organic spring water from a private estate, as rich in minerals as it is in history when it was discovered by a King over 500 years ago.
​It’s often said I’m a bit of a princess!
​Our final taste was of the original Ribble Valley gin known as Little Lane Gin. Again the label needs a mention as it depicts a gentle, English country scene of hedgerows and meadows painted in a calming hue of greens and purples.
​The scent of the gin itself conjures up heathers and brambles. We detected blackberries and pine leaves. One was certain she could smell lavender and one was jubilant in her discovery of nettles.
​On reading the description, she realised she was right! Nettles were apparently introduced by the Romans, who used this painful plant to rub on their skin to stay warm in Northern Britain. We would certainly rather warm up by drinking this bottled version. It is mellow and soothing and green in flavour.
​The suggestion to float a few blackberries and a wheel of lime in the glass is spot on.
So that’s it… our tasting complete, and a happy group of tasters called it a night and went their separate ways, pleased to have discovered this small batch gin company nestled in the Ribble Valley. 
​Thanks to the lovely Justine and Luke, who converted their stone outhouse (built in 1888 and originally used as a piggery) to a distillery, and launched their first gin in 2019. Four award winning gins later, they have been welcomed into the world of craft gins and have certainly found a spot in the Fabulous Farm Shops HQ drinks cabinet.
To buy direct then click here.

Or if you would like to become a stockist of one or all of The Ribble Valley Gin Company’s products then please contact them by email or call a member of their team on the links below.
01772 597791


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