Sweet Sixteen (£16) from Sainsbury’s –
Having never watched the late Dale Winton’s game show, Supermarket Dash, I’m not sure whether the idea was for the contestants to go for quality or quantity, but in our recent reviews of such brands as Finton’s, Oliver Cromwell and Hampstead, we’ve been concentrating mainly on the budget end of the spectrum. Blackfriars Gin, from Sainsbury’s, however, aspires to be somewhere slightly upmarket from the pack, and won acclaim from consumer specialist Which? in a blind tasting against other rivals costing less than £20.
In fact this spirit, which bears the same name as one of London’s best known bridges and a monastic order founded back in 1216, was the only one to receive a Best Buy in its category from the organisation’s expert panel, which concluded it offers a fresh yet nuanced flavour.
As with a number of gins we’ve sampled of late, Blackfriars declined to reveal its list of botanicals, though it wasn’t quite as secretive as the Danish ELG depth-charge we added to our Navy Strength hits a couple of weeks ago. The ABV is actually a medium octane, 43% and as well as being included within Sainsbury’s “Taste the Difference” range, Blackfriars is classified as a London Dry Gin.
It is small surprise then that the main five named botanicals are orange and lemon peel, along with angelica root, coriander and juniper. What I liked about this characterful concoction, however, was the way it delivered different spicy notes and aftertastes. There even seemed to be an earthiness to it at times, but nothing we could quite pin down. I sampled a small quantity neat and enjoyed it with several different tonics including the Fever Tree Seville mixer we have taken a liking to.
“At just £16, we had to add it to our supermarket dash”
Being a hack, I am certain I won’t forget the hidden depths to this fine gin, not least because of the Blackfriars crypt rediscovered after the Blitz, which remains preserved beneath St Bride’s Church in Fleet Street: often referred to as the “Journalists’ Church.” And as a profession, we do love our G&Ts.