Garden Shed Gin Review

Euan Harris | 20 April 2019

Born in a garden in the West End of Glasgow, Garden Shed Gin is a spirit to be admired. From its concept and branding, through to its flavour profile and environmental ethos, it’s a gin I absolutely adore. Read my review to find out why.

The bottle for this Garden Shed Gin review was purchased by From the Gin Shelf

Euan Harris | 20 April 2019

Garden Shed Gin Review

Born in a garden in the West End of Glasgow, Garden Shed Gin is a spirit to be admired. From its concept and branding, through to its flavour profile and environmental ethos, it’s a gin I absolutely adore. Read my review to find out why.

Inspired by nature

Garden Shed Gin was launched in late-2017. Founded by two couples – Maxine and Ryan Grant, and Kirsten and Ruaridh Jackson – the friends came up with the concept after Ryan visited Eden Mill distillery.

A professional rugby player, Ryan was the original driving force behind the idea. He was coming towards the end of his career and decided he’d like to try and make a gin. Together with his Glasgow Warriors team-mate, Ruaridh, and their wives, The Garden Shed Gin Company was born.

As the name suggests Garden Shed Gin takes inspiration from nature. They bought a half litre still and started experimenting with botanicals they found in their garden. With Eden Mill being official partners of Glasgow Warriors, the Garden Shed Gin Company were able to turn the the St. Andrews distillery to produce their perfected recipe.

Perhaps they didn’t expect their modestly self-styled “delusions of grandeur”, to have come so far in such a short space of time, but Garden Shed Gin is really making strides. Branching out (sorry…) from their West End garden, they have an array of stockists in the local area, and their presence continues to blossom (I’ll stop now) with an increasing number of on-trade stockists. And their finest hour to date was winning silver in the prestigious World Spirits Competition in San Francisco.

Currently distilled at Eden Mill in St Andrews, The Garden Shed Gin Company are hoping to open their own distillery in Glasgow in 2020.

It’s been a lot of hard work up till now (read a typical day for Maxine and you’ll get the idea). Until a few months ago they hand-wrote and applied every label, and wrapped every inch of twine intricately around the neck of their beautiful bottle. Scale just wasn’t on their minds at the beginning and they’ve posted some jovial posts on social media of them in action for their growing following to see the dedication!

Keen to build on their growth, to coincide with their first anniversary, The Garden Shed Gin Company have also released an exciting expression, aging their gin in côte-rôtie for a limited edition product. They’re also looking to have their own distillery, bringing production in-house. Given where the idea was born, they’d originally hoped to build this in the Grants’ garden shed. However, as it’s a residential area, this wasn’t progressed but the team are aiming to have their own Glasgow distillery next year.

Signature botanicals

juniper, lavender, grains of paradise, blackberries, dandelion root

Garden Shed GIN RECOMMENDED SERVE

  1. Add plenty of ice to a wide-rimmed glass
  2. Pour 25ml of Garden Shed Gin
  3. Top up with 75ml of premium classic tonic water (e.g. Fever Tree or Schweppes 1783)
  4. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and fresh blackberries

For every crate of Garden Shed Gin sold, the company plant one tree through Trees4Scotland, and match the cost of this to donate to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Planting trees, saving bees

At its heart The Garden Shed Gin Company is passionate about the environment. Maxine developed a love of nature growing up in a farm in Zambia. Kirstin, with a degree in landscape architecture, is also passionate about caring for the environment. Ruaridh has always loved the outdoors since childhood, while Ryan has a degree in environmental science, keeping the company as environmentally-friendly as possible.

The team were therefore keen to have an environmental focus for their gin, not just because it fits in with their brand. As a result, for every case of Garden Shed Gin sold, a tree is planted through Trees4Scotland. The cost of this is then matched and donated to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. To date they’ve planted around 500 trees and bought enough seeds cover 28 rugby pitches on wild flowers.

Garden Shed Gin to taste

To say the flavour profile of Garden Shed Gin is right up my street would be an understatement. With the signature botanicals of juniper, lavender, grains of paradise, blackberries, and dandelion root, the taste isn’t too different to what you’d expect.

To get their spicy notes, The Garden Shed Gin Company turned to grains of paradise as opposed to coriander seed. They state on their website that this is their point of difference. While it’s true that a many number of gins do use coriander seed, grains of paradise isn’t unique to them, so on this instance I’d tend to slightly disagree here. I’m more inclined to say what makes The Garden Shed Gin Company unique, is the team itself, their ethos and brand story. No one else has a brand like theirs and for me, it’s this which goes a long way to making them stand out.

However, when all that’s said, I have yet to taste a gin like it! It’s absolutely delicious. I knew from the nose I was going to enjoy it but the first sip was a real ‘wow’ moment.

Nose

On the nose there’s a burst of floral juniper and sweet blackberry. This gives way subtle citrus and the spice from the grains of paradise.

Palate

A gentle sip unleashes a burst of floral earthy notes and juniper, with sweet fruity blackberry undercurrents. Delicate citrus sits in the background, almost out of reach.

Finish

Earthy dandelion root and subtle spice from the grains of paradise finish off.

With tonic

With tonic Garden Shed Gin really is perfect for a warm summer’s day, relaxing in the garden. It really transports you to where the recipe was conceived. Light, refreshing and full of fruity florals, it’s a simply stunning G&T. We’d recommend either a classic tonic such as Fever Tree or Schweppes 1873, or to bring out even more of those amazing floral notes, Fever Tree Mediterranean is a wonderful pairing.

Garnish with blackberries and a sprig of rosemary to help bring out the fruity and earthy notes. An ever so delicate squeeze of the blackberries before adding helps release even more of their flavour.

Garden Shed Gin to taste

To say the flavour profile of Garden Shed Gin is right up my street would be an understatement. With the signature botanicals of juniper, lavender, grains of paradise, blackberries, and dandelion root, the taste isn’t too different to what you’d expect.

To get their spicy notes, The Garden Shed Gin Company turned to grains of paradise as opposed to coriander seed. They state on their website that this is their point of difference. While it’s true that a many number of gins do use coriander seed, grains of paradise isn’t unique to them, so on this instance I’d tend to slightly disagree here. I’m more inclined to say what makes The Garden Shed Gin Company unique, is the team itself, their ethos and brand story. No one else has a brand like theirs and for me, it’s this which goes a long way to making them stand out.

However, when all that’s said, I have yet to taste a gin like it! It’s absolutely delicious. I knew from the nose I was going to enjoy it but the first sip was a real ‘wow’ moment.

Nose

On the nose there’s a burst of floral juniper and sweet blackberry. This gives way subtle citrus and the spice from the grains of paradise.

Palate

A gentle sip unleashes a burst of floral earthy notes and juniper, with sweet fruity blackberry undercurrents. Delicate citrus sits in the background, almost out of reach.

Finish

Earthy dandelion root and subtle spice from the grains of paradise finish off.

With tonic

With tonic Garden Shed Gin really is perfect for a warm summer’s day, relaxing in the garden. It really transports you to where the recipe was conceived. Light, refreshing and full of fruity florals, it’s a simply stunning G&T. We’d recommend either a classic tonic such as Fever Tree or Schweppes 1873, or to bring out even more of those amazing floral notes, Fever Tree Mediterranean is a wonderful pairing.

Garnish with blackberries and a sprig of rosemary to help bring out the fruity and earthy notes. An ever so delicate squeeze of the blackberries before adding helps release even more of their flavour.

Branding

A great gin relies on more than just the spirit. When we’re paying increasingly premium prices (around £40 in this case), we expect the whole package – back-story, design, taste, how it’s made, and more. You’re buying the intangible, as much as the tangible.

Much of the creative side of The Garden Shed Gin Company’s brand is credited to Maxine and Kirsten. And they’ve got it on point, tying in perfectly to the brand-story, botanicals and flavour profile. As mentioned earlier they started out doing everything by hand, which must have taken a considerable amount of time, particularly wrapping the twine intricately around the bottle.

While the bottle is strikingly and unique, their choice of garnish also goes along way to help their brand. Why? Well, in addition to complimenting the elements in the gin itself, the rosemary and blackberry combo are great for the Instagram age. We’re buying with our eyes more than ever, and while citrus garnishes are hugely prominent, The Garden Shed Gin Company’s serve is less so. And arguably more marketable on these channels as a result.

At a glance

  • Style:  London Dry
  • Distilled in: St. Andrews, Scotland (contract distilled by Eden Mill)
  • ABV: 45%
  • Where to buy: Craft56, The Good Spirits Co. Master of Malt (See all stockists)
  • Price: around £40 (varies between stockists)
  • Key botanicals: juniper, lavender, grains of paradise, blackberries, dandelion root
  • Recommended garnish: blackberries and a sprig of rosemary
  • Key flavours: floral and fruity