Disclosure: bottle of The Lakes Gin gifted by the distiller for review. Opinions entirely that of the author.
The Lakes Gin
Originally launched in 2014, The Lakes Gin has become a well-established player in the category. Now over five years old, the distillery has given its flagship gin some love, amending the recipe and giving the brand a major facelift. The result is hugely positive. Read my review to find out!
A sense of place
The Lakes Distillery is located in one of the most picturesque areas of the United Kingdom, a place of rugged mountains and tranquil waters. Indeed it would need to be some location to make a Scot want to look outside his home country to establish a distillery. And for anyone who’s been to the Lake District, it’s quite that.
The distillery was founded by Paul Currie, one part of the father and son team behind Isle of Arran Distillers. After much searching and planning, it opened in 2014 following the renovation of a Victorian model farm near Bassenthwaite. It was here that Currie believed to be the perfect site for his new distillery – an idyllic location; a sense of place.
With £9m of investment, the stunning site was transformed. Tourism was always firmly in Currie’s thoughts given the area’s popularity with visitors. I’d highly recommend a visit – as well as tours, there’s also a visitor centre, bistro and the pièce de résistance, the alpacas! The buildings themselves are also beautiful and highlights just why the location was chosen.
The Lakes Distillery is now one of the top-visited in the UK with over 100,000 visitors a year. With that footprint it’s no surprise then, to see how successful a brand it has become.
The distillery’s big focus is whisky but they also make vodka and of course, gin. And five years after launching, the latter underwent a major rebrand with a new bottle design as well as a reformulation of their flagship gin.
The Lakes Gin uses 9 botanicals in their reformulated recipe. These are juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, cassia bark, liquorice, bitter orange, sweet orange and lemon peel.
This is quite a deviation on the original recipe which contained botanicals such as bilberry, heather, hawthorn and mint, many of them foraged from the local area. From a brand perspective, I’d perhaps have liked to have seen The Lakes keep some of these foraged ingredients in the new recipe and retain that connection of provenance.
The Lakes Gin is created by Dhavall Gandhi, who is also the master blender for their whisky. The nine botanicals are macerated (steeped) in warm wheat spirit overnight, allowing the essential oils to be delicately released. The next day distillation takes place at a slow pace using a traditional copper pot still called Chemmy.
The distilled spirit is then cut back to 46% ABV with water from The Lake District National Park, which is a little stronger than the 43.7% of the original.
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juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, cassia bark, liquorice, bitter orange, sweet orange and lemon peel
How to serve The Lakes Gin
- Add plenty of ice to a glass
- Add 50ml of The Lakes Gin
- Pour 150ml of Fever-Tree Mediterranian Refreshingly Light tonic water
- Garnish with a wedge of grapefruit
- Stir gently and serve
The new The Lakes Gin sings much more in the glass when sat side-by-side with the original, which in comparison is little subdued.
So what does the new The Lakes Gin taste like? And is the reformulation an improvement on the original. I was always a fan of the latter so it was intriguing to blind taste them both neat and with tonic to find out!
On the nose there’s citrus on a canvas of juniper. Sweet and vibrant aromas, reminiscent of a very classic gin. It sings much more in the glass when sat side-by-side with the original, which in comparison is little subdued.
To sip neat those same notes come to the fore, with a subtle spice on the finish. Interestingly, despite it being stronger than its predecessor at 46%, there’s little alcohol burn on the finish.
As a G&T I adore The Lakes Gin. The profile doesn’t change much when tonic is added – a bit more sweetness and citrus, with the peppery notes dialed down a notch. Compared side-by-side to the original, it’s less bitter, more delicate almost, and definitely sweeter with the orange peel coming through.
It’s also got a creamier texture in the mouth – a clean freshness and it does a better job of transporting me to the Lake District than its predecessor – taking me back to childhood holidays overlooking the crystal waters of the area.
Having tried a few garnish options I settled on the distillery’s recommended grapefruit wedge. For tonic, I found it worked best with Fever-Tree Mediterranean light.
I was always a fan of the original The Lakes Gin, but the new formulation really elevates the brand. The liquid really is befitting if its amazing new vessel.
In mid-2019, The Lakes Distillery underwent a rebrand and it’s fair to say it’s taken them to another level.
The logo has adopted the quatrefoil, an ancient Celtic symbol that’s rooted in the heritage of the area. 26 depictions of the symbol were unearthed in the original masonry of the distillery during renovation and it’s used as a reminder of their core beliefs: faith, hope, luck, and love.
Elegance in design
As well as a rebrand for the distillery, the packaging for their gin also had a remake – and the results are breathtaking! The new bottle really takes The Lakes Gin to another level. It’s sophisticated and elegant with the quatrefoil logo embossed in chains across the light blue glass.
We’ve seen in recent years the impact packaging can have on brand awareness, and indeed sales. Such is the beauty of their new bottle, it could have that same impact on The Lakes Gin.
- BRANDING 93% 93%
- ORIGINALITY 79% 79%
- TASTE 82% 82%
After five years, it’s great to see the evolution of The Lakes Distillery – and one which does so in a positive light. Dhavall Gandhi has created a classic but flavoursome gin which, along with the amazing new packaging elevates The Lakes Gin to another level entirely.
With a booming visitor centre, and gin tourism on the up in the UK in general, they’ve got a solid base to bring their gin to new drinkers. Many will want to make a purchase for the bottle alone. The fact the liquid stacks up is sure to see The Lakes Gin continue to win the hearts of gin fans.
Where is The Lakes Gin made?
The Lakes Gin is distilled in The Lake District National Park, Cumbria.
What is the best way to serve The Lakes Gin?
The Lakes Gin is best served with ice, Fever-Tree Mediterranian tonic water and a wedge of grapefruit.
How much does The Lakes Gin Cost?
The Lakes Gin costs around about £33, RRP.
What are the botanicals The Lakes Gin?
The Lakes Gin uses 9 botanicals. These are juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, cassia bark, liquorice, bitter orange, sweet orange and lemon peel.