It’s always a pleasure to hear that producers of spirit don’t just go for the easiest way or the quickest route to making money. Karl Mason, the man behind one of Yorkshire’s most prominent distilleries in Bedale, rejected many a recipe in search for a gin that you would ‘choose to drink’.
Launched back in 2013 on World Gin Day (June), a recipe was deemed suitable and he utilised the services of the English Spirit Company to help his idea become reality. Fast track two years later, and Karl has reached the heights of being able to have his own distillery, and more importantly, his own copper pot still named Steve. The move has changed the recipe slightly from the early days of Masons Yorkshire gin, but with more positivity as shown with the awarding of a silver medal at the New York World, Wine and Spirits competition in 2014, as well as another silver at the San Francisco World Spirits competition this year.
Using originally just one small copper alembic still, but as of August 2015 a second still to help with the demand, both hold just 200 litres. Karl and his Head Distiller Gerrard Macluskey (an ex Tanqueray gin distiller) find the ‘right balance of juniper, citrus elements and secret botanicals’, and utilise Harrogate spring water to reduce down to its bottling strength before being bottled and labelled by hand. Each bottle also comes adorned with a hand-written batch and bottle number on the neck.
Question is, how does the range fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin – 42% – Original bottle from 2013
Plenty of fennel on the nose with a slight hint of coriander making its presence known. Fennel and pine take centre stage on the palate, producing a smooth base. A little citrus follows, with some sweet liquorice found near the end. Long, and a little dry.
Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin – 42%
Light fennel upon the nose with fresh, damp grass notes mixed with soft juniper, lime and orange rind, leading to a subtle aniseed finish. On the palate, a ripe aniseed start, becoming sweet with fresh, bold citrus flavours including deep orange rind. Plenty of fennel, green apple and dandelion blend well, leading to a warm, long, mouth-watering finish.
Masons Yorkshire Vodka – 42%
Fresh, soft with a creamy scent upon the nose. Very smooth once onto the palate, with a soft texture and bold, creamy flavour profile. Fresh grain notes come through, with a tingle on the tongue after several sips. A sharp, slightly bold, long finish.
Masons Dry Yorkshire Tea Gin – 42%
Dry notes of Yorkshire tea are present on the nose, with fresh, light hits as the aromas swirl around. Rather light upon the palate, with a slight citrus sharpness hitting the senses. Plenty of dry Yorkshire tea notes blast through, with fresh aniseed making an appearance upon the long finish.
Masons Lavender Edition Gin – 42%
Dry lavender notes upon the nose, creating a rather soft and subtle experience, followed by a slight fennel aroma. Soft texture once onto the palate, with a fresh candied lavender sweet flavour dominating. Rather subtle across the senses, with anise creeping in on the dry finish.
Four great expressions, with the limited editions of the Yorkshire Tea and Lavender a surprise hit. Karl recommend a good gin and tonic to go with his creations, but he also suggests the following –
“Masons Moors Martini
Make a standard dry Martini with Vermouth but then also add a few drops of lavender syrup and garnish with lavender. Of course, the lavender has to be from Yorkshire!”
“Gin Yorkshire Rose
Take 1 measure each of Masons Yorkshire Gin and Cointreau, add a wedge of fresh orange and a little sugar syrup. Garnish with a white rose petal.”
Always good to have one in your collection for something to show your friends that not all gins are the same, and the vodka makes a great addition to the British vodka market. Look out for some other creations that are in the pipeline too. When I popped over a month or so ago, there’s some more interesting ideas coming to fruition!
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