The gin bubble is far from bursting, with consumers of the drink looking for new styles to quench their thirst as their knowledge and understanding of the spirit evolves. One such style is cask-aged gin, which has seen a rise in production in the last decade and is starting to gain a reputation as a more complex version of the drink, often found at the premium end of the market.
Of course, placing gin into wooden casks is nothing new – back in the day, the juniper spirit would have been put into barrels for its journey across the oceans, often arriving with a newly acquired golden hue and a more mellow flavour to boot. But the intentional cask-ageing of gin is a relatively new phenomenon. Once distilled, producers can choose to rest their liquid in the barrel, with the spirit over time taking on some of the flavours and tannins from the cask in question.
With less restrictions and rules surrounding cask-aged gin than those that exist in the world of Scotch or bourbon, for example, distillers can experiment with the type of wood they use, and with the length of time they leave their liquid to rest – resulting in a variety of flavours, as well as colours, emerging among the category (great for a more imaginative take on a G&T or a more complex twist on a Martini).
In the below list of the best cask-aged gins from the IWSC 2022, you’ll find notes of vanilla, cola, nuts, smoke and spice in among the juniper – not your traditional gin aromas. This can even lead to a style of drink more geared towards slow sipping or mixing into cocktails that verge on nightcap territory, as opposed to fodder for your typical G&T.
As per the below, England and Australia are two countries pioneering the style, but there’s also a cluster of French producers peppering the below list of the best cask-aged gin from the IWSC 2022 – no doubt spurred on by the strong supply of wine barrels within easy reach.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE SPIRITS?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE SPIRITS?
Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE
Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.