McQueen Chocolate Mint Gin - 50cl - 42% ABV
McQueen Gin burst onto the scene on 3rd June 2016 with something of an anarchic air. There’s so much gin, they said, let’s make something bonkers, something different… Their range of four flavoured spirits was created on the premise that gin, especially when mixed with tonic, tastes like… gin. In their opinion, the market place for ginsmiths is so crowded that it can be hard to stand out, so rather than create a regular dry gin, they made Chocolate Mint Gin, Sweet Citrus Gin, Mocha Gin and Smokey Chilli Gin.
Dale and Vicky McQueen founded their Trossach’s Distillery in Callander, Scotland in July 2015, leaving a life of corporate software sales behind for something that required a little more derring-do. Though completely new to the alcohol industry, they had such a huge interest and fascination in distilling that it was almost an obvious choice for them. Gin, too, was obvious, especially for those who are trained to think in terms of sales – as Dale told us, it’s not hard to see that it’s a strong market right now.
The Chocolate Mint Gin uses juniper, liquorice, vanilla, mint and oven roasted cocoa nibs to form the core part of its line-up. Given Liquorice root and vanilla are forcefully sweet as botanicals, we expected the spirit to follow but clearly there are some nefarious spices at work here, balancing the gin.
To nose, alcohol comes through – it’s not harsh or spirity, but it carries a vague rice wine hint. Sweetness comes through too with the vanilla and cocoa conspiring to bring an earthy, chocolate like backdrop while Juniper and mint add a surprisingly savoury finish to the nose.
To taste, an initial sweetness rushes the tongue, the liquorice dominating initially, before giving way to the cooling mint. The chocolate works again more as an undertone here, but mint and juniper tend to combine into something altogether savoury, so while it is a unique and interesting gin, it’s not quite the dessert treat we were expecting, instead leaving a woody, piney taste in the mouth. In our opinion – this is a good thing, it’s not as wacky as the tag might have you believe and all the better for it. Chocolate Mint Gin sounds like it’s either going to be someone heaven or someone’s hell (for us it was the latter as we love big juniper gin) but thankfully, this is first and foremost a gin and the use of both mint and chocolate are as botanicals, not as an overriding flavour.