McQueen Smokey Chilli 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 named botanicals in this one are juniper, chipotle chilli, smoked chilli and chilli, but spice rejectors need not cower in fear; piquancy doesn’t distil, so chilli instead brings a rich, ripe fruitiness and a touch of smoke.
To nose, a vague smoke smell does indeed rise out of the glass, entirely reminiscent of black cardamom. The chipotle is in full effect adding it’s depth of character. That medicinal juniper is there too, accompanied by a fresh and lively fruity pepper smell.
To taste, a rich sweetness envelopes the tongue and grabs hold, transforming in the mouth into something warm and fiery. There is a thick, full mouthfeel and a juniper undertone, but this is all about the chili -without the tongue tingling scoville induced heat of course. This is a drink yearning to be mixed with tomato juice and some cracked black pepper and served up in a Red Snapper, although Dale’s suggestion of a G&T with some fresh chilli slivers also appeals.