When McLean’s Gin first appeared on my radar I almost popped with excitement. My maiden name is MacFadyen, with my family hailing from Glasgow. Although my Mum’s side (MacDonald) have their own named tartan, us MacFadyen’s don’t, ours is…MacLean! At this point I knew McLean’s gin and I simply had to be introduced.
I contacted the guys to find out a little bit more and see if I could get my hands on some of their deliciousness. I was utterly thrilled to hear back from Colin McLean himself. He told me about the different gins which McLean’s offer and a little more about their base itself. Now this is a rather fabulous story!
They are located in Battlefield, Glasgow…nothing strange or unusual to note there. What you might find to be a little different though, and some of you may have noticed I have been picking my words carefully, I haven’t used the term distillery. Well that’s because the “ginnery” as they refer to it, operates out of 1.5m sq cupboard off the lounge in a one bedroom tenement flat. McLean’s have chosen to name their cupboard a ginnery, because it isn’t technically a distillery. Their gin is made via a process called “cold compounding,” where flavours are added to a spirit after the distillation process. The gin itself is created in six litre batches, which means that each batch only makes around eight bottles. Even more impressive, is that fact that McLean’s are currently offering five different gins; their Signature gin, as well as a Spiced, Citrus, Floral and Cherry Bakewell. What started out as a homemade Valentines gift in 2016 seems to have escalated somewhat, and although McLean’s is currently still a part time venture which runs alongside a full time job, it would seem that in recent weeks McLean’s has gone a little viral. Now I’m wondering if this part time hobby is soon to become a full time commitment.
Last Thursday I was out when the Postie attempted to deliver a parcel. Thankfully I was able to pop down to the local sorting office to collect it on Friday…IT WAS MY GIN!!! Two giniatures for my collection, wrapped in a cute little hessian bag. I was supposed to be heading out fairly promptly that evening but I had to go home and check out my parcel, I had requested a bottle of the Signature and a bottle of the Cherry Bakewell.
I’m sure you’ll agree that these bottles, even though miniature, are absolutely stunning and I love the attention to detail with the golden wax seals. Sadly my plans were rather pressing an McLean’s was going to have to wait until the weekend.
I started with the Signature, and as usual, with a little sniff. Immediately I was hit with a gorgeous aniseed scent, which was very apparent when tasting it too. Colin had previously said to me…
“Our gin is…different. Like. From any other gin you’ve tried. I can say that with confidence and you’ll most likely either love it or hate it; few fall in between.”
I personally loved it, I adore the aniseed flavour, but Colin wasn’t wrong, it was like the Marmite saga all over again with Hubby, just not to his taste. Which is something you’re not going to hear me complaining about…all the more for me!! The Signature McLean’s is best served with Mediterranean tonic and a slice of red apple, which is almost exactly what I did (kinda messed up on the red part,) and I thoroughly enjoyed this gin and it’s depth of flavour.
Next was the turn of the Cherry Bakewell, which uses six botanicals, and takes it’s sweetness naturally from tonka beans. Firstly, the gin is pink, which in my opinion puts you onto a winner before the bottle is even opened! On opening the bottle I was greeted by a gorgeously familiar marzipan scent, which was delicious to taste too. I was stunned by the sweetness and lightness of this gin, it is definitely something which I could drink neat. Colin’s serving suggestion for this was right up my street too, he suggested teaming the Bakewell with either 1724 tonic, or Barr’s Cream Soda and a Maraschino cherry to garnish. Hubby was promptly sent to the shop to buy me some cream soda. WOW…now this cocktail won’t be for everyone as cream soda is probably just about as sweet as a rainbow unicorn, with a mane of strawberry laces, sitting on a cloud of candyfloss, but I loved it! Definitely one to be sipped rather than gulped and one to be shared with gin buddies at a cocktail night!
All that is left to say is a huge thank you to Colin for sending me through such delicious goodies. I adored both of these gins and I’m very much looking forward to trying the other varieties, he wasn’t wrong when he said I wouldn’t have tasted anything like it before. McLean’s are still in the process of setting up their website, but their products can be bought following this link, and you can follow their progress on Facebook or Instagram.