You are guaranteed to be off to a great start when you step into the gorgeous Merchant’s Hall with a G&T in hand. Seated in banquet style seating, you quickly make acquaintances with those at your table and the atmosphere is light but relaxed.
The crowd seemed to enjoy themselves, an easy task when you’re on the gin, but that seemed to be the extent of the event’s fall out.
As our confident and articulate host, Adam Hunter, notes it is indeed the biggest gin tasting you’ve probably ever been to. The large room is filled with gin appreciators alike ready to learn more about the spirit – or possibly just in it for the free sample. But either way, there’s no judgement here – to each their own!
Hunter sets us off with a presentation about the Arbikie Gin company and informs us of their unique position of being able to make gin with 100% Scottish ingredients, all produced on the Arbikie farm up in Arbroath. A great thing to hear, as who doesn’t love local produce? We then move on to a series of videos about the company and their distilling process however, this was projected onto a very small screen considering the size of the room and the amount of people having to crane their necks to see what is being said. Furthermore, the videos seemed to go on for quite a while so it seemed to dampen the atmosphere in the room a little. Perhaps the different sections could have been spaced out to break up the videos and verbal presentations. Much time was spent discussing Arbikie’s vodka and whiskey products as well, which I’m sure is great but it did not seem very relevant at the event specifically targeted at gin drinkers.
The tasting provided the opportunity to taste three of Arbikie’s gin varieties, along with the complimentary gin and tonic upon arrival – one of which, the AK’S gin tasted surprisingly delicious with ginger ale because of its sweet honey flavour. I didn’t expect to like that combination but I actually think it’s something I would try again. Hunter guided us well through the different steps of the spirit tasting, explaining what sort of things we should be able to identify by smell and taste and I felt this section was well produced and presented.
However, following this tasting which was only about half way through the one hour event, the audience was informed that the presentation had concluded and we were free to stay and finish our drinks whilst some members of the company came around to answer any questions we may have. This felt like a bit of a cop out considering the fact that you’re paying for a full hour of masterclass. Overall, it seems that it wasn’t much of a masterclass, I didn’t emerge with any new information about gin or feel like I had been particularly engaged by the event. The crowd seemed to enjoy themselves, an easy task when you’re on the gin, but that seemed to be the extent of the event’s fall out.