Williams Chase Gin

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin vs. Williams Chase Elegant Gin

Recently I had a conversation with a customer about the various merits of the two gins from Chase Distillery and, I have to admit, it was a very long time since I had tried either of them. When I mentioned this to Fred Barton at Chase, he very kindly sent me some samples of both gins (and some of their other products) so I could refresh my taste buds! My tasting notes are towards the bottom of this post.

Williams Chase Gin

What are the main differences between Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin and Williams Chase Elegant Gin?
I have broken this down into three key areas, the botanicals, the base spirit and the alcohol by volume. I am sure there are other key differences but, to me, these seem like the main three. However like most things it is all about the balance of these three key areas as well as other more technical factors (temperature of distillation, for example).

The Botanicals

The botanicals are the most obvious thing for most people. Gin is basically a vodka (or neutral spirit of some sort) which is flavoured with a selection of botanicals (fruits, barks, seeds, spices, plants, roots etc.). These give different gins their unique aromas and flavours.

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin Williams Chase Elegant Gin
Juniper (buds and berries) Coriander
Cinnamon Angelica
Nutmeg Liquorice
Almond Orrice
Coriander Orange
Cardamom Lemon
Cloves Fuggles Hops
Liquorice Elderflower
Lemon Bramley Apple
  + 37 secret wild foraged botanicals from Chase’s River Meadow

If you compare the two sets of botanicals, although the two gins share some key botanicals, I think most would agree that the GB Extra Dry Gin botanicals err to the more spicy side of things whilst the Elegant Gin botanicals tend more towards the floral and aromatic end (hops, elderflower, apple etc.). Naturally, the expression of these two different sets of botanicals give the two gins their two different distinctive styles.

The Base Spirit

The base spirit for gin is quite important, it can produce different styles of gin. Most gin producers use a neutral grain spirit as the base to which the botanical flavourings are added. However, other base spirits that can be used. For example, Chilgrove Gin and G’Vine both use a neutral grape spirit base which is said to produce a lighter style of gin.

The two Williams Chase Gins use two different spirit bases. Most distilleries will buy in a base spirit but at Chase they actually distill the two different spirits from scratch.

Williams GB – made from a potato-based spirit base, which is essentially Chase Original Vodka. The potato base is smooth with a creamy texture and mouthfeel and a soft and round style.

Williams Elegant – made from an apple-based spirit base, which is basically Chase Naked Vodka. The apple base spirit is distilled 5 times for a pure, fine spirit. It is lighter and crisper in style with a citric character.

The Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

The alcohol by volume (ABV) also plays a key part, not only in how it affects the flavours and aromas, but also texturally. Two spirit bottled at different cask strengths will taste and feel quite different in the mouth.

As will all things, the best ABV is a trade off. Too low (and gin has to be 37.5% ABV by law in the UK) and the gin might be rather watery and insipid. Too high and one will get too much fiery, warming, burn from the spirit which could be quite unenjoyable. A lower ABV spirit will feel lighter in the mouth whereas a higher ABV spirit will seem a bit heavier and a little more viscous.

Alcohol is basically a carrier for flavour (in this case the essentials oils and aromatic compounds in the botanicals). You could think of it as the higher ABV spirit being able to absorb and “hold” more flavours and aromas than a lower ABV spirit. When you dilute a gin with tonic water the gin releases some of these aromatic compounds thus helping to deliver the aromas and the flavours to the consumer. It is similar to how a few drops of water added to a good single malt whisky will help release aromas and “open up” the flavours of the whisky.

Williams Chase Elegant Gin, which is bottled at a high 48% ABV, certainly feels rounder and richer than the Williams GB Extra Dry Gin, bottled at 40%, which feels much lighter and cleaner in the mouth. The Elegant Gin has many more botanicals (and more complexity) than the GB Extra Dry Gin which fits in with the idea of a higher ABV spirit being able to “hold on” to more aromas and flavours.

Williams Chase Gin

Williams Chase GB Extra Dry Gin Tasting Notes

Williams GB Extra Dry Gin has aromas of dry juniper. There is a big hit of ginger with hints of spice (nutmeg and cinnamon) and zesty lemon citrus. There is also a sweet baked goods note (I can’t work out what!) and light vanilla aromas. It is quite full in the mouth, there are more juniper flavours followed by the spice components leading to a nice warming, peppery, ginger kick. The palate has a slightly creamy mouthfeel and finish is good, clean, crisp and very dry. A very good well-balanced gin.

Serve – gin and tonic garnished with lemon and slice of ginger.

Williams Chase Elegant Gin Tasting Notes

Williams Chase Elegant Gin has a complex fruity, nose. There are spicy notes, dominated by coriander, apple, floral, hoppy notes and a slight smoky character. On the palate there are more green fruit and fresh apple notes with orange / lemon citrus notes coming though quite strongly. There are also some vanilla and faint burnt sugar notes. On the very end of the palate there are floral, almost rose petal notes with a hint of herbaceousness. It finishes with warming spicy notes and a slight peppery burn at the back of the throat. A full-bodied, complex gin with very long, lingering finish.

Serve – in a gin and tonic or a Dry Martini, both garnished with a slice of apple.

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