The Gin Palace

Old skipping rhyme, dating from the 40s/50s I believe …

RoomP1020424 to Let, enquire within,

Woman put out for drinking gin.

Now drinking gin is a very bad sin,

So Helen goes out and xxx goes in!


A few weeks back, I won a half bottle of gin in a raffle. It was one of those raffles where you choose from what’s on the table. Mine was the second last ticket to be pulled and it was either the gin or the crocheted toilet roll holder. You will guess that this wasn’t one of the posh new gins that Scotland has begun to produce so plentifully in recent years! In fact it was a supermarket own-brand, in the sort of bottle that made you look closely in case it was actually bubble bath instead.

As it turned out, the Troubadour had a full bottle of Gordon’s in his cupboard, and my friend the Rev had been gifted a bottle of Edinburgh Gin. We decided to have a gin tasting, and for hell of it, a blind one. The Troubadour offered to compere the evening as he doesn’t even like gin, so he poured out the measures over ice and added identical doses of tonic, and Rev and I waxed lyrical. It was a very successful evening. One, we agreed, was much, much nicer than the others and one, we denounced sniffily (or maybe squiffily) as ‘very cheap tasting’. Despite all the fancy gins you can get nowadays I’ve always liked Gordons  so we had a bit of debate and eventually agreed on our guesses for all three. The Troubadour had retreated to the kitchen by this time so that we couldn’t see him laughing at us … Yes, reader, we got them ALL wrong!

The one we thought tasted ‘very cheap’ was Gordons; the one we’d agreed was by far the nicest turned out to be the supermarket own brand in the bubble-bath bottle; and the other one – middling, so-so, very pleasant thank you but nothing special, was the Edinburgh Gin. I’m not offering you these findings as any kind of recommendation – your tastes will be different from ours no doubt. Just as a reminder of how very flawed our judgements can be! And not only regarding gin … but that’s a whole other story! Cheers, everyone! And don’t judge the bottle by its label …