Junemas Day 2 – Duncan Taylor Indian Summer Cask Strength Gin, ex-sherry Bowmore cask, cask no. G802447, 51.8% ABV

Happy Bowmore Day at Fèis Ìle 

And now for something completely different…

Firstly, the colour! This is a great mix of whisky and gin and started life as a London Dry Gin, before being matured in a whisky cask which previously held vintage (not sure which age) Duncan Taylor ex-sherry cask Bowmore whisky and the colour shows this wood influence. I’ve wanted a bottle of this for one of my gin tastings with The Spirits Embassy but there aren’t enough to go round so this is a real treat.

I love doing the virtual gin tastings (and the Duncan Taylor whisky ones), they’re an interesting mix of gins with very friendly gin and whisky drinkers. A great way to discover more both about gins and using different mixers from the comfort of home. It’s so easy just to mix a G&T but that’s not always the best combination and it also has to be the right tonic for those particular botanicals. With the Indian Summer range, the botanicals play a lesser role than the wood of the ex-whisky casks.


The colour is tobacco, it looks like an interesting whisky, to be honest – and I’m ignoring all those who tell me not to judge a whisky by its colour. I edited a food magazine, I reviewed restaurants for even longer than that and the first thing you notice when you eat or drink is appearance. This looks good to me as a whisky drinker. As a gin drinker, I’m curious.

As we do in my gin tastings, I’ll be nosing and tasting the gin neat, then pouring in the mixer – it’s one I know so no need for me to taste them separately as I always do at tastings so you can separate the nose and flavours of one from the other when drinking the final product. Looking at it, I’m debating which mixer to use, it might need more than a tonic water.

It’s worth noting that the stopper is very whisky-like with its cork and, before I’ve even lifted the glass to my nose, orange peel is singing clear. The nose is halfway between whisky and gin, there’s definitely juniper and lemon, orange peel’s there, some orris  and then the medicinal notes of the Islay whisky with antiseptic, diluted TCP (not the full-on version I love in whisky but which can be too much for others, it’s a good balance), a little cumin and cardamom, some pomegranate and cloves. It’s Christmassy and, at the end, you get a fabulously fruity Christmas cake from the sherry cask.

Definitely not one to drink neat, the gin dominates the whisky cask here with a woof of alcohol and juniper, angelica, a bit of lime and more of that orange peel. This would be incredible in a Negroni – or a gin version of an Old-fashioned.

I’m going to do something I don’t usually do with gin which is add a few drops of water. Basically, treat the Indian Summer Gin as a single cask whisky – well, it is single cask gin using a whisky cask, after all. For consistency, I always use Larkfire gin during tastings and at festivals so the water doesn’t bring extra tasting notes into play. Larkfire is beautifully pure and a couple of drops on the tongue between drams at festivals is a great way to cleanse the palate.

Water reveals marzipan galore. There’s nougat and walnut whips, orange bitters, coconut cream, Opie’s cocktail cherries, oak and then juniper gently floating at the back. Treat it like a whisky and more of the whisky cask comes through. It’s beautiful!

Adding just a few drops of water means you can drink it neat. There’s an earthiness to it, more spices come through, including ginger but, hold it in your mouth and the juniper dominates, screaming that it’s definitely gin. The finish has hay and spices with a very gentle, almost unnoticed puff of smoke. I really like it!

It’s a gin that will split the room, I’m not going to say it’s for everyone but I really like it neat with a few drops of water. The finish is lingering, more spices kicking in, more puffs of smoke. This is a whisky finish but it’s also crying out to be mixed in cocktails.

The Indian Summer Gin would work with tonic but that wouldn’t do it justice. It would be amazing with Lamb & Watt Ginger Ale (a fabulously spicy version) or with Appletiser and I’m going to mix it with the latter – after using a few drops of Larkfire to clear my palate which is still full of that wonderful finish. 

40ml of gin and about 150ml of the Appletiser is the sweet point here. I now want to try the mixer with my Slingsby Rhubarb Gin which I usually automatically mix with the Lamb & Watt Ginger Ale. It’s a surprising but really refreshing mix. I’ll be trying it with ginger ale later and mixing cocktails but this is a fantastic gin which is definitely worth trying – and I want to discover the rest of the series now!

If you love whisky, you need to drink this gin, it could be the one to lead gin-resistant whisky lovers into enjoying gin. It will also appeal to gin connoisseurs – and that sounds like a challenge so order it today on Fèis Ìle Bowmore Day and see what you think!

The Duncan Taylor Indian Summer Cask Strength Gin from the ex-sherry Bowmore cask is available from The Spirits Embassy as part of their Indian Summer range for £44.99 https://thespiritsembassy.com/products/indian-summer-bowmore-cask-strength-gin-51-8-700ml

I’d love to try a sample of the Indian Summer London Dry Gin to separate the pre- and post- whisky cask spirit, as well as seeing what other whisky casks bring to the mix.

For the rest of the range, including that beautifully dark Bunnahabhain cask gin – and bearing in mind postage is free for purchases over £75 so you’ll save money by buying more than one bottle – see https://thespiritsembassy.com/collections/indian-summer-gin

In case you were interested, the next virtual gin tasting with The Spirits Embassy has five great Scottish gins and is on 11th June. There are two versions of the tasting set:

Hope to see you there!