Our Taplin & Mageean Gin review explores their four premium gins. Each is unique, but all are distilled in a 200 year old railway station in beautiful Wensleydale. Each of the four gins: Signature Edition; Elderflower Orchard; Spiced Orange; and Peach and Basil is bottled at 42% using a single-shot distillation.
Disclosure: We were very kindly gifted the four gins in this review by Taplin & Mageean. We always disclose this in our reviews when this is the case. We have a policy of only featuring gins on this site that we can honestly recommend; we’re delighted to be able to so for each of the Taplin & Mageean gins as you can read below! We earn a small commission if you click on the adverts on this site (and happen to purchase something), but we have not received any payment for this review. Cheers! Andy
Taplin & Mageean
So, who are Taplin & Mageean? Taplin is Chris Taplin, a local hotelier, passionate about the Yorkshire Dales and keen to make use of its resources. Mageean is Barry Mageean, a young, yet experienced, distiller who shared the same vision to create small batch, premium gins. The Taplin & Mageean distillery itself is based in Leyburn train station. You may even recall the headlines about their distillery from a couple of years back, when they used a legal loophole to promote the gin on a moving train before they had their licence to sell it.
There are three copper stills in use at the distillery. Wendy and Jenny for the main runs, and Ruby – an alembic copper pot – for recipe trials. The team are keen on quality. There’s real consideration given to the distillation process, for example. The various botanicals are each soaked for different lengths throughout the distillation to ensure the right elements are extracted from each.
As mentioned in the introduction, this is a single-shot distillation too. There’s a very limited part of each distillation that gets used, and no extra spirit is used to achieve that 42% bottling strength, just local Yorkshire Dales water.
So that’s the background, what about the gins? We tried each in turn…
Taplin & Mageean Gin reviews
Taplin & Mageean Signature Edition
The blue-labeled bottle in the line-up above, this is a gin that promises much. It’s a multiple-award winner already, including a silver medal at the San Francisco Spirit Awards in 2019. That’s not a bad start!
When opening the bottle, your nose is immediately hit by the juniper. That’s probably no surprise. Each of Taplin & Mageean gins is unashamedly forthright in its juniper; these are all gins that celebrate it, rather than hide it. The other aromatic hint for what you’ll soon be tasting is citrus. That’s definitely more subtle though, and that lovely juniper dominates.
To taste. What was unanimous from all of us reviewing it was balance; this is an incredibly well-crafted gin, and it’s no wonder that it has already garnered awards. Juniper is absolutely there, but that citrus bursts through too. That’s not surprising either, given that some punchy grapefruit features in the botanical list (both dried zest, and fresh). We also though there was something of a subtle bitter note too. We couldn’t put our fingers on what it might be but, irrespective, it remained in beautiful harmony in the overall flavour.
To serve, the suggestion is a premium tonic, ice and a grapefruit rind/zest garnish. That was what we each of us reviewing tried first, and it worked very well. The garnish picked our those grapefruit ingredients; this is definitely one for the next update of our list of gins that work well with grapefruit. We felt this gin is one that will work well with most garnishes though, so well worth experimenting.
Taplin & Mageean Spiced Orange
For us, this expression was like Christmas in a quality gin! But that’s a compliment, not a slur. Open the bottle, and the nose is just bursting with those yuletide aromas we all love – cinnamon and spice – alongside that juniper. We all agreed that you could imagine enjoying sipping this on a cold, winter night. Our tasting took place (virtually on Zoom) on a warm summer night, but the gin went down very nonetheless!
To taste, we found that the gin had a lovely, silky quality to it. That was a really pleasant surprise; often more ‘spiced’ gins can be a bit harsher. This certainly wasn’t, and we really enjoyed this Spiced Orange expression neat, over ice. The flavour profile we found here really did match the aroma, and the fullness of those warm botanicals were as well-balanced as those in the Signature Edition.
The suggested serve here is tonic, a splash of ginger ale, ice and fresh orange zest. Our view was mixed on the addition of the ginger ale [despite loving a good gin and ginger ale, I was in the “not needed” camp on that – but it’s all down to personal taste! Andy] We all agree though, that this a wonderful, warm and smooth gin.
Taplin & Mageean Peach and Basil
This is the one we were most intrigued by pre-tasting. There was nervousness that peach might suggest two types of spirit we’ve had in the past: a raw schnapps-like experience, or an overly-sweet concoction that overpowers the juniper and kills it as a gin.
We needn’t have worried. The distiller – and huge credit is due here – has created something complex, yet perfectly-balanced, in this Peach and Basil gin. Opening the bottle brought initial confusion on the aroma. Juniper is there, tick. But what else? We struggled to define it, and I knew immediately that I’d struggle to describe it. The best we could collectively come up with was that it was a mix of “cut grass”, “sweetness” and “herbal” aromas in with the juniper.
To taste then. Admittedly, by this point we’d taken a look at what some of the botanicals were to help us out! Basil and peach were definitely there as the headliners, as is the juniper. But the overall taste remained complex, and very enjoyable. Looking down a botanical mix that includes vanilla, liquorice root, cocoa and pink peppercorn, and you can see why we were struggling to describe it though. You really have to try it yourself!
The serving suggestion is tonic, ice, lime zest and basil leaf. We couldn’t argue that having tried it – this is a gin that’s really well-balanced (a consistent theme with Taplin & Mageean gins) and it doesn’t need any further flourish. This gin really is peach perfect. Sorry that’s corny, but it’s true. This is a gin that could have gone very wrong, but works superbly well.
Taplin & Mageean Elderflower Orchard
Last but not least in our four gin line-up is the fresh-sounding Elderflower Orchard gin. On opening the bottle, this is immediately the sense you get too. Juniper leading strongly, but subtle floral notes are also easily detectable.
To taste, the gin opens up into a clean and fresh drink. We all agreed that this was a really smooth and subtle gin, with no aggressive flavours or dominating botanicals. It was interesting to note that there are locally grown apples in the botanical list, along with chamomile and elderflower. All are quite subtle in their own right, and we thought they worked really well together here.
The suggested serve is with a Mediterranean tonic, ice and slice of green apple. We tried that, and it was very refreshing. We also tried it with an elderflower tonic; that worked too, but we’d suggest one at the subtler end of the spectrum to avoid overpowering it (we used Fever-tree, per the advert below). If you like a fresh and floral gin, Elderflower Orchard is a real winner in our view.
Buy Taplin & Mageean Gin
Overall, we were universally impressed by the full Taplin & Mageean Gin range; all of them taste like quality gins that have been really well thought through. We think there’s a very good chance that they’ll continue to add to their awards. Our favourite from the range? If pushed, it would be the Signature Edition – it’s a cracking, confident gin that epitomises Taplin & Mageean’s focus on quality and craft in distillation.
The good news is that Taplin & Mageean ship wordwide, and you can buy direct from their website here. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed whichever one you try.