Top Beverages CBD Gin is a newly launched gin that comes in a gorgeous bottle. When Co-founder of Top Beverages, Nick Pullen, got in touch with us to talk to us about the gin, it led to the most anticipated tasting session we’ve ever had.
As you’ll likely be able to tell from our review below, we’re big fans of Top Beverages CBD Gin. We’re delighted to say that whichgin.com readers can currently get a 20% discount by using code WHICHGIN on the Top Beverages website checkout, or by clicking here (which should apply the discount automatically). There’s free UK delivery too!
Small print bit: Please make sure the discount has applied before purchase, and please note that code will expire on 15 December 2019 – so be quick to give this fantastic gin a try!
Our review below is our first for a CBD gin – so let’s start by getting some of our own initial questions and answers out in the open to help clear the way:
- “CBD is from cannabis so it must be illegal, right?” No, that’s not the case (as we explain below). CBD gin is completely legal in the UK.
- “Won’t I get high if I drink a CBD gin.” Again, no. Drinking a CBD gin won’t get you high.
- “So this’ll just be one of those flavoured gimmick gins.” Definitely not. As you’ll find in our review, this is a premium, well-crafted gin.
Now we’ve got these out of the way, let’s start with a very quick botanical lesson before the review proper.
What is the CBD in CBD Gin?
For the uninitiated (which we certainly were), CBD is cannabidiol. It occurs naturally in the cannabis plant, along with another 100-odd cannabinoids that have been identified. It makes up about 40% of the plant’s extract. One of the other main active elements in cannabis is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the main psychoactive extract of cannabis. In contrast, the World Health Organisation recommended in 2017 that pure CBD shouldn’t be classed as a controlled substance. It doesn’t get you high, nor is there any evidence of possible addiction with CBD (unlike THC).
The reason you may have noticed a growth in the number of CBD-based products recently is mainly because there are many people who extoll the virtues of CBD for a range of health reasons (including pain relief, anxiety/depression, MS and epilepsy). However, we won’t seek to repeat any in detail here, as we don’t have medical backgrounds and won’t even begin to try to navigate such questions.
However, perhaps the most important point here about CBD in a gin context is that, as with the other botanicals we put in our gins, there are different standards in quality when it comes to CBD. More on that to follow.
Classic CDB Gin review
Our review is of Top Beverages Classic CBD Gin. Also available are a CBD Super Gin (part of the Signature Collection) and a CBD Bloody Mary Gin (part of the Spice Collection) – we’ll add reviews of these soon.
The classic gin itself – distilled in Scotland – has a strong line-up of botanicals of the type you might expect. There’s juniper, of course, alongside coriander seeds, orris root, elderflower and lemon and lime peel. Fresh Valencian orange is also added too in a nod to the interesting back-story that led to this gin.
The CBD element infused into the bottle is 50mg of premium, full-spectrum CBD oil. Time for another quick lesson for us! Full-spectrum CBD oil means that it contains multiple compounds out of a single hemp plant. This contrasts with a CBD isolate – a single CBD strain – which is often used for commercial purposes. CBD isolates don’t have the power and longevity of full-spectrum CBD.
So, as with the provenance and quality of the other botanicals we like in our gins, getting the right quality of CBD oil is important. For example, it’s worth noting that some of the other gins on the market that market themselves as cannabis-based use hempseed oil. Although part of the cannabis family, hempseed oil is much cheaper and isn’t CBD. Quantity is an important consideration too. Other gins may use such a small amount of CBD as not to be worth it. So, we’d argue, why bother adding it at all?
Pumped up by our newly-acquired (i.e. Googled and cross-checked) CBD knowledge, we questioned Nick further on the quality issue. He explained, “…[we use] full spectrum twice-tested THC-free CBD. We do not use hempseed oil. We disclose everything that our CBD contains on our website. We test it twice for quality and content.” At whichgin.com we don’t profess to be experts on this, but we’d recommend you exercise caution if considering a gin – or any product for that matter – claiming to contain CBD that can’t give you this same degree of detail. You can find the nutritional for this gin on its product page here.
Appearance and nose
What struck us at review stage was the slight cloudiness. The combination of the carrier oils to make the CBD absorbable, coupled with the botanical oils in the gin, creates the cloudiness. Worth noting that if you see a CBD gin that’s not cloudy, it likely doesn’t have much CBD in it.
On the nose, this is a lovely gin. There are definite citrus notes coming from those Valencian oranges and supporting cast. It’s very pleasant, and the juniper shows through nicely too. Interestingly, a common word we used was that the gin had a smooth smell. Can something smell smooth? Probably not, but the consensus was that this is a gin that doesn’t have any rough notes on the nose – no sharp alcohol or the like.
This is meant this in a positive way, but we couldn’t actually tell that the CBD was there on tasting. Perhaps a little extra of a pine note that enhances the juniper was all we thought we could detect. Having said that, as none of us had tried a CDB gin before, we had no reference point to what difference it might make.
What’s clear is that this is a very well-crafted gin. It’s balanced and delicate and, yes, smooth. It actually tastes very much how it smells, which isn’t always the case. That Spanish orange shines through, as do those core gin botanicals. It tastes clean and fresh.
What was also very interesting was that I’d forgotten to mention to my fellow tasters that Top Beverages Classic CBD Gin is a high strength gin – it’s bottled at 54.5%. Tasting it blind, not one of my fellow tasters realised. That’s the sign of a smooth gin.
How to serve Classic CBD Gin
Neat works very well (like these other gins that work well neat). Plenty of ice and an orange garnish and you have a winner. That cloudiness also gives it a little air of mystery too! It also works well with a good quality tonic. As always, use the tonic to your own taste (but we thought 1:1 gin:tonic worked really well if you were to ask us). That smoothness does mean you can be flexible here. Again, an orange garnish is recommended, but we tried the gin with fresh limes, lemons and grapefruit and they all really helped bring out that citrus.
As a stronger gin, this isn’t a gin that’s going to get lost in a cocktail. We’d love to hear about you creations in the comments below.
Overall view of Top Beverages Classic CBD Gin
Look, this is a premium priced product at almost £50 for 500ml. However, we think that the price is justified by the quality and high CBD content (and don’t forget your WHICHGIN discount!)
Although looking forward to trying it, we were quite unsure what to expect. However, we were won over. Top Beverages Classic CBD Gin is a beautifully balanced, quality gin. Over ice with a slice of orange it’s a delight. You should certainly seek it out.
Buy Top Beverages Classic CBD Gin
Launched on 18 November 2019, availability is limited to just the Top Beverages website for the time-being. Don’t forget to use your 20% WHICHGIN discount code! (available until 15 December 2019) and please don’t forget to ensure that the discount has applied to your basket.
As you can see below, this classic CBD Gin is one of a new range of CBD spirits from Top Beverages. You can see the full range on their website and, as noted above, we’ll add reviews of the gins in due course. If you want a tip though, we’ve been lucky enough to get to try the CBD rum already and it’s top stuff. Much like the gin, there are no colourings or anything artificial. The colour comes from a real indian vanilla pod (not caramel colouring, which is the usual trick to ‘barrel-age’ rums). Well worth a try!
Disclaimer: I believe in transparency on this website, so would highlight that, although not paid for this article, we were provided with free samples of the gin (and rum!) by Top Beverages. Very nice they were too. Our policy is not to feature any gins on the website that we can’t recommend. However, we are delighted to be able to recommend this gin. Hope you enjoy it too. Andy K., Founder, whichgin.com.