This was going to be my top ten gins that are made in New Zealand. Well there are not many more than 10 New Zealand made gins, so I am going to list them all, with tasting notes. I have tried to taste each of these gins several times, with other gins, so that I can get a different perspective each time I taste them, and so dominate flavours don’t overwhelm and disadvantage any particular gin. Each gin has been smelled and tasted at full strength, and then smelled and taste when cut back with some water to open up the botanicals some more. None have been tried with tonics yet. I plan to do a tonic tasting at some stage and then maybe do something about Gin & Tonics (G&T’s)

UPDATE: Looking to buy these gins, check out the new website Craft Gin Shop

Lighthouse Hawthorn Editon - 3/5 clean eye catching label, common yet attractive bottle4/5 the intensity of the full strength really helps this gin. 4/5 juniper is prominent, in a woody way, there is citrus in a lemony, peely, with hint of pith. Earthiness11/15 not the highest overall score, but definitely best gin. I can now understand why Bill Foley purchased Lighthouse. It is the best Gin made in New Zealand. The full strength delivers the bigger flavours.
Rogue Society
5/5 most impressive gin bottle currently of the NZ gin. Cork closure.
4/5 citrus, and woody notes, corriander. nearly leather but a freshness4/5 the earthy, cedar box woodness is intriguing, it has depth and length. hints of wasabi, vegetal, woody sappy, green branch. 13/15 great presentation, aroma, and taste. Pricey but it delivers on all fronts.
Black Robin Gin - 4/5 elegant packaging, especially with the tissue paper around the bottle when purchased. Beautiful bottle and label. Cork closure5/5 a floral, yet New Zealand fresh bush, Manuka flower/berry character. Offers the most unique NZ character of any NZ made gin3/5 the flavour isn't as good or as intense as the aroma12/15 looks good in the bottle, best NZ character in the aroma, intensity of flavour lets it down a bit. Maybe on the pricey side when thinking about the flavour. There are many imports that offer way better value and flavour.
Vaione Pacific Gin 4/5 very attractive bottle, emboss, possible slightly green tint to the glass. Screw closure5/5 inviting bold fresh citrus aroma, lime leaf3/5 very aggressive flavour, but there seems to be a botanical in there that that is a bit awkward, or out of balance. waxy? bubblegum, hubba bubba original. Burnt essential oil, citronella.12/15 Big botanicals, can handle mixers. Good overall package, price and value
Broken Heart Gin - 3/5 clean attractive bottle, with the red being eye catching. Similar bottle to Lighthouse.3/5 orange, banana bread, musty citrus peel. Something isn't right in the botanicals3/5 botanicals seems to be old or oxidized. orange peel seems musty, lets the flavour down.9/15 old musty botanicals, let this possibly interesting gin down.
1st Cut Gin - 3/5 solid robust bottle, label has a cool craft brewing feel about it with stamp and handwritten numbering. Cork closure3/5 what fermentation base? barley/grain/malt/ceral, a sweet malt note, juniper3/5 floral, spicy, sweet maltiness. 9/15 good botanicals, and 45% gives it the grunt to make a really tasty G&T
Blenheim Bay - 3.5/5 amazing weight in this bottle. Label is OK a little traditional. Screw closure1.5/5 not sure what it is but I get rubber dishwashing gloves with soap on them, little lime note.2.5/5 this is massive and robust in the flavours, but they come across as soapy, perfumy and floral, but overwhelmingly so.7.5/15 I'm thinking that the intensity of this gin would lead it to being ideal for a G&T. Cut back the intense flavour with tonic, and it could be a winner.
Christies Gin - 2.5/5 ok bottle, has a 42 Below feel? plain with little information on the bottle or label. Screw closure2.5/5 average aroma, orange pulp and citrus, with a hint of spice2.5/5 citrusy/juniper, nice citrus, clean, balanced and subtle over all7.5/15 its a fair offering at a good price. Gin for people that don't really care about the flavour of gin.
Matakana Moonshine Gin - 1/5 this is the stock standard alcohol bottle, and very basic slightly unprofessional label, lets down an otherwise reasonable gin. Doesn't take much to do something a little better, and increase the perceived value of the gin. Screw closure.2.5/5 low aroma, hint of lime/citrus3/5 balanced, nothing over powers, but nothing stands out, oily mouthfeel, spicy dry finish6.5/15 the presentation could easily be better, it is a pretty good gin, nothing stunning, but must get points for best value.
South Gin - 3.5/5 distinctive and iconic bottle, clean yet plain. Screw closure. Bottle shape makes for nice and easy pouring.2/5 kind of a neutral gin aroma, nothing really stands out, clean spirity nose1/5 kind of ginny actually not too much, the point of interest would be the mouthfeel and texture, it is soft full and creamy. very low in the botanicals.6.5/15 middle of the road, its not about the flavour, good to add a great tonic too. Not the greatest value, nice bottle