By naming a gin Thomas Dakin you're raising certain expectations. Dakin was a key figure in eighteenth century distilling and something of a pioneer. When he was still only in his mid twenties he founded a distillery in Warrington (well placed on the canal system for travel to Manchester and Liverpool) the original Bombay Sapphire recipe is linked to him as is Greenall's gin (which is a sister brand to Thomas Dakin gin). At the time he was doing this gin still had a decidedly down market (think Hogarthian) image, and yet he marketed, successfully, to affluent customers...
Joanne Moore is the master distiller behind 'Thomas Dakin' (and a few other very good gins), she's more than met expectations. The something extra for Thomas Dakin is "red coal" - that's horseradish to you and me. It's presence is subtle enough, but also unmistakable, and mixed with cubebs (which make there presence felt on the finish) it's an intriguingly spicy gin that still manages to be juniper forward and have a good citrusy kick. I really, really, like this one.
It's not a resurrection of an old recipe but it's obviously taking inspiration from the past from botanicals through to packaging. It manages to be distinctive whilst maintaining an excellent balance between the different flavours, and not feeling in any way like its striving for novelty. Its definitely one to look out for (Moore is also behind Bloom, Berkeley Square, and Ophir gins, which is a pretty impressive track record).
Most of the old gin brands (Gordon's, Beefeater, Tanqueray) are associated with London, so there's something pleasing to me about finding one (Greenall's) which is so firmly tied to the (relative) north. Maybe it's because so often the history of gin seems to be inextricably tied to the capital when really it's a bigger story than that.
North and South has to be my choice to go with Thomas Dakin (it was also the first 'classic' I read thanks to my love of Georgette Heyer - having read my way through all of her work I was desperate to find something to fill the gap.) it's far to long since I last read it. Sitting here in the dark (hopefully the electrician coming tomorrow will be able to restore some lights) I can think of nothing better than reading one and drinking the other, whilst contemplating the continued differences between North and South.