For Volume 1 the base recipe is from a book first published in 1757 by from Ambrose Cooper who was a distiller in London at the time. The botanicals are basically the same but we added to two, elderflower and cubeb berries, just to boost the floral notes slightly which weren’t really there.
We did that to produce a very balanced gin which has a little bit of earthy, citrus, spice, floral and the piney notes from plenty of juniper. It also has liquorice which gives what I describe as a creaminess to the mouthfeel of the gin especially neat and enhances its smoothness, thus making it a genuine sipping gin which can be enjoyed just over ice. We hope Ambrose would approve.
Was there a brand that got you into gin?
Personally, there aren’t many gins I don’t love and that includes the non-craft big brands like Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray and Gordon’s. There isn’t one specific brand that got me into gin but I do love trying new ones whenever I get the opportunity, there are some absolutely fantastic gins out there.
For Volume 1 the base recipe is from a book first published in 1757 by from Ambrose Cooper who was a distiller in London at the time.
So Volume 2 is quite different to Volume 1, which is very juniper rich but no other botanicals dominate. Volume 2 is, as you say, more floral but not overly so. During the development, we probably overdid the floral and it wasn’t working, so we reduced those notes a bit and increased the spicy notes which really complement the floral.
The spice comes partly from coriander but mostly from pink peppercorns which give a very aromatic and more complex spice, and works perfectly with the floral. The floral notes come from red rose petals, lavender, elderflower and hibiscus, the latter also gives a dark fruity note, a bit like dates, which is really good in this gin. In addition, Volume 2 has a decent juniper kick, I think that’s important in any London Dry.
That’s like saying which is your favourite child! Let me think. At the moment, because it has a great summer serve with elderflower tonic, I’d say Volume 2, but Volume 1 is a very tough gin to beat over the whole year as far as I’m concerned. Think I dodged that one pretty well!
You’re a family business, with both you and your wife being distillers. Are you both responsible for distilling and new product testing?
Katherine was fantastic in helping us to get started and I could not have asked for a more dedicated and knowledgeable partner to work with, she really was a star. But she left the distillery at the end of last year to pursue a very senior, technical, corporate role with a large distiller. Since then she obviously hasn’t been involved.
Fortunately, we did a huge amount of product development work last year which will keep me going for quite some time. I do, however, get a lot of help from our two daughters (Emma and Sarah) who have developed a real interest in gin and I value their ideas. I should probably point out at this stage that they are both over 18.
The idea to is build a library of gins for people to display on their drinks shelves. And if they run out of space they can also go on the book shelves!