I suspect we’ve all had days when we’ve travelled to work and dreamt of better ways to spend our time. Alan Bottomley, an engineer, was driving to his job when the idea struck him to “make gin and grow Christmas trees”! Although it took a little while to win round his partner, Amy Conyard, his idea wasn’t quite as crazy as it may first sound. His father, Stansfield Bottomley, used to make whisky in the mid-1950s and Alan grew up watching him, fascinated, before learning the process himself in the early 1990s. So it was that, in 2016, Alan and Amy decided to take the plunge and Bottomley Distillers was born.
Bottomley Distillers is, they claim, Lincolnshire’s oldest distillery and Pin Gin the county’s first gin. Alan and Amy view Pin Gin as a celebration of their quiet corner of England, taking in “the sights, sounds and smells of the county”. Alan worked on the recipe for many months before turning to long-time friend, and chef, Stephen Bennett for help picking the final flavourings. Featuring juniper alongside rose, lavender, cucumber, cinnamon, almonds and citrus, Pin Gin attempts to take the drinker on a tour of Lincolnshire’s seasons.
Juniper is prominent on the nose alongside a little spice and pepper. Neat, Pin Gin is full-bodied and robust. A drop of water opens out the flavours, with cinnamon and spice dominating and heat from liquorice and pepper on the long finish. I think I can detect the rose and lavender, and juniper is certainly providing the backbone to the spirit, but the spice seems to shout the loudest.
A punchy gin, I don’t find this the smoothest to drink neat but Indian tonic water works wonders in softening and balancing out the gin. An orange garnish accentuates the citrus and sweeter notes of the gin, but the spice and other flavours still stand up well. I can definitely see that this gin could take a ginger ale or something even bolder, such as Franklin and Sons Black Olive and Rosemary Tonic, as Pin Gin suggest. This strikes me as a solid, versatile spirit that would handle lots of experimentation with different mixers and tonics well. Although, to be honest, it makes such a good, honest G&T with an orange garnish I’m not sure I’ll bother to stray far. I may just add a festive cinnamon stick over the winter season to show willing!
Having been named Producer of the Year at the Select Lincolnshire Awards 2017 – and releasing both a Strawberry-Infused Gin in the summer of 2018 and more recently a Sloe Gin too – Bottomley Distillers are doing well. They’ve also recently moved production from their garage to a larger facility to allow them to upscale and, also, to follow in Alan’s father’s footsteps by starting the production of a single malt Lincolnshire grain whisky early next year. Better yet, the new distillery will house a spirit school and tasting room so visitors can see the distillery in production, make a spirit and enjoy some of the finest booze from around the world. I’d say every county needs at least one distillery like that!
Purchase Pin Gin from Master of Malt at £33.95 for 70cl (40% ABV).
With thanks to Alan Bottomley for the complimentary bottle of Pin Gin.