What a month! Without a doubt the highlight was visiting the Hendrick’s Gin Palace so prepare for lots and lots and lots of pics before you read on!
As everyone knows, the drinks industry has suffered terribly over the last couple of years with soaring energy prices and the cost of living crisis compounding the damage done by the closure of hospitality venues during the pandemic, so it’s very sad – but little surprise – to hear of more businesses struggling. In addition to reports that a third of hospitality business are at risk of going bust this winter, Burleighs Gin has also been put up for sale shortly after announcing it had temporarily shut the distillery, stopped orders and postponed events.
New Gin Alerts
In happier news there are still plenty of new releases to get excited about, not least of all the return of Beefeater Crown Jewel! First released almost 20 years ago as a limited edition expression, the 50% ABV gin which sees grapefruit added to the traditional Beefeater recipe, has now – to much excitement – joined Beefeater’s permanent range!
Meanwhile, Jaisalmer Gin have launched a Gold Edition featuring coriander, saffron, nagpur orange peel, darjeeling green tea and nutmeg, and enhanced (or so I’m told!) by passing the liquid through a filter of golden silk filamen! Oxfordshire’s Sky Wave has also released a subtly sweet and terrifically tasty Old Tom Gin, and York Gin’s new Spiced Apple Gin – featuring festive cinnamon, cloves and ginger – will be available for delivery from 6th December.
My Month in Gin
Apart from a week spent in bed with the flu, I had a magical month. I loved judging for the World Gin Awards again and meeting Inverroche founder Lorna Scott – and getting to know her selection of spirits – at a tasting at London’s Punch Tavern, but the undoubted highlight had to be visiting the Hendrick’s Gin Palace in Scotland!
Just as beautiful, magical and eccentric as I dared to imagine, the palace is a homage to all things Hendrick’s and its steampunk Victoriana style. Graced by a lush hothouse on either side, the main atrium is dominated by three imposing brick archways behind which sit three stunning stills – the towering 1948 Carter-Head, the 1860 Bennett (both bought by Charles Gordon in 1966) and a replica of the Bennett made in 2015 – and is home to a plethora of memorabilia and objet d’art as well as a very friendly tortoise!
However, it’s behind the scenes where things get really exciting. We were treated to a full tour of the palace including Lesley’s Lab – domain of master distiller Lesley Gracie and her Cabinet of Curiosities – a lecture theatre where we indulged in a fascinating deconstructed tasting, and a series of still rooms which have the capacity to take the total number on site from six to a mind-boggling 21! And then there was also “The Contraption” – a brand-new hand-pumped machine in which we made (or should that be made-believe?!) an exclusive expression – as well as a singing mermaid, a communal gong bath and an elevator complete with hot air balloons and a cucumber telephone!
And all of that was just one day of four which saw us staying in an incredible castle and partaking in all sorts of fun and games including foraging, curling, ax throwing and the cucumber olympics! It was a truly memorable experience shared with wonderful people and I’ll be continuing to pinch myself for many more months to come.
Welcome to My Collection
I think Christmas might have come early for me with all the goodies I’ve received in November! The generous folk at Hendrick’s sent me home with an exclusive expression featuring rosemary and mint and an amazing goody bag containing – amongst other things – a hippo pourer and another fab gin pin, and I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle of their Duty Free exclusive Amazonia Gin on the way home too.
Thanks also to Greensand Ridge for another bottle of their environmentally-friendly London Dry Gin, to Sky Wave for their brand new Old Tom Gin, to Isle of Barra Distillers for the simply stunning new bottle of their Atlantic Gin and to Hayman’s for their Respirited Sustainable British Vodka.
And that’s not all! I’ve also been generously gifted a range of ready-to-drink cocktails from both MOTH and NIO, stunning new glassware from Vemacity, Hepple Douglas Fir Sherbert garnish and a stunning upcycled candle and matching gin-in-a-tin courtesy of Nature Reclaimed and Mother’s Ruin 1751.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
I’ve got a couple of articles to write and a lot of content to create in December but, other than that, I’ll mostly be counting down to Christmas with the help of my (gifted) Drinks by the Dram rum advent calendar. I hope you have something equally indulgent to enjoy this festive season and I’ll see you on the side! 🍸🛎🛎