Gin of the month: Hepple gin
So many botanicals are bandied around these days that it’s easy to forget that the essential heart of a gin is the juniper. And few distillers handle it better than the Moorland Spirit Company, makers of Hepple gin.
Their intensely junipery gin features two state of the art techniques - vacuum distillation of the young green juniper berries and Co2 extraction for the more mature ones, a technique more commonly used in the perfume industry. The young juniper is grown on their own estate in Northumberland.
At 45% it results in a very intense juniper and citrus hit - which is what attracted me to gin in the first place and has been somewhat lost by some brands along the way.
If you're using it to make a gin and tonic they recommend you serve it quite simply with a naturally light tonic and a twist or a slice of lemon. Oh and a rim of whizzed up Douglas fir needles, sugar and citric acid which I'm sure would add another dimension if you can be bothered though I definitely can’t!). I also rather like it on the rocks so it presumably also makes a great martini. It also goes brilliantly with venison tartare as I discovered a couple of years ago.
There is an impressive team behind the distillery including distiller Chris Garden (ex Sipsmith), chef Valentine Warner and mixologist Nick Strangeway. (You can read more about them here)
All this investment in ingredients and processes doesn’t make for an inexpensive gin. The best going rate I’ve found is £35.95 a bottle at The Whisky Exchange , Master of Malt and Amazon. Majestic has it for £43.80 unless you buy it on their mix six deal when you can get it for £38.70. Elsewhere it can be up to £45 though that's not out of the way these days.
I also love the embossed bottle which been recently and rather gloriously redesigned from a splendidly named company called Timorous Beasties
The gin has been shortlisted by the BBC Food & Farming Awards on which I’m a judge but not in this category so I’ve no idea if it won. You’ll discover that when they announce the awards on Wednesday night!
Disclosure: I was sent a bottle of Hepple to taste.
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