English craft distiller, Chilgrove, has created what it claims to be first English gin made from distilled grapes, ahead of World Gin Day on 14 June.
Created under eighth generation Master Distiller Charles Maxwell, Chilgrove’s Dry Gin is made using 11 botanicals from a base of neutral spirit distilled from grapes, rather than cereal, which its makers, Christopher Tetley and co‐founder Dr Celia Beaumont‐ Hutchings, say gives it a unique “smooth and elegant style.”
The 11 botanicals used in Chilgrove gin include juniper berries, coriander seeds, sweet orange, angelica root, lime, liquorice root, orris root, grains of paradise – a member of the ginger family – and Water Mint, native to England.
Christopher Tetley, founder and director, said: “It has taken many years researching and tasting the gins we respect and enjoy, along with the history of the spirit itself, to launch Chilgrove as a gin we are truly proud of. English gin as we know it today has its roots in 16th century Holland and is derived from the juniper‐based drink jenever which was originally made using alcohol distilled from wine.
“The change to a cereal‐base occurred as a result of a wine‐shortage in Holland driven by the significant effects of the Little Ice Age on European viticulture coupled with changes in the political landscape.
“This is the first time that Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell has distilled a gin using this method. Many new gins rely on an increased number of ingredients to present complexity and character, but our own approach is entirely different.
“We stripped away the need for prominent, unusual botanicals which has been the current trend. Instead, we went back to first principles, looked at the very heart of gin and sourced a grape neutral spirit which is altogether finer to work with. Whilst this presents a greater challenge to the Master Distiller, the result is a more refined, elegant style of gin with sophisticated, approachable, modern flavours.”
In describing the spirit Charles Maxwell, master distiller, said: “A big, powerful, complex gin. The neutral grape spirit base helps to give a soft mouth feel and bring forward floral notes as it combines with the citrus botanicals. Overall there is a gentle delivery of the botanical flavours which end up with a spicy peppery note delivered by the grains of paradise working with the juniper berries.”
The 44% abv gin, named after the Sussex Hamlet of Chilgrove in which it was conceived, will be available to both the on and off‐trade, including supermarkets, specialist wine and spirits merchants and online retailers, at an RRP of £29 per 70cl bottle.
Production will be around 15,000 bottles in the first year with distribution initially handled by Chilgrove Gin.