Welsh gin made with ‘biosphere’ botanicals

7th June, 2016 by Darren Smith

Mid-Wales’s first ever commercial distillery has launched a gin made with 19 botanicals foraged from a Unesco ‘biosphere’ site.

Dyfi Distillery Pollination Gin uses 28 botanicals, 19 of which are indigenous to the Dyfi Biosphere Reserve (Photo: Dyfi Distillery)

The Dyfi Distillery, based near Machynlleth, Mid-Wales described its Pollination Gin a “sensory journey through Dyfi”.

The spirit is made with 28 botanicals, including 19 which have been foraged locally in the Unesco-recognised Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.

The Dyfi Distillery, the first ever commercial distillery in Mid-Wales, is run by brothers Pete and Danny Cameron, the latter of whom is also a director of Portuguese wine specialist importer Raymond Reynolds. It opened in March this year.

The Dyfi Distillery currently produces an Original Gin which is only available in the local area – part of the distillery’s commitment to Unesco’s Biosphere charter, which encourages locality and sustainability, Danny Cameron said.

Pollination is the second release from the distillery but will be marketed UK-wide and potentially for export.

Each of Dyfi Distillery’s gins features botanicals foraged from within the Unesco World Biosphere Reserve of Dyfi – including and is made in two custom-built stills built for “precision distilling” in Colorado, Cameron said.

Each still produces around 100 bottles per distillation.

“For Pollination Gin, we wanted to cast a wide net across the biosphere and harness some of the wildness of the valley,” said Pete Cameron.

“We use around 20 different foraged botanicals alongside some really fine classic gin botanicals. It’s a bit like conducting an orchestra, but the results are beyond our expectations.”

“This is where the precision-distilling techniques we developed become really important,” added Danny Cameron.

“We used a slightly different approach to how we make Dyfi Original Gin, so as to get the best out of both the more robust and also the more delicate botanical ingredients.”

Pollination Gin is currently available from the distillery shop at the Corris Craft Centre, near Machynlleth, but will be sold by leading wine and spirit merchants around the UK as limited stock becomes available.

Each bottle carries the distilling season, lot number and bottlers’ signature, and the distillery has a backlog of orders from gin collectors.

Danny Cameron said the new release gin is called Pollination “as a celebration of the natural cycle of nature”, and in reference to the floral botanicals – such as chamomile, meadowsweet, hawthorn flowers, elderflowers and gorse flowers – used in it. 

“Our dream with Pollination Gin was to produce something which is absolutely of its place: a sensory journey through the valley,” Danny Cameron said.

“And with Dyfi being recognised as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, this botanically diverse Garden of Eden where my brother has foraged, kept bees and hill farmed for 35 years seemed the perfect location to make gin with a sense of place.

So, in realising this, we looked at the latitude, microclimate and soils here, and what wild plants thrived here and could best contribute to a final blend. We have sought to not use non indigenous species so as to create as unique a fingerprint as possible.” 

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