The location of the Hepple Estate is almost made for gin lovers as there are many unique botanicals growing in the wild, and the water running through the Northumberland National Park is some of the purest in Britain.
Some of the botanicals used in Hepple Gin are in fact foraged from the Hepple Estate. There are 13 botanicals in the gin, some classics, but some very unique. Green juniper, for example, comes from the Estate and it is harvested between August and November. It provides woody notes similar to sandalwood. Another interesting botanical used in Hepple Gin is Douglas fir as it provides unexpected flavours, such as strawberry and melted candy when the needles have been dried, and the fresh needles have a strong resemblance to grapefruit. You definitely wouldn’t expect that from a pine!
Small amounts of bog myrtle are also used as it grows all around the distillery. Not too much, though, as it is very strong and perfumed. The blackcurrant leaves from the Estate add sour notes when dried.
Other botanicals used in Hepple Gin are Amalfi lemons, juniper, liquorice, coriander and fennel seeds, orris root, angelica, lovage (related to celery) and my favourite – blackcurrant. Blackcurrant skin is perfumed and the pulp is sweet and sour, so overall it adds freshness and juiciness to the gin.
Hepple Gin botanicals are a very interesting and exciting mix, but wait till you hear about their distillation methods… They use three (!!) techniques to bring out the best flavours and scents. These special methods capture the full essence of all the botanicals, bringing them alive inside the bottle.
They use a copper pot still, a CO2 extraction system and a glass vacuum still. For example, some of the most common botanicals go into the pot still together with the Douglas fir. Juniper goes through both pot still and CO2 extraction, while green juniper only goes through rotary evaporation in the glass vacuum still. Sounds complicated and time consuming? Because it is! But luckily, we don’t need to understand everything to be able to truly enjoy the beautiful gin at home!
Hepple Gin & Tonic is often garnished with a lemon, but I would also recommend trying a thin cucumber twist as it gives a nice contrast to the juiciness of the blackcurrant and cantaloupe melon flavours which come from the gin when served.
Win yourself a bottle
We are giving you a chance to win a bottle of this unique gin! Have a G&T, make a Negroni or your favourite variation of Martini! Whatever tickles your fancy, I am confident you will absolutely L O V E it!
Competition closes 20th July 2017!