What takes a Single Estate Gin from Excellent to Exceptional - Behind the Botanicals
10 April 2019
What takes a Single Estate Gin from Excellent to Exceptional - Behind the Botanicals
Anyone can make a standard gin, but what does it take to make a gin truly spectacular? In this latest blog we explore how we have taken our Single Estate spirit and created our signature Ramsbury Gin. 
With the current plethora of gins available it’s right and proper that botanicals have become the stars of the show, they bring flavour, intrigue and incredible variety to a once stale category. But when only the best will do it means taking the time to do things properly and being in control every step of production. 

To talk about our botanicals, first we have to go back a step and start with the Horatio wheat that makes our base spirit. It’s a baker’s wheat rarely used for distilling as although it delivers incredible flavour it takes a little more time through the stills. Ours is grown on the estate, in fact this year’s crop is growing nicely in the fields just below the distillery. Milled in the building adjacent to the distillery it makes a vodka that has won multiple international awards. The flavour Horatio wheat gives our base spirit is slightly sweet and has notes of caramel, cocoa and a lovely bready flavour.

When first developing our gin we took inspiration from classic dry gin recipes.  Coupled with the knowledge that the wheat from our estate would be of such a high quality – so much so that we can trace where each bottle of our gin’s wheat has come from down to the exact field – any botanicals we added must be of the same high quality, and perfectly complement the flavour of our base spirit.

For gin to be gin it is supposed to have the flavour and aroma predominantly of juniper, so that’s where we must start. We harvest wild juniper from Salisbury plain, we have our own juniper growing next to our reed-beds behind the distillery and for the rest we use only the best Mediterranean juniper. The pine notes of the juniper provide an elegant, slightly bittering tone to create a classic London Dry Gin flavour.

Dried coriander seeds release a spicy citrus quality, and to bring even more citrus and a little fresh zing we use beautiful whole pieces of dried orange and lemon peel. This is then balanced by the light spice of cinnamon, and the earthy flavour of angelica. Though earthy in flavour, angelica is not strong on the nose, so to increase its olfactory impact we added orris root which enhances aroma, whilst also helping to bind all the botanicals together. Often, the base spirit can become ‘thin’ following further distillation, and though this wasn’t a concern for us as ours is distilled from wheat which traditionally gives it a slightly thicker quality, we wanted to keep a rich consistency.  To achieve the silky, smooth thicker texture we desired, liquorice was added.

We add all of the botanicals directly to our gin still together, meaning we can call our gin a London dry. But, though wonderful in flavour, there was something missing, a taste and feel that made it truly a Ramsbury spirit. One of the many benefits of being a Single Estate spirits producer, is that we have many a different botanicals growing naturally across the estate. Knowing that our gin needed to be something quite special, our Estates Manager looked to a large quince tree growing on the estate. The aroma from the fruit is quite spectacular and gives off a floral perfume. Considering this, we decided to give it a try and add a few quince to our distillation.

Not only did the quince immediately give the gin a richer flavour and aroma, it complemented the other botanicals perfectly. It lifted the cinnamon and freshened the citrus peel even further, whilst accentuating the earthy undertones of the angelica. With a single tasting session, we absolutely knew that quince was the ingredient that we had been looking for to bring our gin to life - and better still it had come from our own estate.

We now have our very own quince orchard just behind the distillery, sitting next to our reed-beds and our lake. Using the intricate knowledge of our estate, the love for creating only the most exquisite of products and being a little brave with our ingredients, we were able to find exactly the ingredient we were looking for.