Now I know what your thinking, thegrapewizard has now written a few articles on topics other than just grapes recently. So please let me reassure you: the grape is still my main passion and over the next few months I’ve a couple of fantastic interviews with your favourite big names, interesting small producers and distillers. But before all that another topic I am passionate about is gin.
We have all witnessed the recent meteoric rise of gin. In 2009 Sipsmith (amongst others) began lobbying the government to challenge a law that required massive-sized stills for making ginand forbade small batch distilling. In March of 2009, after 18 months of negotiations, London’s first copper pot distillery in over 200 years was finally permitted to open. If it had not been for this bold step, many start-ups would not have ever had the chance to follow. The Yorkshire Dales Distillery is one such company.
The high, breathtaking views, swooping twists, hills and bends, and picture-postcard villages of the Dales evoke an era of a sleepy rural idyll, straight out of All Creatures Great and Small. It is somehow quite surprising therefore to discover that an ultra modern business has sprung up in traditional England. Tony and Sarah Brotherton’s business is situated just outside the historic market town of Richmond. It is a family affair and their desire to both work and play in the industry has seen their small craft Distillery flourish. Indeed Tony’s Grandparents were the original G&T fans that first inspired their passion for handcrafted homegrown quality. Tony’s career in the British Army has also inspired the business to give back into the community by providing opportunities to train veterans, ex offenders, young people and the long term unemployed.
In their pursuit of technical excellence in distillation, they produce London dry gins and vodka in very small batches using traditional techniques resulting in exceptionally smooth and unique flavours. Many of their botanicals are sourced locally: the Dales honey is sourced just a mile away from the distillery and then there is the unique and ancient water source from Swaledale. Every bottle is hand bottled, labelled and signed and they also offer a bespoke distilling service for a number of private clients and businesses.
Recently the Yorkshire Dales Distillery won the Local Product of the Year 2018 category in the Flavours of Herriot Country Awards. The judges described their products as “epic!!!”
Purple Ram London Dry Gin
Smooth and quadruple distilled and 100% vapour infused through select Yorkshire botanicals including artisan local honey. Great served with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water
On the nose; sweet spicy orange and cardamom with a delicate juniper finish.
On the palette; clean cinnamon, orange and grapefruit. Delicate use of honeysuckle
Finish: A balanced Juniper finish with sweet nuts
Desert Ram Army Strength London Dry Gin
Made smooth and strong through quadruple distillation and 100% vapour infused with North African and Middle Eastern inspired botanicals. Sit back into that comfy chair and imagine great times gone by.
On the nose; Juniper and warm citrus, sweet peppermint and elegant pine characters
On the palette; Orange peel and cardamom. Wood and aromatic floral notes with candied rhubarb
Finish: Juniper and strawberry, with a hint of clove
Smokey Ram Yorkshire Vodka
Exceptionally smooth quadruple distilled vodka, 100% vapour infused through Yorkshire hay smoked peppercorns. Light and smokey with a gentle peppery feel.
On the nose; Rye flavours with a strong grassy note, pepper and light spice mixed with a touch of icing sugar
On the palette; Delicate evidence of white pepper and aniseed
Finish: Calm and delicate, evidence of a grain flavour
Wild Ram Yorkshire Berry London Dry Gin
Use of Yorkshire berries and heather flowers give this quadruple distilled and 100% vapour infused a smooth, strong and warm character. Great served with Fever Tree Aromatic tonic.
On the nose; Red fruit and juniper with fragrant citrus
On the palette; redcurrant, blackcurrant and plum juniper and a touch of pine.
Finish: a sharp redcurrant morphs into strawberry cheesecake. Yum Yum!
Intrepid Ram Yorkshire Golden Rum
The Caribbean meets the Yorkshire Dales! Oak-aged in the Distillery and delicately infused with Yorkshire honey and heather. The demerara and chocolate finish is perfect for a Dark and Stormy cocktail.
On the nose: Bold oak and vanilla
On the palette: demerara and spice with a velvet chocolate finish
And now for the GW geeky stuff
Gin is an old spirit, dating back 600 years the trend today is for flavoursome botanical gins rather than the early juniper-led gins.
Did you know that there are 3 types methods used to make gin
One shot distillation is the most traditional method and is preferred by craft distillers
Here a one shot producer distils either fermented sugar or a neutral spirit together with the juniper and the botanicals. Just the right amount of botanicals is steeped in the liquid like tea. Their essence is extracted by suspending the botanicals in a basket and exposed to the steam. Then just before the bottling the distiller adds water to cut the spirit to the proper proof
This method requires more stills to produce even a fraction of what other Distilleries make but produces a better mouth feel and by exposing the liquid to the copper keeps unwanted sulphur compounds and acids out of the process
Distillers can stretch their gin. Here the process produces bigger quantities by distilling a huge quantity of botanicals with just a small amount of liquid. The end result is a highly concentrated distillate to which the producer adds neutral spirits and water.
This method is the simplest method where any sort of real or artificial botanical is added to a neutral spirit provided juniper is already present.
So it seems the Yorkshire Dales, renowned for more traditional aspects of life; the Flat cap, the Yorkshire puddings and a qwerky sense of dialect is also a place where new things are being born. In my opinion The Yorkshire Dales Distillery is one to watch. It is embryonic but it is also a breakthrough cottage industry company. Since 2009 and the change in law the small producer has flourished: there are now over 500 gin producers- so standing out is the key. The Yorkshire Dales Distillery has a unique provenance and uses alternative ingredients.
If you have want to know more or have any questions regarding this or any other of question please feel free to contact me at Jason@thegrapewizard.com or my website thegrapewizard.com or anywhere on social media where you see thegrapewizard.
Interview to come…. Watch this space!
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