Without sounding like a stuck record, the world is awash with far too many gins – and a good portion of those are perhaps not the greatest quality. I have talked about this before in a previous blog post. To summerise, with such a huge swell in popularity comes a number of people looking to make a quick pound sterling or two. So, they look for the cheapest quality ready-made gin, slap together a brand, concoct a backstory, then send it to market. While there is no real harm in this, it does make it that much harder for those genuine producers pouring all their time, expertise and, a lot of time, savings into something they are absolutely passionate about. These are the products worth caring about, so we need more of them, then some more again.
I was introduced to Anthony Winterbourne via a colleague a few months back, who proceeded to describe to me the distillery he had setup not that long ago by himself, after years of contract distilling. His aim was to produce a really high quality product, taking charge of the entire production from start to finish. For those of your not familiar with distillation, this means brewing what is effectively beer, which is then distilled to make a neutral spirit. From there, you macerate your chosen botanicals before firing up the still, getting the distillation going, then eventual dilute with water and bottle it up.
At Fen Spirits, located outside Wisbech in Cambridgeshire, immense care is taken at every stage of the process to ensure the final product is of the highest quality. I mean, having control over every part of the process makes sense; it means you can tweak and alter as you see fit. Where others choose to buy in either a final product, or neutral grain spirit – which will usually be great quality, without question – Anthony makes his own. This demonstrates his no-nonsense approach, which comes through in the style of his London Dry gin. Each botanical has its role, with no requirement for fancy and extraneous ingredients, which makes the inclusion of Sichaun Pepper and fresh Bay leaves curious. But they contribute a lovely note of tingly pepper and earthy, herbal bass. It results in a beautiful London Dry gin, with classic flavours, all layered wonderfully together. It is not flashy and showy, but it is certainly good!
Fenlands London Dry Gin is our Gin of the Month for September. Pop in store to taste and pick up a bottle. Check out their facebook page here.