Don’t stay silent about this!

In the surrey hills there is something going on that is worth shouting about. Silent Pool is a gin that captures the essence of the surrey hills in a glass., much in the same way that scotch whisky companies have managed to do with their products.

Silent Pool started trading in 2013 and produced their first gins in 2014 under the watchful eye of Cory Mason who has a history of absinthe distillation in Brooklyn New York. They operate out of the estate of the Albury estate from the Duke of Northumberland. They draw their water from a spring fed pool and have managed to pack 22 different botanicals into their gin to create a truly artisan gin that is quite spectacular.

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They started by identifying what flavours they wanted from the gin and reverse engineered the process and botanicals to use to generate their unique product. As part of the reverse engineering they have pushed the boundaries of how to get flavours into their gin. Some of the botanicals are macerated in the base spirit before being put into the still. Additional botanicals are then macerated in a higher proof spirit to extract the essential oils and the final botanicals are put into the gin basket which sits inside the still.

Nose: lime rich citrus with floral hints

Palate: Juniper to the fore livening up by the lime and other citrus fruits and finishing with floral hints that reminds you of the country hills.

This is a truely unique gin and one worth shouting about from the tops of the surrey hills. Additionally if you are around Guildford they produce some products exclusively for local patrons including a gin and strawberry liquor.

Silent pool distillers have started to expand their operation including hosting tasting sessions in the Eurostar first class lounge so it probably won’t be too long till you will find them in your local supermarket or wine merchants.

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Calverley’s Brewery

After a couple of emails I managed to get the opportunity to meet Sam and Tom Calverley who have setup a new microbrewery in Cambridge producing artisan beer for local pubs and patrons. They have been operating out of 23A Hopper Street, CB1 2NZ since 2014 after having been keen home brewers decided to make the switch to trying to be full time brewers.


They currently produce and sell their Best Bitter at some local pubs including The Architect on castle street. Recently they have been looking to expand the range that they are offering and have been busy experimenting producing a Citra and Simcoe Pale Ale which has been dry hopped to give it some serious hop character which is great for the current summer weather and this beer stands up well against a lot of the other offerings out on the market.

Sam and Tom are very passionate about building up a local community and are trying to build as many links as possible with the people of Cambridge. One of the things they are doing with their spent grain is giving it to a local allotment society where the allotments residents are using it for compost and chicken feed.

So what is in store for the future of Calverley’s Brewery? Sam and Tom have opened up the brewery for open days on Saturdays and want the public to come and meet them and learn their story and try and also buy some beer from them directly. They are also looking to expand the range of beers that they are producing as well as trying further recipe development for different styles such as non-hopped from long lost recipe books as well as investigating the use of vegan friendly finings in their beer to ensure that everyone can enjoy the great taste.


Either way the future is looking bright for these two brewing brothers and if you are in Cambridge then go down and support your local producers and get to know them as they are two seriously interesting guys who are super passionate about artisan beer and everything involved in craft production.


Bloom – ing Marvellous

I recently spent a fantastic evening at Vista on Trafalgar Square in London and got the opportunity to meet Joanne Moore, the master distiller of G&J Greenall distillery. Who was running a gin masterclass and talking about Bloom gin.

The inspiration for Bloom gin came from a day spent sipping some floral tea and got Joanne thinking if edible flowers could be used as botanicals in gin distillation. A few experiments later she had the base flavour sorted out, built from 6 botanicals, but she thought it was missing something. This something turned out to be pomelo, a citrus fruit native to south east asia more commonly known as grapefruit. Despite being a member of the grapefruit family the pomelo adds an orangey note to the gin and helps to marry all the flowery flavours together.

We were able to try the gin and a G&T with strawberries in as well as in a Lady of Bloom a twist on a white lady using honey syrup instead of sugar syrup to add a bit more of a floral note. Understandably this works really well with the flavours of Bloom gin.


Additionally we were also treated to a summer cooler which is a twist on a Pimms and again works superbly well with the floral notes and citrus from the pomelo as well.


This was a great evening spent listening to someone who is obviously very passionate about what they do and Vista was a great location for the event to take place. I would recommend that when you are next looking for a drink to have on a warm summer evening out in the sunshine then lean over and pour yourself one of these!

East London Liquor Company

I recently spent a very enjoyable afternoon with Tom Hills (Head Gin distiller) from the East London Liquor Company learning what they do, who they are and why you should pay them a visit as soon as possible!

The East London Liquor Company have been situated next to the corner of Wennington Green near Victoria Park for the last 10 months. They are a small young team looking to bring a new take on craft distilling and this approach is apparent from the moment you walk into their bar. It’s modern industrialist and just like one of their ethos’ it’s open and transparent with a glass wall behind the bar enabling you to see the two Arnold Holstein Stills where they generate their fantastic craft products. This transparency is also present on their bottles where they have all the ingredients listed and and they actively invite people to come and talk to them about their products and the process that they use to make the craft spirits.

They also subscribe to the idea that the product should speak for itself and they don’t talk of family recipes passed down through generations but instead of how they should be accessible to everyone and their passion for innovation and pushing the boundaries really shines through. They really cut the bull and get straight to the point, a fantastic product from hard work and fresh outlooks. I think a lot of this approach comes from them having a young team that are extremely proud of what they do and see distilling as a crossover between science and art.

The guys at the East London Liquor Company are in favour of transparency and making craft spirits much more accessible for everyone and price their products accordingly.

So what are the products:

Vodka – 40% ABV – Very smooth with no harshness pays tribute to the time and care taken to distill this product. I was picking up flavours of anise from this and as a non-vodka drinker I was very impressed with this.

London Dry Gin – 40% ABV, £18 – described as a gateway gin and their nod to traditional London Dry Gin with a twist. It has an incredible viscosity which makes the flavour last in the mouth for a seriously long time and it full of citrus flavour. This is a really versatile gin and works really well as a G&T with either lemon or cracked black pepper.

Premium Gin #1 – 40% ABV, £24 – The first of their two premium gins this has a very distinctive ultra dry character due to the presence of Darjeeling Tea in the distillation process. This is unlike any gin I have ever had before. The dryness from the tea smooths into citrus from the Casia (Chinese cinnamon) and grapefruit. Tom recommends this as a Gin Sour.

Premium #2 – 47% ABV, £24 – A complete contrast to the premium #1 the citrus is dialled down and herbaceous flavours take its place. Again like all the other products it has an excellent viscosity that helps it to linger in the mouth. It has also been awarded a 5+ by Simon Difford as well. Tom recommends having this in his ‘death row’ drink a Negroni and I can attest to the fact that this is a brilliant combination and the herby flavours more than hold their own. I have to admit I was so impressed with this I took home a bottle of it.

Rye Whisky – Barrelled only a few months ago we still have a couple of years to wait for this to mature and be ready for sale.

So what about the future? They want to really push the limits of what people expect from gin and are looking to experiment with small batch releasee specials and different barrel finishes as well as what they can do with mash bells.

I am really blown away by the talent of the folks at the East London Liquor Company and their passion and willingness to push the boundaries are really making for an exciting future for them. So get yourselves down to see them and drink their products and you will definitely be making a return visit.

Friday feeling competition!

Newmarket is sure to be full of Good Times with Greenall’s!
Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin, was proud to announce their involvement with The Jockey Club this year – a Great
British Gin sponsoring Great British Racing.
An unbelievable 80% of racegoers go to the races to have a good day out, its as much about the sociability and ambience
of the day as the horses.
Greenall’s has been crafted in one of England’s oldest gin distilleries for more than 250 years and is recognised as the original London Dry Gin. The gin continues to be distilled using the same secret recipe which has been handed down through only seven master distillers. The Master Distiller uses eight unique botanicals to give a classic London Dry gin with rich juniper notes, balanced with mature citrus and spice.
To celebrate Greenall’s asThe Official Gin of The Jockey Club, we are offering a pair of tickets to this fantastic evening event of racing and Kylie in concert at Newmarket on Friday, 19th June.
Evening racing starts at 6.30pm and Kylie’s Concert at 9.35pm.
Apart from the pair of tickets that the winner will receive to this exciting evening of entertainment, vouchers for 2 x Greenall’s G&T’s to be redeemed at the racecourse is part of the package.
Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin, which can be found in most good supermarkets (price £15.49), last year launched Greenall’s Sloe Gin and Greenall’s Wild Berry Gin – the first new additions to the range for over 250 years. Greenall’s has been distilling fine gin since 1761 and these two new varieties are the biggest innovation in its long history.

Following the traditional British flavour of sloe berries for Greenall’s Sloe Gin. Greenall’s eight unique botanicals, with their rich juniper notes and mature citrus and spice, combine with the sloes to create a warming drink perfect for winter drinking. Available in Tesco and Sainsbury’s, price £16.00.

The inspiration for Greenall’s Wild Berry came from blackberries growing in English hedgerows, combined with ripe raspberries which were infused in award-winning Greenall’s Gin to give a vibrant, fruity taste, which is versatile and works well in cocktails. Available in Tesco and Morrisons, price £15.50.

Here is the question and t&c’s:
Which gin is the Official Gin of The Jockey Club?
 a) Greenall’s The Original London Dry Gin
b) Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin
c) BLOOM Gin
Please message us with your answer, name address, email address and contact telephone number by 17th June 2015 to be in with a chance of winning this great prize!
T&C’s:  One lucky winner wins 1 x pair of tickets to an evening racing at Newmarket including the Kylie Concert on Friday, 19th June and a voucher for 2 x Greenall’s G&T’s to be redeemed at the racecourse.  No purchase necessary.  Competition opens 12 June 2015 and closes 17 June 2015.  Open to UK residents 18+ only.  A winner will be drawn after the closing date.  Normal restrictions apply.  Promoter Greenall’s Gin, Quintessential Brands Company Ltd, Melbury Park, Clayton Road, Warrington, Cheshire W13 6PH

Jinzu……………yes please!

Jinzu is the brain child of bartender Dee Davies, she won Diagio’s show your spirit competition in 2013 and as a result has had her gin throw in to production and the limelight, as it should be! So, you can probably tell from the tone of this article I am a big fan. This spirit is the embodiment of multiculturalism, taking British gin and combining it with Japanese botanicals and junmai saki along with botanicals from Europe.

The distilation The distillation takes place in Cameron bridge distillery in a copper pot still (this distillery makes Tanqueray and is one of the only large scale gin producers to still use the all in method of gin prodution). The first ingredients into the mix are juniper and coriander followed by Japanese yuzu and cherry blossom, these are distilled and then finally blended with the saki. The gin is diluted to 41.3% with Scottish mineral water.

The flavour Aroma- lovely fresh juniper and citrus with a sweet finish of cherry blossom. Taste- heavy juniper lime and citrus with a mellow sweet edge and a pleasing savory saki and citrus after taste. All in all I am very surprised to have enjoyed this as much as I did because all to often blends of this kind do not balance well and the constituents compete with each other.

At around £30 a bottle, you should make a space in your drinks cabinet. Keep an eye on our blog for cocktails using jinzu.

Hooray for Glen Moray

We were recently fortunate enough to take part in a Twitter tasting facilitated by @TheWhiskyWire for Glen Moray and some of their products; New Make Spirit, Single Malt Speyside Elgin Classic, Port Cask Finish Elgin Classic, New Make Peated Spirit and Elgin Classic Peated Single Malt.

New Make Spirit

We started off with the New Make Spirit which is the neutral spirit produced before casking and therefore hasn’t given up its angels share, the amount of ethanol that evaporates from the barrel upon storage, (there is a great film with this name that is worth watching) yet so is at 69% ABV. There was lots of interest around this and I was picking up hints of raspberries and other fruits with a peppery finish. The major surprise for me was that this was so smooth, a sign of the good things to come.

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Speyside Single Malt Elgin Classic

This is the finished product from ageing the New Make Spirit in Bourbon barrels. The ageing adds a really good depth of flavour with initial vanilla from the barrel which mellows into pear and honey and has the peppery finish continued from the New Make Spirit. Again this was really smooth and a very easy whisky to drink. The head distiller Graham Coull has done a fantastic job with this.

Classic Port Cask Finish

The first thing to note on this is the fantastic colour of the drink. It really draws you in and makes you want to try it. The 6 months finish in the port cask really adds a jammy plum finish on the nose and tastes of deep red fruits as expected from the port. I’m not usually one for port cask finished whisky but this has made me think again about them. It’s also versatile enough to make a really good Old Fashioned.

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New Make Peated Spirit

Wow! A hit of smoke so strong it’s like you have just been punched by Mike Tyson. This is right up my street I love peaty whisky so this really does bode well for the Peated Single Malt. It’s smooth and delicious, just like being at a BBQ with your friends and someone has lit up a good cigar. Wonderful.

Peated Single Malt

Smelling this brought back lots of memories of my partners parents peat burner and bunkering down against the strong coastal winds of western Ireland. A fantastic drink! Really nice smooth smoky flavours with a coastal briny nature to it. Again amazingly smooth and for me the best of the tastings of the evening.

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Having never drunk Glen Moray before I was really impressed with the quality of their products and they are all coming in at a price that most people can afford and as Father’s Day is fast approaching I will be passing a bottle of Glen Moray onto my dad in celebration.

This is a blog written by three young (ish) scientists about spirits, beers and cocktails