Highclere Castle Gin has won many prestigious awards for flavour, presentation, recognisable style and quality. Highclere Castle Gin is distilled above an ancient underground water source and produced at Langley Distillery; England’s oldest gin distillery. The gin recipe was meticulously developed over two years, experimenting with botanicals grown within the ancient gardens Highclere estate. The botanicals contain essential oils which result in a uniquely smooth flavour, including lavender from the walled monks garden behind the castle, planted by the Bishops of Winchester in the 9th century. The citrus comes from the Victorian-era orangery behind the castle, carefully managed by Lord & Lady Carnarvon and their amazing team of gardeners. One distinguishing ingredient is the the estate-grown oats added to the botanical blend post distillation, which produces an exceptionally creamy and smooth finish.
Lavender has been a highly regarded infusion since the Middle Ages. The lavender in Highclere’s gardens were planted by the Bishops of Winchester in the ninth century.
A long avenue of tall lime trees grow to the south east of Highclere Castle. Their flowers have long been valued for their health benefits and have been called the “nectar of kings”.
Highclere’s archives reveal that there was an orangery attached to the south-facing side of the Highclere House in the late 18th century. Although this was replaced with the Monk’s Garden, the addition of orange peel within the gin was a must. This delightful citrus delivers a clean, sweet top-note to the gin.
Lady Carnarvon loves to use cardamom in her cooking – it presents a warmth, with both spicy and sweet flavours. By using only small amounts of cardamom, other, more prominent flavours are highlighted.
Distilled above an ancient underground water source, Highclere Castle Gin is produced in England’s oldest gin distillery in one of the oldest working copper gin stills, dating back to the 1800s.
The recipe was meticulously developed over two years, experimenting with botanicals grown on the Highclere estate. The careful selection of botanicals in the recipe contain essential oils and it is the extraction of these oils in the presence of alcohol that gives Highclere Castle Gin its uniquely smooth flavour.
To begin the distillation process, the botanicals are carefully weighed out and added to the still, along with a charge of spirits. The still lid is then shut and the steam jacket is switched on to allow the gentle warming of the still. This warming process allows the botanicals to begin releasing their oils for distillation – this process of maceration continues overnight.
The following morning, the stills are heated to a higher temperature, making the charge boil. The boiling process begins to turn the liquid into vapour which rises to the swan neck and water-cooled condenser, turning the vapour back into liquid. The distillation is separated out into three parts; heads, hearts and tails. It is only the heart section that is used in the Highclere gin-making process, as this liquid holds the most subtle and refined of the aromas and flavours given off during the distillation.
The resulting high proof gin is blended with water to precisely 43.5% alcohol. We discovered this exact proof lent itself to the maximum expression and dimension of flavour.
Recommended Serve: The Highclere Negroni
Combine 20ml of Highclere Castle Gin, sweet Vermouth and Campari. Garnish with an orange peel. Serve in a whiskey tumbler with plenty of ice.