It was never going to happen. We never planned to do it. In fact, it wasn't even on the list of things to do. So why, you may ask, are you bringing out a Wharf Distillery Northamptonshire Gin? And why now!?
At the distillery we are very fortunate to also have a shop. Well we call it a shop, but that really is to do it a dis-service. Ultimately it is the Wharf Distillery Deli & Tap Room. The deli part is home to hundreds of locally produced foods: from jams and chutney to marinades, sparkling wines and beer. We are extremely proud to play host to products from over 50 producers within a 15-20 mile radius - and there's not many places can make that boast. The tap room is where folk can enjoy a quiet drink, whether it be one of our own beverages, or else another tipple from off the shelves. Overall, we see it as an oasis of fine food and drink in an otherwise dessert of supermarket banality.
However, there is this increasingly more prevalent situation where some of our lovely customers will come into the shop, stride over towards the spirit section and almost demand to know, in a slightly bemused/frustrated fashion, as to which is our gin. We love them for it. It is very humbling to know that people actually like our products and are then dismayed to hear that we don't actually produce a gin. And we feel for them when they have to reluctantly opt for one of the gins we do have on the shelves... none of which would be, to any extent, a disappointing second choice. We pride ourselves on sourcing top quality, and value, products.
This then, was the driver for producing our gin. Contrary to popular myth, making gin is a relatively straightforward activity provided, that is, you have all the relevant licences from our beloved Revenue & Customs. Which we do. In essence you just take a neutral spirit (aka vodka) and then add your botanicals, e.g. juniper, coriander, orris root, arrowroot, [add your own exotic botanical here], etc. Then, in order to really infuse the spirit, you fire up the still and run the whole lot through. Et voila! You have gin.
So why Safine Drenc. All of our products are unique, nothing is straightforward. As we don't plan to get rich quick, then we have no reason to rush anything or take shortcuts. Everything is a labour of love, often unrequited. Loosely speaking, Safine is Anglos-Saxon for Juniper (drenc for drink), and this amazing fruit forms the backbone to our gin, as it should. We have then entwined some classic botanicals with some less common: lemongrass to add a touch of the orient, mystique and an element of citrus; elderflower, to add to the bouquet and a reminiscence of the English countryside; then ling heather, the essence of old England, symbol of courage and nostalgia and wellbeing.
Our gin offering is a modest one. She sits neatly in our range of passionately crafted spirits, each one telling its own story. We brought her into the world because we could, and because we knew that there are those of you out there who will look down on her fondly, and enjoy everything she has to offer. Arrghhhh! You see? This is the power of gin. One sip and your mind is drifting off to a world of nostalgia, fondness, love and affection. God bless gin.
So there you have it, the gin that was never meant to be. That said, we have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of developing the recipe and testing the early batches. We hope you enjoy our modest offering. The first public tasting and release will be at our artisan food & drink market at our Distillery & Deli on the 17th March.