What did you do before creating De Havilland Gin?
Once I finished school I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a pilot. After completing my training at the age of 21 I joined easyJet, flying jets around Europe. At 25 I moved to London and joined Virgin Atlantic, flying various aircraft on long haul routes around the world. My passion for flying still burns deep and I continue to fly today alongside running my start-up gin brand!
What made you decide to create your gin?
During the COVID pandemic the world’s airline fleet was grounded and I faced the prospect of losing my career. After spending plenty of time during lockdown cooking, drinking and training a newly adopted puppy, I felt it was time do something slightly more productive with my time, so I did the sensible thing and decided to create my own gin!
What's the inspiration behind the brand and your gin?
I wanted to create a gin in honour one of mankind’s greatest achievements and De Havilland London Dry Gin was born! Celebrating the world’s first commercial jet flight, between London and Johannesburg (in a De Havilland Comet), I selected 9 botanicals from those two countries to create a refreshing, herbaceous and first-class gin.
Can you tell us more about the distillery and botanicals?
I’ve chosen 9 specially selected botanicals from the gardens of England and the South African Highveld. These range from Elderflower and Orange Peel from England to Honeybush and Buchu Leaves from South Africa. I’ve outsourced the distillation to Wharf Distillery in Northamptonshire. With the 9 specially selected botanicals the master distiller uses a Portuguese copper alembic pot still to create a beautifully fragrant gin.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
One of the biggest challenges, and in turn my greatest achievement, was creating the recipe for my gin. I knew in my mind what I wanted the gin to taste and feel like, but having no real experience with gin making or any skill with flavours I found this quite challenging. After lots of research, trial and error and a year of experimentation I finally invented my recipe!
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Herbaceous, cool, sharp.
What's your favourite way to drink De Havilland Gin?
I’m a great fan of a classic G&T, so it’s 3 extra large ice cubes in a short glass and Fentiman's light tonic water with a slice of cucumber.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
I’ve gathered quite a collection from the Craft Gin Club - I’m currently loving Chemist American Gin!
What's next for you and De Havilland Gin - any exciting plans?
I’ve just launched so there's lots of work ahead! I’m spending a lot of my time promoting De Havilland Gin and getting the name out there in the wonderful world of craft spirits!
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