What did you do before you created Hidden Curiosities Gin?
I’m actually now running 2 businesses, Cravat Club, an online store which sells British handcrafted luxury silk accessories for men which was established in 2014, and now Hidden Curiosities Gin. Before this I lived in Japan for 5 years, which I believe thanks to the exceptional calibre and passion for their food & drink industry, helped to refine my palate hugely, and thus led me to create a unique recipe for Hidden Curiosities gin.
How did you get into gin?
I have always loved gin (namely gin & tonic), but only realised that there was more to gin than just Bombay Sapphire in the past couple of years when I discovered the vast diversity of craft gins. The exciting thing about craft gins is that there is something for everyone, and thanks to this I have even managed to convert self-proclaimed non-gin drinkers & haters into gin-lovers & enthusiasts.
It became quite the hobby of mine to buy and sample new and unique craft gins whenever I had the chance, and initially as a passing thought, dreamt about making my own one day, and finally decided this year I would actually do it.
What made you decide to create Hidden Curiosities Gin?
It was from a very selfish point of view! I simply wanted to create a gin which had the potential to be one I absolutely loved to death; an incredibly moreish gin which had the potential to transform and change in flavour depending on the way you served it, and not one which I grew sick of, or bored from drinking. There would be a particular craft gin which would be flavour of the month for me, but then all of a sudden I would go off it, and I didn’t want this to happen with my gin. Luckily it hasn’t, and I am completely head over heels in love with Hidden Curiosities gin!
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
After tasting nigh on 100 craft gins in a year and considering flavours I already knew and liked, I started to get a feel for what worked and what didn’t for me, what botanicals I thought would blend well together without losing the purpose of each one, and I finally created my ideal recipe. My aim was to create a well-rounded, yet exciting gin, which exuded bold flavours; including heat and depth from pepper & spices, contrasted with the refreshing burst of citrus notes, and then smoothed out with elements of sweetness and floral undertones.
What’s the story behind the Hidden Curiosities Gin name?
It’s the name I gave to one of our popular silk scarf & pocket square designs; a very unique print designed by one of our artists for Cravat Club. When I was trying to think of names during the process of creating my gin, Hidden Curiosities was one of the strong contenders, and the more I thought about it and the character of the gin itself being complex, it made sense to call it this. I also thought it would be a great idea to implement this scarf design on the back of the Hidden Curiosities gin label too.
Can you tell us about the distillation process?
The botanicals are macerated in a premium wheat base spirit 24 hours prior to distillation, in order to get the most out of extracting the essential oils which allows for a most flavourful base to begin with. This maceration is then put into the 350 litre Arnold Holstein hand-built copper still from Germany, heated by a wood-fired steam boiler, and distilled for 6 hours. This process is all done and monitored by hand, with no machines involved.
During distillation, the distiller works out when to cut the head and tail from the heart, as only the heart (the best part) from the distillation is used for Hidden Curiosities gin. It is then given a chance to mellow and smooth out over a week. After a week, it is cut to 42% ABV and is left for a couple more days to allow for further mellowing, resulting in an incredibly smooth spirit that is at a high enough standard to easily be consumed neat. Finally, our Hidden Curiosities gin is all hand bottled, hand labelled and hand wax-dipped.
How would you describe Hidden Curiosities Gin in 3 words?
Multifaceted, Moreish, Remarkable
What makes Hidden Curiosities Gin different?
For me, it’s difficult to describe exactly in just a few words, but once you try it, it will feel like a gin that you have never tried before, but always wanted to have tasted. The most fascinating part is that it’s not a one-dimensional gin which you tire of and quickly move onto something else. It is a multi-faceted, distinctive gin which curiously transmogrifies as you drink it. You will discover flavours that you didn’t initially pick up at first - perhaps it’s a bit like a labyrinth (which may be a good name for our next gin!)?!
What's your favourite way to drink Hidden Curiosities Gin?
It is truly delicious just as it is to enjoy neat. For a longer drink, I like to add a splash of Fever-Tree tonic and garnish with pink peppercorns and green cardamom to intensify the aromatic spices.
What gins would your ideal gin cabinet contain (other than your own of course!)?
My ideal cabinet would contain a plethora of gins, but for a modestly-sized cabinet I would choose in no particular order...
Poetic License Gin, Tarquin's Gin, Silent Pool Gin, Pink Pepper Gin, Masons Gin, Conniption Navy Strength Gin, Four Pillars Gin and Navy Strength, Ponet Bishops, 58 Gin, Portobello Road Gin, Monkey 47 Gin and Rock Rose Gin.
What's next, any exciting plans?
We have just bottled our gin 2 weeks ago, and our online shop is now up and running. so we're still catching our breath a bit! But we are in the middle of approaching select bars and establishments to spread the word about Hidden Curiosities gin, and we are feeling eager enough to even enter the San Francisco World Spirits Competition next year!