What is the inspiration behind St Giles Gin?
Simon Melton, the founder of St. Giles Gin, has been a gin enthusiast for many years and having worked as a professional diver he has been fortunate enough to travel extensively and had the opportunity to sample a wide variety of gins, from all over the world. After trying so many different gins Simon decided he would like to create his own, inspired by his travels abroad.
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
The initial direction given to our distiller, Pete Margree, was that we wanted to produce a gin that was so smooth it could be enjoyed, like a fine malt whisky, on its own with ice. Once Pete had developed that smoothness for a fine sipping gin we then worked on the flavour. We were in no hurry to bring our gin to the marketplace as we wanted it to be just right. Pete made well over 80 different gins, and we enjoyed lots of tasting sessions, before we settled on the recipe for St. Giles Gin.
What’s the story behind the St Giles Gin name?
Our gin was born in Norwich and we wanted a name to reflect that. We have a house in St Giles which is an historic area in the beautiful city in Norwich. St Giles Road used to have a Distillery Street that ran off it so it seemed like the perfect choice. St Giles is also infamous for being the London location of the 18th Century gin craze.
What's the distillery like and can you tell us about the distillation process?
Our custom built, hand made, 400L copper still came from Germany and took five months to build to our specification. We wanted to purchase the very best so we asked that ours also had a triple distillation column, botanical basket and a complex condensing tower. It's named Anna, after our first daughter. The still is housed in a timber clad barn just outside the fine city of Norwich. We distill our gin very slowly and are meticulous with our temperature control in order to replicate the high quality of gin in each batch.
What's a normal day at the distillery like for you?
It's a family business so we are all involved. Pete does the distilling and can usually be seen staring though the viewing glass or carefully monitoring flow rates to ensure that the delicate flavours and smoothness of St. Giles Gin are retained throughout the process. The rest of us help with the bottling, labelling, marketing, selling and delivering.
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Refreshingly smooth and floral
What makes St Giles Gin different to other gins?
Unlike many gins St. Giles Gin is so smooth it can be enjoyed on its own, but for those that prefer a longer drink its great with a premium tonic and a twist of orange. It contains a complex blend of flavours, it has a soft fruitiness on the palate and finishes with refreshing citrus and delicate floral notes. We’ve also found that a lot of non gin drinkers have been converted to gin after sampling St. Giles Gin!
What's your favourite way to drink St Giles Gin gin?
Good question! Simon drinks his on its own with ice and a twist of orange. Pete, our distiller, prefers his with Double Dutch tonic. Simon’s wife, Alison, enjoys drinking St. Giles Gin with Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade.
What are your favourite gins (other than your own of course!)?
So many to choose from but Sipsmith Gin, Martin Miller's Gin and Rock Rose Gin always go down well.
What's next / any exciting plans?
We have lots of plans for bringing out other gins. We are currently working on a 'Diver’s Edition' which is a more robust gin for the gin connoisseur.