What is the inspiration behind St Giles Gin?
I am a life long gin lover and my job as a commercial diver has taken me across the globe, allowing me to explore gins from every continent. It has always been a dream to create my own premium spirit, so in 2017 my wife, Alison, and I put our plans into action.
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 with a beautifully smooth texture. After over 100 small scale trials Pete had identified a unique blend of botanicals that combined smoothness with a sumptuous depth of flavour.
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 Street, Norwich, which is an historic area in our beautiful city. St Giles also has links to the industry with Distillery Street running off it, so it seemed like the perfect choice. St Giles is also infamous for being the London district synonymous with 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 state of the art condensing tower. It's named Anna, after our first daughter. The still is housed in a timber clad barn just outside 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?
Delicate, refreshing, smooth.
What makes St Giles Gin different to other gins?
St. Giles Gin combines a delicate and subtle flavour profile with a velvety smoothness. Lemon grass and rose petals combine to produce a light, aromatic and refreshing contemporary gin, that boasts a complex and layered flavour journey. St. Giles gin caresses the taste buds with ‘soft whispers’ of flavours.
What's your favourite way to drink St Giles Gin gin?
St Giles Gin is best paired with a premium plain tonic so as to let the gin shine. We advise a 50:50 gin:tonic ratio to really open up the refreshing citrus and floral notes. Serve with a twist of orange and plenty of ice.
What are your favourite gins (other than your own of course!)?
So many to choose from but Sipsmith Gin and Rock Rose Gin always go down well.
Can you tell us more about the other products in your range?
In 2018 we released our Divers' Edition Navy Strength Gin. This gin boasts deep and complex flavours that linger on the palate, but still retains the St Giles trademark smoothness. Distilled with many maritime botanicals such as marsh samphire and sea kelp, the Divers Edition is my nod of respect to the seas and oceans of the planet, and of course my 30 year career in commercial diving.
The following year we released our pink fruit gin – St. Giles Raspberry, Rhubarb and Ginger Gin. Our aim was to produce a high quality offering in the fruit gin market. We use a combination of distillation and infusion to achieve the bright fresh fruit notes, but still retain a rounded depth of flavour that is missing in so many fruit gins.
The latest addition to the St Giles range is our Mandarin & Passion Fruit Gin. Launched in 2022, patient distillation ensures our signature quality in this delightful fruit gin. Head Distiller Pete was inspired by memories of beach side cocktails he’d enjoyed while on holiday and wanted to encapsulate the fresh, vibrant and exotic notes he remembered so well. This versatile gin works beautifully in a G and T and also provides a fabulous base for cocktails, our favourite being a passion fruit Martini.
What's next for St Giles Gin - any exciting plans?
Our seasonal Spiced Orange and Cranberry Gin has built a huge following since its first release, and is now a regular offering during the colder months. The success of this as a winter gin has prompted us to look further into the Limited Edition market. We are enjoying experimenting with new flavour profiles which perfectly reflect a mood, season or event. Our trials are providing some exciting results, so watch this space!
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