Tell us more about your family history in gin and distilling?
You could say that gin runs in my blood! My father was a Director of G & J Greenall, my Father’s Uncle was Chairman, and my Great Grandfather was Managing Director. My Grandmother’s family were the owners of the Greenall’s distillery in Warrington and my first experience of gin was discovering the collection of bottles sitting under the stairs at her house! I’m descended from Thomas Greenall, who founded Greenalls in 1762, so there’s a lot of gin history in my family.
What did you do before creating Whitley Neill Gin?
I didn’t start out in the family business. After university I did something totally different to distilling and worked in several dry finance jobs, my last position being an analyst with a Property Fund Management company delivering their performance benchmarking.
Although I really enjoyed the people I worked with, spreadsheets weren’t really my thing and I dreamed about creating my own gin based on my family’s distilling heritage and quality. So, in 2004, I began setting up my first venture, Whitley Neill Gin, which now has several variants. More recently I’ve launched a new super-premium gin, Marylebone Gin.
What was the inspiration behind Whitley Neill Gin?
For Whitley Neill, provenance was important to me. For inspiration I looked first at South Africa, my wife’s home, and quickly found some exciting flavours and aromas that could be derived from the flower, seed, root or other parts of indigenous plants there. I researched several native South African plants, eventually deciding on the Baobab tree and Cape Gooseberries (physalis) as the main botanicals. Both these when distilled individually give the very unique and very different citrus notes that are now an intrinsic part of Whitley Neill Gin.
How would you describe Whitley Neill Gin in 3 words?
Punchy, Delicate, Different!
What makes Whitley Neill Gin different?
Whether you like fruity flavoured gins like Rhubarb & Ginger or something more citrussy like the original baobab-based Whitley Neill, or something more exotic like Whitley Neill Quince Gin, the Whitley Neill range has something for everyone. The gins are versatile too and ideal as a cocktail base, as well as making a great pairing with Lamb & Watt Tonics. The other great thing about Whitley Neill is that the bottles look great too, so avid fans tend to work towards collecting the entire range.
What is your favourite way to drink Whitley Neill Gin?
I love Whitley Neill as a traditional Martini or in a White Lady.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
I have a lovely gin called Ginscape from Danish producer, it has Sea Buckthorn as one of its ingredients. I always enjoy Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin and a bit of Pink Pepper Gin too.
What's next and do you have any exciting plans you can share?
The Whitley Neill spirits range is constantly evolving, we’ve recently launched Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin and Whitley Neill Raspberry Gin and yes, there are even more new products to come soon!
Find out more and read our verdict in our Whitley Neill Gin Review