Located a stone's throw from both the city centre of Winchester and the western end of the South Downs Way, close to the rolling countryside, clear chalk streams and the watercress beds Hampshire is known for, you will find Winchester Distillery, home of Twisted Nose Gin.
Launched by Paul Bowler in 2014 from his small home kitchen in central Winchester, he soon outgrew the space he had at home and created a distillery space nearby. Having been forced to move premises during lockdown, Winchester Distillery found its new home complete with a 150L bain marie still and a 500L iStill for vodka, rum and whiskey production, with barrels becoming an increasingly prominent feature of the distillery.
The distillery is open for tours and tastings on most Saturdays and they have achieved such popularity and positive reviews that it is typically worthwhile booking several months in advance. On the tours, usually led by Paul himself, you'll take a fun but informative deep dive into the production processes and sample three of their spirits in a tutored tasting.
Each tour and tasting lasts approximately 90 minutes, is capped at no more than 18 people, and includes exclusive access to the distillery shop for those who wish to take something home.
Beyond their flagship Twisted Nose Gin which features local Hampshire watercress, Winchester Distillery boasts a range of gins and seasonal limited editions, including their Old Tom Gin, Winchester 'Round Table' Gin, and 'Gunpowder' Navy Strength Gin made with Gunpowder Tea. Meanwhile, vodka and aged spirits are increasingly part of the plans for the future. Paul explains:
"Our ambition is to continue building our reputation as a distillery and expanding our portfolio of high-quality spirits. In 2023 we launched a Golden Rum and White Rum, both of which have received great reviews. We released a Limited Edition Apple Brandy which we've been ageing for the past 3 years; it's full of stewed Hampshire cider apples, and sweet spices and has a spectacularly rich fruity flavour. Letting you into a little secret too, we have our own single malt whiskey currently ageing for future release."
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