Recently we took a few lucky customers to “The home of Gin” (as the English like to say) to visit two very different English Gin Distilleries. We were all very interested to see what was happening ‘across the water?” Our first stop was in South London to see the brand new distillery at Haymans of London. What an impressive set up these guys have here, and they are rightly very proud of their new home. The Haymans family have been making what they call “True English Gin” since 1863, using authentic period recipes and the traditional and rarely used 2-day process that lie at the heart of the famously balanced English Gin style. We arrived on a sunny Tuesday morning after a very early flight out of Dublin.
On entering the building it felt and looked more like a high-end bespoke designer furniture showroom, rather than a distillery, with a lovely, carefully placed selection of colourful, contemporary and retro soft furnishings. A scan of the room then fixed my eyes on the main show piece; the distilling section which took up the whole back wall..
This amazingly clean and shiny section was made up of 3 steel and copper stills, named after female members of the Haymans family – Marjorie, Karin & Miranda. This is where the magic happens, although the craft happens elsewhere, in the ‘Lab’ – a small room where the careful blending of ingredients (aka botanicals) is done. This is how a distiller creates their own style, whether it be classic with typical juniper, coriander, citrus mix or more modern with funky ingredients like ‘eye of newt’ (kidding).
As soon as we put our bags down we were brought upstairs to their show bar and served up a prefect G&T using Haymans Dry Gin. I think they could see that we needed it ! If you like a classic G&T with lots of juniper, spice and citrus? Then this is as good as it gets. I could literally taste every individual flavour of 10 botanicals that go into the gins. As pure as they come. After that we were given a fantastic tour, followed by a blending exercise in ‘The Lab’ . Here, we learned about the various botanicals and what they each give to the flavour of the various gins that are made at Haymans of London.
Then we had a fantastic tasting of 4 different gins – Dry Gin, Sloe Gin, Old Tom (a lightly sweetened gin that has it’s origins in 19th Century England) & Gently Rested (again an authentic style which replicates the style of gin served in Victorian Gin Palaces, where gin was served out of barrels and would typically be in contact with the wooden barrels for up to 3 weeks before being refilled). So Haymans Gently Rested gin is ‘rested’ in oak barrels for 3 weeks to impart some oak texture to the gin. This gives a fuller mouthfeel and allows this gin to be sipped as well as mixed. We then moved back upstairs to the training bar to make some cocktails with the different types of gin.
We were then sent on our merry way with a lovely goodie bag and very fond memories. Thanks to Lee & Chris for a fantastic experience.
*All information on the Haymans of London gin range can be found on our website and trade brochure. Speak to your rep for more details.