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Gilbert White Gin is a joint project between Gilbert White’s House and Winchester Distillery. The current release is a limited edition number 4, the “WILD Edition”. WILD is a collective of four female artists who held an exhibition of works inspired by words of Gilbert White and the scenic landscape of Selborne. Some of their artworks feature on the label.
Gilbert White was an experimental, keen and enthusiastic gardener (as well as a pioneering naturalist and ornithologist parson!) who was born in Selborne, Hampshire where the White family house remains to this day. The house is known as The Wakes and houses the Gilbert White museum as well as the Oates collection (an Antarctic exhibition dedicated to Captain Oates, who accompanied Captain Scott to the South Pole in 1912).
At The Wakes in Selborne there are 30 acres of ancient parkland and carefully restored gardens which have been looked after by head gardener David Standing since 1979. Perhaps the idea of producing a gin from the gardens is not so unusual and White himself apparently used to make a wide variety of brews and wines made with plants from the gardens. All the botanicals for the Gilbert White Gin (with the exception of he juniper) are hand-picked by David.
Gilbert White Gin is made using 5 traditional gin bontanicals – Juniper berries, Coriander seed, Angelica root, Orris root and Liquorice root with fresh botanicals, hand harvested from White’s garden. The fresh botanicals vary from batch to batch. Previous batches have included Pineapple Mint, Bay Leaves, Common Sage, French Tarragon, Summer Savoury and Rosehip. Batch No 4 includes Rosehip, Rosemary, Sage, Mint Thyme and Lavender, so as one might imagine it is always a herbaceous style of gin.
Gilbert White Gin is distilled at Winchester Distillery who are probably best known for their Twisted Nose Watercress Dry Gin. All of their gins are small batch distilled in traditional copper pot stills.