Hampshire Fine Dry Gin is a new addition to the range of Hampshire Gin range made by distiller Paul Bowler at the Winchester Distillery. Following on from the huge success of Twisted Nose Watercress Gin and the very limited seasonal Hampshire Gin range (Spring Meadow Gin, Summer Garden Gin, Autumn Hedgerow Gin and Winter Wassail), Paul was under pressure to produce a permanently available Hampshire Gin. After three years of research and and experimenting with different processes and botanicals, in April 2017, Hampshire Fine Dry Gin was launched as a permanent fixture to his range of gins.
Hampshire Fine Dry Gin is a small batch, micro distilled London Dry Gin. London Gin is a gin that is made by re-distilling alcohol in the presence of botanicals in traditional stills. Most importantly all the ingredients must be natural and no colouring or flavourings can be added. The resultant gin must also have less than 0.1 g/L of sugar. This is basically what most people think of when they think of gin. All of the gins at Winchester Distillery are distilled in a traditional copper pot still, a descendant of the alembic still, used to make small batches of spirits, unlike the continuous distillation of large, more commercial column stills.
There are 6 botanicals in Hampshire Fine Dry Gin including juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon and lime. The production method for this gins varies a little compared to the other Hampshire Gins produced: the dry botanicals macerated and distilled in the pot still as normal whilst the fresh citrus peel’s flavours and aromas are extracted by “vapour infusion”. This means the peel sits in a basket above the boiling alcohol with the alcohol vapour passing through it on its journey through the still. As Paul Bowler explains, the “process of vapour infusion retains the bright, zesty flavours of the fresh fruit without them becoming stewed, additionally creating a spirit rich in essential oils giving a silky mouth-feel and lemon-sherbet finish”.