Hampshire Fine Old Tom Dry Gin is the latest addition to the range of Hampshire Gins made by Paul Bowler and his team at the Winchester Distillery.
Hampshire Fine Old Tom Dry Gin is a small batch, micro distilled 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. Hampshire Old Tom Gin is pot distilled with six traditional botanicals – juniper berries, liquorice root, coriander seed, bitter orange peel, angelica root and calamus root (also found in Silverback Gin). This is then carefully blended with a malt spirit created at the distillery, which has been double distilled in pot still, Persephone. The elevated levels of liquorice root in the botanical mix create an earthy, sweeter-tasting spirit, typical of the Old Tom style. As Old Tom was transported in, and even served directly from, a barrel – the wood character adding further body, texture and sweet spice flavours – this gin has been rested in lightly toasted French oak casks before bottling.
A little bit about Old Tom Gin….. Old Tom Gin is an old-fashioned style of gin that was popular in the 18th Century. It is sweeter in style than a London Dry Gin, but not as sweet in style as some Genevers. In the 18th Century gin was often stored or transported in wooden casks or containers of some sort and served direct from the barrel. These wooden barrels would impart a little oaky character and also soften the spirit. Old Tom Gins also tended to have a lot of botanicals and sweeteners added to cover up slightly more primitive distilling techniques. Resting the gin in wood, would produce a much more palatable spirit. Often the sweetening agent would be liquorice root because it was a lot more affordable then honey or sugar. As distilling techniques improved the need for masking the spirit became less and there was a mover towards the cleaner, dryer style of gin that we know today.