Hampshire Navy Strength Gunpowder Gin was first releases in Spring 2017 and is bottled at 57% abv. This brings the full range of Hampshire Gins from Winchester Distillery to 6 different bottlings including the very limited seasonal range (Spring Meadow Gin, Summer Garden Gin, Autumn Hedgerow Gin and Winter Wassail) and the permanent addition, the Hampshire Fine Dry Gin made in the classic London Dry style.
Hampshire Navy Strength Gunpowder Gin is a small batch, micro distilled gin. As with all of Winchester Distillery’s gins, this is distilled in a traditional copper pot still, a descendent of the alembic still, used to make batches of spirits, unlike the continuous distillation of large, more commercial column stills. Pot stills produce a very fine grade of spirit. The botanicals are gently crushed, mixed and macerated pure, neutral spirit to release the oils that give the gin its characteristic flavours. The spirit and macerated botanicals are then re-distilled in the pot still and only the heart of the distillate is used for the final bottling.
As mentioned above, Hampshire Navy Strength Gunpowder Gin is bottled at 57% ABV. The origins of Navy Strength Gin derives from the 18th Century when the Royal Navy became suspicious that their various gin suppliers where perhaps diluting the gin before supplying it. A simple test was devised by some clever soul who found that if gunpowder was wetted with weak gin it would not light, but if the gin was was at least 114 proof, or 57% ABV, the gunpowder would still ignite. Hence 57% became Navy Strength. Read more here.
In keeping with the nautical theme the Hampshire Navy Strength Gunpowder Gin botanicals include Sea Buckthorn, a deciduous shrub, whose sour, orange berries will be familiar to anyone who has walked the UK coast, and Gunpowder Tea from Char Teas in Winchester. There is also juniper, of course, coriander, angelica and orris root and a couple of others. The Sea Buckthorn imparts citrus character. The increased ABV means than the oils extracted from the botanicals during distillation are much more concentrated than a normal strength gin producing a fuller gin with a silky mouth-feel.