The London Distillery Company has just released their first product – the TESTBED1 Gin Set. A pack of four gins made to four different recipes which demonstrate the development process undertaken to create a new London Dry Gin.
The London Distillery Company was founded in 2011 by Darren Rook, who was then joined by Production Manager Andrew Macleod Smith in May 2012. Most excitingly, they will also be producing their very own whisky, making them the first distillery in London to do so in 100 years. Whilst we’re eagerly awaiting this, they've embarked on the TESTBED Gin project to keep us thoroughly entertained.
Darren and Andrew teamed up with Jason Grizzanti from the New York Distilling Company, with the aim in mind to create a London Dry Gin inspired by the principles of the increasingly popular New Western Dry Gins.
These principles are a step away from the traditional focus on juniper-forward gin and instead allow for different botanicals to share the limelight. Naturally, the juniper must remain dominant for the gin to achieve definition but the New Western Dry principles permit a greater degree of innovation. This has meant that The London Distillery Company can use a variety of modern botanicals such as Lavender Flowers, Earl Grey Tea and Lovage Root to create a truly unique gin.
Now, for those who are unacquainted with the London arts scene, TESTBED is a creative space in a converted dairy warehouse in Battersea, South London. This is of course the perfect location for an abstract art installation or – better still – the perfect site to build a distillery. In homage to the innovative nature of the site, The London Distillery Company has decided to name their first gin after it.
An art installation at TESTBED.
They also aim to embody the principles of TESTBED in the gin itself by making the product development process as transparent as possible. To do so, they provide as much information about the gin as they possibly can – and, in the case of this first release, the power to guide the direction of future TESTBED products.
The initial gift pack contains four gins made to four different recipes, allowing you to make direct side-by-side comparisons. If you feel like it you can even give them your feedback!
This is all very well, but what do they actually taste like? We got ourselves down to the distillery to try some...
Darren telling the story of TESTBED1 Gin.
TESTBED1 Gin - £27.95
Botanicals: Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Bilberries, Pink Grapefruit Peel, Angelica Root, Earl Grey Tea.
Nose: Dusty juniper and grapefruit juice with a slightly jammy quality.
Palate: The bilberries and liquorish root come through stronger on the palate with hint of coriander.
Finish: Clean, with notes of coriander and Earl Grey Tea.
Botanicals: Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Bilberries, Pink Grapefruit Peel, Lovage Root, Liquorish Root, Bergamot Oil.
Nose: An earthy aroma greets the nose with prominent notes of lovage root and carbolic soap following.
Palate: The palate is creamy with tangy citrus notes throughout.
Finish: Delicate with the bergamot oil dominating.
Botanicals: Botanicals: Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Bilberries, Pink Grapefruit Peel, Lovage Root, Angelica Root, Liquorish Root, Bergamot Oil, Lavender Flowers.
Nose: Lavender and parma violets with a minerally character.
Palate: Fairly sweet at first with notes of liquorish and angelica root developing with time.
Finish: Lingering with the lavender and coriander dominating.
Botanicals: Botanicals: Juniper Berries, Coriander Seeds, Bilberries, Pink Grapefruit Peel, Lovage Root, Angelica Root, Liquorish Root, Bergamot Oil, Lavender Flowers (same as 1.3 but in different quantities).
Nose: Juniper with an iron-like mineral presence and a little citrus peel and sherbet lemon on the tail.
Palate: Reasonably jammy with floral and herbal lavender notes.
Finish: Long with more lavender and additional notes of lovage root.