Did you know 70% of all gin made in the UK is produced in Scotland – Hendrick’s, Tanqueray and Gordon’s for instance. In recent years, we’ve seen some of the great whisky producers creating fantastic gins like Bruichladicch with The Botanist, but gin-only distilleries are popping up in Scotland at almost the same rate as they are in England.
Pickering’s Original 1947 Gin is made at Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh’s first gin distillery in over 150 years and the culmination of the passion and hard work of business partners Matthew Gammell and Marcus Pickering.
Matthew and Marcus were heavily involved in the redevelopment of the Summerhall Arts Centre in Edinburgh and realised early on that it would be a great place to house a distillery, particularly as the first known occupants ran a brewery on the site in the 1700s before its eventual evolution into The Royal School of Veterinary Studies, affectionately known to all as the Dick Vet.
Matthew is an engineer by trade and a gin-lover, while Marcus was a butler at Skibo Castle where his love of gin and the distilling process grew as he made cocktails and took local distillery tours.
Using a 500litre copper still called Gert (built in Portugal and named after Matts’s Great-Granny), using an old Bombay recipe given to Marcus’s family dating back to 1947, as their starting point, Pickering’s gin was born in 2014, quickly followed by a Navy Strength version.
When I met Marcus and Matt in Melbourne last November to chat all things gin, they kindly gave me a bottle of Pickering’s Original 1947, which was made precisely to the original recipe written down in Mount Mary, Bombay in, you’ve guessed it, 1947!
Casting my over the list of botanicals: juniper, coriander, cardamom, fennel, anise, lemon, lime, cloves and cinnamon, I sensed that Pickering’s Original 1947 gin was going to be spicy. I’ll admit to a little concern over fennel, anise AND cloves, all really bold flavours that could easily overpower or clash with the juniper. I need not have worried!
On the nose, it’s juniper pine and some citrus. The juniper flavour quickly leads on to warm spicy tones before a peppery, dry finish. It’s incredibly smooth with a superb mouth feel and a flavour that lingers in a delicious way.
I garnished my G&T with coriander and lime to play against the spice notes and it was an aromatic delight, but it works equally well with strawberry and black pepper! I also made a lovely Cosmopolitan with it too! Pickering’s Original 1947 gin adds a great depth to a Negroni and would make an excellent Gimlet.
Country of Origin: Scotland
For more information on Scottish gins visit the Gin Club Scotland.