Yes, we have another gin.
After lagging behind all the London based distilleries popping up, it seems that Manchester and Salford are definitely catching up. Worsley Gin arrived late last year – appearing in my Instagram feed first, and I don’t mind admitting, the glossiness of it worried me a little. Lots of rose gold, deep dark blue, a snazzy bottle. It was so damn pretty – the thought ‘all fur coat and no knickers’ did run through my head.
Which is why when I met Ned, the gent behind the gin, I had my reservations. Was I going to meet this chap, sample the gin and, be disappointed by it? Not like it? Not like him?
I should have been more trusting in my experience of the gin industry. For the most part (yeah, there are exceptions) much like beer people, gin people are good people.
Even so, Ned isn’t part of the industry per se, so I had a few questions. Starting with where did it all start – why gin?
The idea of premium gin has been around for years and much longer than I have been passionate about creating something real – my journey started because I love my family and friends, and can think of nothing better than an evening socialising in their company over a nice drink or three – however on the occasions that we did get together and enjoy an evening of drinks, we could always find a premium vodka, a luxury rum and of course being in the UK we have the world’s finest whiskeys, but there was never a truly exceptional gin product on offer that had great design and story to match its provenance. So, after one of the evenings of enjoying a drink or three, I got to thinking about what that might look like.
Two years later and it has been a long and arduous labour of love to source the finest botanicals, develop the recipe built upon cutting edge science and build a brand which befits the quality and exclusivity of the product. I have refused to compromise on anything – from selecting botanicals based upon their molecular structure for ultimate compatibility, to working with a master distiller whose knowledge and experience are unrivalled in the industry. Not one element of our Gin is produced in a mass production homogenous environment. Our glass is sourced from Italy to give a bottle which matches the distinction of the spirit it encases and our label and packaging are designed by a leading small boutique and produced using the highest quality materials.
Our plans for the brand revolve around a taste and product led introduction to the market and organic growth based upon building a following of gin enthusiasts who understand the provenance and commitment to the product. We do not have ambitions to be stocked in supermarkets or be available in every bar, we want to ensure that we are stocked exclusively in outlets that can give our customers the right experience. We know this means that we will remain smaller for longer and that is intentional.
And, simply, why Worsley?
People would automatically presume that because I live in Worsley and have grown up in the area that I would want to call my Gin after my home village. It was definitely a contributing factor as I am really proud of the village, however the real reason is actually down to the Duke of Bridgewater and his commitment to creating the Bridgewater Canal.
The Duke believed so much in the concept of the canal, and what this could mean for local and national industry that he invested literally everything he had to bring the vision to be a reality. All of his fortune, professional and personal, and his reputation and integrity were put on the line to deliver the project. It took him to the brink, and yet he continued because he knew it was the right thing to do and he believed in it.
I truly believe that despite their being over 4000 gins available now, and daily announcements of distilleries opening and new products entering the market, that none of them deliver for the gin connoisseur what Worsley Gin delivers in terms of quality of product, significant provenance and luxury branding. I have invested everything into turning the dream into a reality, and I will continue to utilise all of my available resources as I try and take people on a journey of a very different gin story!
So after all that – let’s get to the gin.
Worsley Gin is made by Dr J – no stranger to the gin game. Dr John Walters (to give him his full name) is the distiller (and biochemist) behind the English Spirit Company based in Cambridge. The gin is a London Dry style gin, and the botanicals include juniper, grapefruit, mandarin leaf, coriander, wild buttercups, dandelions and rose from Ned’s Father’s garden in Worsley. Three botanicals remain a highly guarded secret.
In near, the nose is strong! There’s spice, a kick of coriander citrus, and florals. It’s layered. On the palate, again it’s punchy – and again lots of layers, though not unpleasant, or as intense as the nose would suggest. Lingering hint of pepper on the tongue with a hint of grapefruit bitterness.
In a G&T it’s much softer. There’s lots of oils from the botanicals in this, and you can see the oil as the G&T gently louches. On the palate, the juniper sits firmly at the back, a hint of earthiness, florals, and the grapefruit stands out. Then that floral bitterness from the grapefruit lingers. If you like grapefruit, if you like a gin that has a lot of layers and something that could be very interesting in cocktails, then this is for you.
You can get your hands on Worsley Gin either direct from their website, or you can try it at Georges Bar and Dining Rooms, Worsley, The John Gilbert, Worsley, Menagerie, Manchester, Fress Restaurant, Manchester, Seven Bro7hers Beer House, Manchester or in Libertys Gin Bar, Culcheth.