Nestled in the heart of England, on the banks of the River Avon stands a small village. Downton is a site of great cultural heritage which can be traced back to Neolithic, Iron Age, Roman and Saxon times. The Downton Manor is a Grade I listed building that is said to be one of the longest inhabited houses in the South of England.
The Manor House became a valued centre of England in 1380, when it belonged to the Bishop of Winchester, William of Wykeham. It remained the residence of his successors until its lease for grace and favour to Queen Elizabeth I in 1560. She would later gift the Manor House to her favourite rising star of the Royal Court, Sir Walter Raleigh.
Having been gifted Downton Manor House, Raleigh set to charm Queen Elizabeth to pursue his dreams of colonizing the new world, which we know today as America. Raleigh invited her to stay, but not before having made significant improvements to the property: from the Raleigh coat of arms, still standing above the household fireplace, to the addition of a first floor, created from a ship which Raleigh sailed up the River Avon. His efforts proved fruitful and in 1584, he was granted patent to explore and settle America, now Virginia.
Explorer’s Gin is a handmade, small batch (100 bottles) Premium London Dry Gin created using the one-shot method. We macerate our fifteen botanicals, then vapour infuse our fresh botanicals to create a spirit of distinction.
Being a London dry gin means nothing else is added to Explorer’s Gin post distillation except our spring water which filters down from the New Forest and the surrounding Chalk Downs.
SCENTS OF ADVENTURE
Nose: Citrus and floral fragrances with warming undertones of pepper with red cedar providing the backbone.
Palate: Juniper provides the initial notes, but this gives way to the bright fresh citrus which rolls on your tongue. Verbena provides a mellow creaminess, with the peppers providing the warmth at the back of the mouth. Western red cedar brings back those memories of being in a pine wood in the summer. As the szechuan pepper oil oxidises on your tongue it causes the mouth to start cool providing the subtle mint note. This then enhance the tail notes of fennel seed and liquorice providing the final flourish that lingers in the mouth.
Finish: Close your eyes and let your palate explore the subtle flavours, as Explorer’s Gin enriches your senses. Being a London dry it will leave you wanting more.
Explorers Gin by Downton Distillery really is an exceptional gin! First you need to get over how stunning the glass bottle is, I mean it’s a deep sea dark teal colour for a start, covered in a golden compass and navigation chart! It’s a stunning bottle!
When you pull the cork out of the bottle you can see and smell the wonderful aroma, teasing you to pour! When mixed with ice and tonic the gin turns from crystal clear to cloudy and mysterious (now for the science bit?) this is due to the temperature change, causing the alcohol to expand and contract thus releasing flavoursome oils from the gin, giving Explorers gin it’s unique taste!
On the nose you get citrus and pine with a peppery undertone. On the palette you get juniper and a pop of citrus, hints of florals and a warming peppery flavour which makes way for an explosion of pine wood coming from the star of the show…the western red cedar!! You finish off with a slight minty refreshing taste in your mouth, and every sip is interpreted slightly differently!! You are free to ‘explore’ with different tonics but we paired it with Fever-Tree light Indian tonic water and a slice of juicy orange to garnish and the gin really shone!
This gin is not for the faint-hearted, 44% ABV and it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, the woody notes are strong, but if you’re looking for a truly unique tasting gin that takes you on a rollercoaster of flavours then look no further!! At £40 a bottle this is really good value for money and when you think what a beautiful statement piece the bottle is, let alone the gin you can appreciate the price!! Downton Distillery is situated within a grade 1 listed barn, adjacent to Downton Manor…former home of Sir Walter Raleigh! The history of the place will blow your mind, as will the gin!!! Cheers!!?