William’s Gin was 2 years in the making, with gin fans having to wait until the team had created their award winning potato based Vodka first. It was worth the wait as the result, William’s Gin (also known as Chase Gin) is balanced, elegant and crisp with a strong juniper mouthful that is nicely complimented by citrus notes.
The story of William’s Gin begins with vodka. The initial process required to create vodka and gin is pretty similar, as you need to create a neutral base spirit that has been distilled to above 96% ABV. Vodka is in essence a refined, high quality neutral spirit that has been reduced to bottling strength. To create gin however, you need to flavour the neutral spirit with other botanicals, where juniper is the predominant flavour, before reducing it to bottling strength.
After creating their vodka, they turned their attention to producing gin. Unfortunately, the potatos used to create their base spirit had left so much character, it over powered the botanicals that go into Chase Gin. With this in mind, the team at Chase began the process again, this time turning to their own organic apple orchard on the farm to create a new base spirit (the result actually ended in a spirit that was good enough to bottle without further infusions and is now sold as Naked Chase Vodka).
To convert this base spirit into William’s Gin, they distill the spirit with juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, orris, orange and lemon peel, hops, elderflower and fresh Bramley apples in a small Carter-Head Still (affectionately named “Ginny”). Many of these botanicals are sourced from the farm directly outside their Herefordshire distillery, namely the fresh apples from the orchard.
Bottled at 48% ABV, the gin has a strong juniper presence on the nose that is complemented by crisp citrus. On the palate juniper is at the forefront again, before a citrus flavour takes over, with the coriander, angelica and liquorice all also contributing to create a long spicy finish. The apple base can be brought out further by serving a slice of apple as a garnish in a G&T, but is also discernable when tasted neat.
The bottle is more reminiscent of a vodka bottle, but this is to be expected considering both the product and distiller’s origins. Tall, slender with graphic outlines of the orchard trees and reassuringly heavy, the bottling doesn’t let the contents down. Also contributing to the more ephemeral aspects that surround the gin is the story behind the creation of Chase Gin. Not only does it resonate with anyone who is involved in the production of spirits but it is also a true account of just how long it takes to get things started and then get them right -
With no relationship with the end consumer and having farmed potatoes for 20 years (mainly supplying supermarkets as a commodity), William Chase started to feel detached. In 2002 he decided to travel around the world to source equipment and recipes to make potato chips and by the summer, “Tyrrells” was born. It was only in 2004, whilst traveling in the USA looking for packaging equipment for the chips, did the idea to create vodka come into his mind. It took 4 years to make the first batch of vodka in June 2008 and a further 2 years and a change in the base of the main neutral spirit to create William’s Gin.
This ongoing journey is something that is echoed in the end spirit and with the advantage of passion and authenticity, the Chase team has created a gin that could really compete in a fierce market place. No stranger to the more marketing lead aspects of building brands either (Tyrell’s crisps now both widely recognized and stocked) they have the combination of good product, know-how, integrity and enthusiasm to turn William’s Gin into a regular sighting on shelves across the UK. With supermarkets now stocking it more widely already, all the signs are there and 2012 should be a big year for the brand. Furthermore – providence is always something that appeals to people, and so it should. Being able to show where the ingredients are grown and how this is all converted into the final spirit breaks down many barriers and helps understand what a product is all about. Knowing where and how something is made is a powerful message that the Chase team have in abundance - their Herefordshire farm is vast. It’s been great to see the first forrays into showcasing this to a wider audience as well as the bartender community with events such as Rock the Farm and we look forward to seeing how they build on the success they have already amassed.
To find out more about William’s Gin, visit there website:
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