Raise a glass to the flavours of Coquetdale

Hepple Gin
Hepple Gin

A new gin has been launched which captures the flavours of Coquetdale.

Hepple Gin is made by the Moorland Spirit Company, adapting old techniques and pioneering new ones.

Chef Valentine Warner, world-renowned barman Nick Strangeway, drinks developer Cairbry Hill, countryman Walter Riddell and distiller Chris Garden have together created a gin that they say tastes as invigorating as the north wind and as refreshing as a plunge in a hilltop pool.

“The notion of what makes a great gin lies at the heart of every decision we have made at Hepple,” said Valentine. “We felt that juniper must lead and that only by combining both its ripe and young green stages can we reveal the full range of its life and flavours. Woven into this is an array of botanicals that are as lively in the bottle as they are side by side in the northerly wind.”

Nick and Valentine asked scientist and drink developer Cairbry to design the most advanced flavour-focused distillery possible, right in the heart of Hepple.

Cairbry said: “To capture the full flavour spectrum of each botanical we have to go beyond the conventional. Our method is very time consuming, but does reveal each botanical with unusual fidelity.”

As well as a copper pot still, the distillery at Hepple houses two advanced systems. A glass still utilises vacuum distillation to capture fresh, zesty notes from local botanicals that are sourced locally, including from the young green juniper.

Another system uses high-pressure extraction to release the ripe juniper berries, delivering further tiers of flavour, texture and finish.

Chris said: “By using three different processes for juniper we can layer what we could describe as the bass, the tenor and the soprano parts of what is gin’s traditional leading act.”

Nick described the qualities of Hepple Gin: “Our unique gin-making method allows botanicals to ring through with great clarity individually and in exceptional harmony together.”

Walter, who owns the Hepple junipers, added: “Only by pooling their rather unconventional expertise could the founders have created this gin.”

Hepple is available exclusively from Fortnum & Mason (www.fortnumandmason.com) this month.