My first experience of gin was discovering the collection of bottles sitting under the stairs at my Grandmother's house, all graced with the Greenall Whitley family name. Being inquisitive, I was eager to learn more about this mysterious liquid that my family had been distilling since 1762.
My fascination with gin and its complex distillation process had begun; and under my Grandmother's expert guidance, I learnt how, by simply infusing the crisp sharpness of juniper berries with a variety of other flavours & aromas, the taste could change dramatically.
And for me that was the attraction. I was like an alchemist and from that moment onwards, I was driven to create a blend of gin that captured my family's passion and something altogether more exotic, enigmatic and mysterious.
I'd become intrigued by Africa over the years, mainly due to the evocative tales told to me by my wife, who is from Africa. She spoke fondly of the African Baobab Tree, which is known as the tree of life due to its capability of storing water in its wide trunk.
I distilled the tart fruit pulp to release a distinctive citrus flavour, quite unlike any other. And to reflect the role the Baobab tree played in the creation of Whitley Neill, I decided to make its distinctive roots-up silhouette the symbol of our brand.
My next botanical was the Physalis Peruviana or Cape Gooseberry as it's known in South Africa. These flavoursome bitter-sweet berries added a whole new dimension to the aroma.
I then took 6 other carefully selected botanicals to create my secret recipe, but that's a whole different story...
I carried out this process in very small batches inside Constance, our 100 year old copper pot still.
And from this unique blend of botanicals, African inspiration and slow, deliberate distillation,
Whitley Neill gin was born.