WARNER EDWARDS GIN
And then there’s Warner Edwards gin…
Whilst two farmers' sons distilling gin in a converted 200-year old barn makes Tom Warner and Sion Edwards sound a little like bootlegging criminals, Warner Edwards is in fact one of the finest British gin distilleries in existence today. Here’s why:
A LITTLE HISTORY
Tom and Sion met at Harper Adams agricultural college in 1997. Both brought up on family farms, Sion in Wales and Tom in Harrington, the two quickly bonded over shared backgrounds and future goals. Following post-college stints in food production, they turned talk of their own company into more serious plans in 2009.
Early ideas included essential oils, growing lavender and using a still to extract the oil. Due to the short cycle of oil extraction, the idea of using the still for vodka production was also considered, but it was gin, with its ability to be produced in a small still in small batches, that was the frontrunner. After many obstacles (money, licenses, banks, money, banks, more money) the distillery finally opened in December 2012.
ABOUT THE DISTILLERY
Not all gin distilleries can boast the views and the location of Warner Edwards – and not just because of these friendly fellows.
Based at Tom’s family farm, Falls Farm, in the beautiful village of Harrington in Northamptonshire, the location benefits from natural underground springs (the water used to make Warner Edwards gin) and historically terraced fields, but is also a handy stone’s throw away from the A14 and access to major road networks.
"Every bottle of Warner Edwards Gin contains 56% natural spring water from the farm"
MAKING THE GIN
And now, for a little education.
The magnificent beast below is Curiosity – Warner Edwards’ custom built Arnold Holstein still from Germany.
With ‘quality’ at the forefront of everything the Warner Edwards team do, it was the patent that Arnold Holstein hold for the catalyser at the top of the column that made this still the still of choice for Warner Edwards gin. The catalyser contains a huge number of densely packed copper sheets through which the vapour passes. This greatly increases the interaction of the spirit with the copper.
What this means is that more impurities are removed, resulting in a much purer and cleaner spirit that comes through the condenser at the end of the process. This is key to the smoothness and palatability of Warner Edwards gin.
Curiosity’s pot is heated through a water jacket to give a more even and gradual heat distribution giving head distiller Ollie a greater control over the distillation process and the ability to produce a more consistent product batch-to-batch.
But what of the ‘curious’ name? A new floor had been laid in honour of the soon-to-arrive still. The night before the still was due to be delivered, the team visited the distillery to check that the floor was ready and dry. Ready and dry it was, however, a curious cat had wandered in, leaving paw prints in the floor… which stopped quite abruptly. With no obvious exit route, it was agreed that curiosity killed the cat, and hence the still was named as such.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GIN!
Of course, now to the most important part – the rather marvellous outcome of all this.
WARNER EDWARDS ORIGINAL DRY GIN:
Made with the farms’ pure, natural spring water, grain spirit and 11 botanicals (including home grown elderflower) this fantastically smooth and aromatic dry gin is carefully handcrafted, from the filling to the wax seal and label finishing. Soft on the nose with warm citrus from the orange peel and piney juniper Warner Edwards is a beautiful, smooth and spicy gin with a sweet and moreish lingering aftertaste. It’s a must try for any gin fan.
WARNER EDWARDS ELDERFLOWER-INFUSED GIN:
With a velvety texture and clean fruit and floral notes, including elderflower and citrus blossom, the elderflower gin was inspired by Tom's mum, Adele, after an experiment she conducted with low-value gin and elderflowers one afternoon. The text 'Inspired by Adele' is even printed in Latin on all bottles. The spirit is a fine balance between bright gin notes and complex elderflower - great with ice and Fever-Tree tonic.
WARNER EDWARDS RHUBARB GIN:
This captivating creation is made with Queen Victoria's very own rhubarb. The plant that was cut from the kitchen gardens of Buckingham Palace during the reign of Queen Victoria and after quite the journey is now organically grown on Crown Estate land in Lincolnshire, by Fraser M Key. The resulting unrestrained gin is bursting with rhubarb flavours, subtle hints of sweet spice, vanilla and nutmeg with a finish of rhubarb crumble lasts long after the gin flavours have left. We drink ours with Fever-Tree ginger ale.
WARNER EDWARDS SLOE GIN:
Infusing the global award-winning gin with hand-picked local sloes, this spicy and rich liqueur;s deep fruity flavours come together with an underlying sweetness to give a warm velvet cacophony of flavour on your palate. Super juicy, this sloe gin is a true harmony between the sloe berries and a characterful spirit. Pleasant to sip and savour straight up, with a robust character that will also stand up well with a dash of mixer.
Just like the W.E on the label - a weather vane that points from west to east, Wales to England, Warner to Edwards, water to elderflower, representing several aspects of Sion and Tom’s story, - the 'We' represents people coming together to enjoy gin.
And what better story shows this coming together than Sion and Tom’s own, in which two best friends united their dreams and created their own gin distillery? “We do it in a barn. We have field. We are two friends. We make great gin”.
And they really do. You should try it.