Westward Farm Gin From The Isles Of Scilly
So we have another Cornish gin gracing our shelves (and website) with its presence. How many is that now? It's certainly getting harder to keep count as a new one seems to appear every few months! This one, or should I say three to be exact, are very different though as they hail from St. Agnes in the Isles of Scilly and are made in a truly small batch process with only 28 bottles being produced in a single run!
The gin is distilled by Aiden and Grace Hicks at Westward Farm, an amazingly beautiful location that has been run by the same family for centuries. It's not just gin that is made there as you can also buy eggs, honey, meat, apple juice, cider and hand made toiletries. You can even go and stay there in a gorgeous wooden lodge if you fancy a trip to the island. (You can see more about that here.)
So the guys at Westward Farm have gone from distilling essential oils for their beauty products to distilling gin, a process that bears many similarities with one another. The bottles themselves look great with labels that are designed to look yellowed with age. Each bottle bears the batch number and is signed by the individual who bottled the gin.
Of particular interest is the symbol of a tree displayed on each bottle. This 'Tree of Life' symbol has significance in Celtic, Norse and Christian mythologies and religion. The Isles of Scilly was influenced throughout ancient history by all of these cultures.
It's believed that this is where King Olaf of Norway, a Norseman who had previously plundered Christian cities in the 9th century, met a Christian seer who converted him to the religion after predicting his future. Reports also indicate a Viking attack occurred during the 12th century, perpetrated by Norse colonists living on the Orkney Isles off Scotland. A Christian abbey also once existed on Tresco, although this was decommissioned during King Henry VIII's Reformation away from the Catholic Church. If we ever find out the meaning of this tree and why it's displayed on the labels of these gins, we will be sure to let you know!
This gin contains botanicals from far flung locales such as Java and Africa but also ones grown on Westward Farm; however, they are remaining tight lipped about exactly what botanicals these are! These mystery botanicals are vapour infused with pure grain spirit in some of the smallest batches we have ever heard of, just 28 bottles at a time. This ensures that the best of each botanical is extracted and no flavours are lost. The gin is fresh and vibrant with citrus and juniper at the fore along with peppery notes.
Surely up for an award for the funniest named gin of all time, Wingletang Gin is named after the gorse that is found on the Wingletang Downs on St. Agnes. Westward Farm's aim here is to capture the essence of the gorse, it's aroma on a sunny day strolling over the Downs. This means they purportedly pick the gorse on sunny spring mornings before distilling them in a vacuum at low temperatures so as not to damage the flavours. When combined with the spiciness of the other botanicals, the nutty flavours of the gorse compliment beautifully.
As mentioned earlier, Westward Farm make all manor of potions and lotions, many of which are created using essential oils distilled on the premises. Rose geranium has been grown and distilled on the farm for just this purpose for many years and it was inevitable that it would be used as a botanical in one of their gins. This warm and floral gin is recommended to be served neat on the rocks with a twist of lemon to really appreciate the harmonious marriage of juniper and geranium.