Sacred is a name that has been part of the London distillery scene for the past few years, and one feature that takes pride over them all is the fascinating story behind its creation.
Sacred Microdistillery was established in London in 2009 by Ian Hart and Hilary Whitney. Their initial idea of creating gin has now expanded to include flavoured vodkas using their distinct vacuum process. Based within a residential street in Highgate, the knowledge of Ian’s days from studying for his Cambridge Natural Sciences degree shine. Originally though, he was more concerned about re-engineering the vintage wine he’d been collecting, but after taking delivery of some neutral grain spirit and botanicals, the idea of gin creation blossomed.
Ian created something unique, using twelve organically sourced botanicals (including fresh-cut citrus, juniper, cardamom, nutmeg and a type of frankincense called Boswellia sacra) which are each macerated with English wheat grain spirit before being diluted with distilled water and then distilled separately in glassware under vacuum.
Once bottled, Ian initially hand delivered stock to local bars and restaurants in London until popularity meant he had to find help from a local distributor. I say popularity – Sacred was winning awards. Sacred Gin came first in its category in the Ginmasters 2009 competition, Gold in the Micro-distilleries Vodka Masters 2010 by The Spirits Business and placed in the top three alongside Hendrick’s and Tanqueray 10 gins in another blind tasting organised by Imbibe magazine.
I’ve been lucky enough to try Ian’s individual distillates of the botanicals, so below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Clean nose with only a slight juniper aroma. Surprisingly easy-going on the palate.
Mixed Citrus Blend (orange, lemon and lime) –
Very light on the nose with a smooth, long taste.
Angelica Root –
Very clean on the nose with a slight sweetness, with a palate of creamy potato.
Coriander Seed –
Smooth with a slight citrus and coriander nose, but a slight harshness and very little flavour on the palate.
Green Cardamon Pods –
Slightly harsh on the nose and palate with ony a small flavour.
Licorice Root –
Floral and clean on the nose, with a hint of sweetness on the palate.
Pink Grapefruit –
Subtle aroma with a rather potent attack to the palate.
Orris Root –
Slightly bold on the nose, but a freshness on the palate.
Star Anise –
Slight aniseed that slowly powers through on the palate and nose.
A freshness on the nose, following to the palate.
Cassia Bark –
Slight sweetness on the nose, and again on the palate with a hint of harshness near the end.
Of course when you blend the above, you create the following –
Sacred Gin – 40%
Clean, with a very subtle nose of fresh pine and violet. A dry, juniper let flavour on the palate, with a spicy edge that lingers for a long finish.
Sacred also produce –
Spiced English Vermouth – 18%
Created using barks, peels, herbs and spices including organic wormwood from Somerset, organic thyme for the New Forest and English wine from Three Choirs Vineyard in Gloucestershire. A strong aroma of herbs and cloves that follows onto the palate and creates a sweetness from orange wormwood and a small amount of lavender.
Sacred Spice Vodka – 40%
A slight spice on the nose with cinnamon coming through. The palate enjoys a lingering spice with nutmeg striking through that mellows a little to create a short but warm ending.
Sacred Rosehip Cup – 18%
A fragrant nose of herbs, rhubarb and dry rosemary. Rather light and thin on the palate, with a subtle flavour of herbs and rose lingering for a dry finish.
Some of the above botanicals are available to purchase individually, where you can create your own gin at home. Of course, the main bottlings are widely available, as well as in many a bar these days. I’d recommend to drink them on its own, but maybe try one of these –
30 ml Sacred Gin
30 ml Sacred Vermouth
30 ml Campari
Combine all ingredients within an ice filled rocks glass and stir.
© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.