Extracted from The Sacred Spirits Company
It is estimated that back in 18th century London, during the infamous ‘Gin Craze’, there were an astonishing 1,500 distilleries in the capital. Today there are only a handful, the smallest and most unusual being the award-winning Sacred Microdistillery, located in Ian Hart’s family home in Highgate, north London.
The first and smallest commercial distillery of its kind, and certainly the only one based in a residential house, it has quickly built up a loyal and enthusiastic following – Sacred Gin was awarded a Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
For many years Ian had collected – and enjoyed drinking – old Bordeaux red wines, but he also appreciated a good gin and tonic. He had often thought about creating his own London Dry Gin and, as a Londoner, he also liked the idea of producing what is traditionally a London product actually in London. In September 2008 he decided to make a serious effort to realise this ambition.
Ian has always been interested in science – he has a degree in Natural Sciences – and decided to turn traditional gin production on its head by using vacuum distillation rather than a traditional pot still. Vacuum distillation occurs at a much lower temperature (35-45°C) than pot distillation (85-95°C) so the distillates are lusher and fresher – think of the marmalade flavour of cooked oranges versus fresh cut oranges. Ian enthusiastically set about experimenting with many different gin formulas, distilling dozens of both well-known and obscure botanicals and every Sunday evening he would take his latest gin recipe into his local pub, The Wrestlers, for people to try.
In early 2009 he was persuaded by this ad hoc panel of gin tasters that his 23rd recipe, which has a fresh, creamy and aromatic quality, was the unique gin Ian had been looking for. It contains 12 botanicals including juniper, cardamom, nutmeg, and Boswellia Sacra (aka Hougary Frankincense) – hence the name, Sacred.
However, it is not just its production methods that make Sacred so special: Ian has accumulated a library of over 100 botanicals he has distilled purely out of interest – buddleia, oak bark and lemon verbena for example – and tasting and blending these inevitably led to the creation of new recipes such as Sacred Spiced English Vermouth made from English wine and 24 botanicals including organic wormwood from Somerset, macerated plum and cherry stones from Gloucestershire and cubeb from Indonesia. This quite naturally progressed to Sacred Rosehip Cup, the fruitier English alternative to Campari, so that it is now possible to enjoy an entirely Sacred Negroni!
Encouraged by the success of Sacred Gin, Ian has created Sacred Organic Gin plus 7 additional gins, each of which focuses on a particular key botanical – Juniper, Coriander, Cardamom, Pink Grapefruit, Orris, Licorice and Christmas Pudding plus Sacred Organic Vodka, Sacred London Dry Vodka, Sacred Amber Vermouth and Sacred Extra Dry Vermouth and Sacred Bottle-Aged Negroni.
There truly is no other drinks company quite like Sacred.