Britain has become a nation obsessed with “gin o’clock” and the choice on the market is huge, so of course it makes sense for a girl to do her research! So that being said, I booked an afternoon tour at local distillery Silent Pool to test out the 90 minute experience and of course, to enjoy the gin.
Silent Pool gin is based at a distillery in the Surrey Hills located on the Albury Estate established in 2014. The “Silent Pool” is actually a spring lake and you immediately notice the beautiful aqua green tone of the water which inspired the colour of the gin bottle.
The Silent Pool lake is enchanting and also mythical. Folklore tells us a knight came across a woodcutters daughter bathing and was so taken with her beauty he tried to impress her. This had the opposite effect on the poor girl and she swam out deeper and sadly drowned. It is said her screams can still be heard at midnight. This haunting legend is illustrated in the copper detail on the bottle. Look closely and you will see the knight and girl are depicted amongst the botanicals that go into the gin.
Silent Pool gin uses 24 local botanicals (except the juniper which I understand is from Bosnia). Fragrant chamomile, honey, bergamot, bitter orange, pear and lavender amongst others. This is macerated in the base spirit until being transferred to the 250 litre copper pot still. In the final stages it is blended to bottling strength with water taken from the Silent Pool lake.
During the tour I was surprised to see how small the production site actually was. This is when I realized Silent Pool is a handcrafted artisan gin not a mass produced spirit. At this point I felt myself forming a warm loyalty towards the brand and then it was time to seal the deal and taste! We sampled the original Silent Pool as well as the delicious range of gin based fruit cordials.
Our host for the afternoon was fantastic and spoke with genuine passion. The information given was fascinating and I especially enjoyed hearing about the long history of gin. In particular the gin craze of 1720’s London when thousands of gin joints sprung up in the area. The artwork “Gin Lane” by William Hogarth depicts an image of the alleged social breakdown caused by gin which earned the nickname “mother’s ruin”.
At the end of the tour you are invited to purchase a gin & tonic on the terrace which was delicious with chunky ice and a slice of fresh orange. The most exciting thing for me is you get to keep the balloon gin glass which is gift wrapped and now takes pride of place in my drinks cabinet. The group also received a £5 voucher to use in the gift shop.
I would recommend this fun and informative tour as it is good value at £20 per ticket with free parking. It is set in the beautiful Surrey countryside and makes a great afternoon out – small tip don’t forget to organize a designated driver. Enjoy!