Wa­ter? We now have some­thing a lit­tle stronger!

Ashbourne News Telegraph - - NEWS - By Gareth But­ter­field gareth.but­ter­field@ash­bourne­new­stele­graph.co.uk

THE Ash­bourne brand might no longer be avail­able on bot­tles of min­eral wa­ter but the name is now ap­pear­ing on what some peo­ple con­sider to be the next best thing – a lo­cally-pro­duced gin.

Ash­bourne Gin has been launched by drinks ex­pert Paul Duke, who teamed up with Der­byshire Dis­tillery to iden­tify a unique set of botan­i­cals that now make up the town’s new of­fer­ing.

Mr Duke, who runs St John Street-based café-bar Artisan, called on ex­per­tise from the newly-founded Der­byshire Dis­tillery’s David Hem­stock and one of his mem­bers of staff, gin ex­pert James Be­van, to hone the recipe.

The new, £45-per-bot­tle gin ini­tially went on sale over the counter by the bot­tle and the glass at Artisan – but it is now also avail­able at Bramhalls Deli Café in Mar­ket Place, at Mai­son Du Biere in Church Street, and at bars in Ch­ester­field, Derby, Sh­effield and Manch­ester.

Mr Duke said: “We chose the name be­cause we are proud of what Artisan has be­come in Ash­bourne and wanted a brand that re­flected that and how we feel about the town.

“The re­ac­tion has been won­der­ful. A lot of our reg­u­lars had a glass ‘forced’ on them dur­ing the trial, gladly the re­sponse was over­whelm­ing and most now or­der it with­out think­ing at the bar.

“We want locals and tourists alike to see some­thing that is unique to our town. Not only that, but on sam­pling it de­cide they would like to take one home.”

De­scribed as a “sip­ping gin”, Mr Duke says the flavours in Ash­bourne Gin have been crafted to high­light its core in­gre­di­ent – Cherry Sen­cha Tea.

He said: “We had the idea for the flavour quite a while be­fore go­ing ahead, so when the time came it was a case of run­ning a lit­tle batch on a test still un­til we were happy, then giv­ing sam­ples at the bar to as­sess re­ac­tion.

“It helped that the dis­tiller, David Hem­stock, thought he had not tasted a gin like it and was very im­pressed with the re­sult. After that it was just a case of la­bel design and full steam ahead.

“It’s a Lon­don Dry-style, with very sub­tle flavours. On the nose the cherry should be most prom­i­nent. On taste the ini­tial flavour is again the sweet cherry, fol­lowed by a lovely pine flavour from the ju­niper.

“Fi­nally it has a nice fresh fin­ish due to the use of an­gel­ica. Some will pick up the co­rian­der and cas­sia flavours too.

“De­spite be­ing bot­tled at 44% it is an ex­tremely smooth gin, eas­ily sipped neat over ice, but also works well with an equal mea­sure of your favourite tonic.”

Mr Duke says the new Ash­sec­ond bourne brand may be ex­panded in the fu­ture, with other flavours cur­rently be­ing ex­plored for what could be the sec­ond bot­tle bear­ing the Ash­bourne name.

He said: “Dave and I are al­ways dis­cussing new ideas and pos­si­ble flavours for our of­fer­ing. I spent a lot of time out pick­ing the lo­cal sloes where I live with a view to re­leas­ing a win­ter gin of sloe and clemen­tine.

“This is go­ing through the test­ing process now. If number two works, who knows?

“I would like to fo­cus on lo­cal botan­i­cals for any fu­ture re­leases – such as the lovely quinces in Knive­ton, pears and ap­ples in my own gar­den, wild rasp­ber­ries and straw­ber­ries around Cub­ley.

“But it’s a slow process and very much a hobby rather than a in­come stream.”

Paul Duke, in­set, and the new Ash­bourne Gin he hopes will be suc­cess­ful

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