Our aim has always been to create flavoursome and hopefully distinctive distilled gin. And to do so by making the most of, and taking inspiration from, produce within Worcestershire.
With the Vale of Evesham on our doorstep, including fruit within the botanical mix started to make a lot of sense. Especially once we’d created and sampled a range of fruit gins distilled using our tabletop experimenting still.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, during our experimenting process we stumbled upon the juneberry. Grown locally, the juneberry fits with our values of taking inspiration from the wonderful produce of Worcestershire. And wherever possible, working with local businesses and suppliers. On top of that, juneberries have a fantastic flavour.
Our focus therefore quickly turned to finding some interesting and tasty combinations, with juneberry being an ever-present part of the botanical mix.
As with all things experimental, there were some great results and some not so good ones! But, a number of our juneberry distilled gin samples did pass our initial tests amongst our gin-loving family. But we needed to be sure we weren’t being biased!
Time for blind taste tests of our distilled gins…
From the very start of our journey we have been committed to avoiding any personal bias. That’s why an essential part of our development process has been to obtain objective feedback. Which can only be achieved through completely blind taste testing.
During early spring we therefore held a number of tasting sessions. Our groups provided a broad range of ages, had a 50:50 gender mix, and included gin connoisseurs alongside a few who were occasional gin drinkers.
With tasting sheets to hand, each taster was invited to taste up to ten different distilled gins. By completing the tasting sheets they were able to provide thoughts on particular words that came to mind, whether they could describe the gin, and whether they liked it, would have another one, and potentially buy it.
The key to the tasting sessions?
1. Participants had no idea what the individual gins were. So they could have no preconceptions about what they were tasting.
2. Amongst the gins we (cheekily) hid three distilled gins that are already on the supermarket shelves. Two being small batch / craft gins. The third being a major brand, which has been one of the most popular distilled gins on the market during recent years. We wanted to see if there were any preferences for gins that are currently on sale versus our experimental distilled juneberry gins.
Some fascinating results
To say we were pleasantly surprised by the tasting results would be an understatement.
Two of our juneberry gins came out streets ahead of the rest.
Nearly 80% of participants saying they would buy a bottle of either of them.
Compared, very interestingly, against the main, global brand that came out joint bottom of all the distilled gins we asked people to taste.
The taste tests provided us with a more positive outcome than we could really have hoped for. And we’re extremely grateful to everyone that took part.
Positive feedback from professionals
Armed with some confidence that we had a coupe of potentially winning juneberry gins on our hands we continued with seeking further feedback. This time from a couple of leading bars in Worcester. Once again, we have been more than pleased with the outcome!
The head barman at one of Worcester’s leading premier bar / restaurants provided some extremely useful guidance. (We’ll be able to let you know which establishment once we’re close to launch!) He’s helped us recognise which of our two juneberry gins would be more marketable, due to its more distinctive flavour. And is keen to know more once Hussingtree Gin is ready for sale.
Buoyed by all the fabulous feedback we’ve received we’ve been able to nail down the botanical mix for our first distilled juneberry gin. We’re extremely pleased with the results, as we hope you will be when we launch later in the year.