What started as weekend visits to Cotswolds, known for its rich history, stunning scenery, rolling hills and away from the stress of London, turned to a permanent move for Daniel Szor and his family. The next plan was to move out of his 30-year career in finance and create something to make a difference in the community. A whisky lover for over 20 years, Szor had always made annual pilgrimages to the island of Islay, and so one morning when he woke up and stared through the window into the neighboring barley field, he had a brainwave, `there’s barley all over Cotswolds, and nobody’s distilling it, let’s be the first’.
After a stint at the Heriot Watt University, he appointed a team of passionate experts including a brewer, botanist, distiller, master distiller and wood ageing consultant and by 2012, the Cotswold Distillery was set-up in Stourton – one of the most unspoilt villages of Cotswolds.
With expert guidance from the veteran distiller Harry Cockburn who has been in the whisky business for 50 years in Scotland, DanileSzor set-up the state-of-the-art distillery. From the growth of the raw ingredients, to the malting, mashing and distilling everything happens in Cotswolds. Today, their first batch of whisky sits in the barrels waiting for the 2017 release.
But a gin in hand is worth gallons of whiskies in the casks, and so Szor embarked on a gin-making journey, his other favourite spirit. After meeting experts at Arnold Holstein to tailor-make a 500 litre hybrid still, Szor worked for over 2 months with three distillers and researched on 150 botanicals, before finalizing the recipes to be tested by a team of spirits experts from Camden BRI to select their flagship gin recipe.
COTSWOLDS DRY GIN
46% AbV – 700ml
A delectable blend of nine carefully considered botanicals – juniper, lavender, bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper, cardamom, angelica and coriander sees, each of these botanicals is used just over 10kgs in each distillation (that’s about 10x the volume in most premium London Dry Gins) in order to create the richest and most aromatic spirit. Even the quality of the essential oils extracted from the botanicals is clearly evident; when ice or tonic is added they form the gin’s signature pearlescent cloudiness.
Further, the purity of the spirit comes from the `single-shot’ pot distillation, and not produced from a concentrate. Cotswolds Dry Gin is an exceptionally well-balanced, rich and aromatic spirit that has won numerous awards, including the `World’s Best London Dry Gin’ at the 2016 World Gin Awards.
Tasting Notes: The nose has fresh notes of grapefruit with earthy coriander, backed-up by sweet, piney juniper. A hint of perfumed Cotswolds lavender.The palate is clean, pine juniper spice with fresh grapefruit and coriander seed. A touch of dryness from the angelica root with eucalyptus notes from bay leaf. Subtle lime and lavender. The finish isclean and balanced. Juniper, citrus and some cooling aromatic notes from bay leaf and cardamom.
At 46% it is smooth and delicious to be sipped over ice. But it is equally robust to stand up to tonic. So making a stunning G&T and garnish it with pink grapefruit and a fresh bay leaf.
COTSWOLDS NO.1 WILDFLOWER GIN
41.7% AbV – 700ml
Fragrant on every encounter, the No. 1 Wildflower Gin from Cotswold is a glorious gin- soaked introduction to native British wildflowers. Cotswold No. 1 Wildflower Gin pays homage to the picturesque grasslands and wildflowers that bedeck Cotswold’s iconic distillery. The first of an inspired collection of small- batch Wildflower Gins, the No. 1 Wildflower Gin is a ruby red expression that teases with a burst of natural flavours and a symphony of delicate spring floral aromas on the nose. Crafted of and for spring, Cotswold No. 1 Wildflower Gin reveals layer upon layer of wild lavender, orange, rhubarb root and cornflower on a base of the distillery’s classic London dry gin.
An ideal companion to a summer sundowner, paired with tonic and sliced orange, the No. 1 Wildflower gin not only makes for an alluring gin & tonic but sets the stage for a delicious gin spritz too.
Tasting Notes: On the nose, Cotswolds No. 1 Wildflower Gin is reminiscent of summer meadows bursting with fragrant orange blossoms and lively piney juniper. Subtly spiced with floral overtones on the palate, this gorgeous ruby red gin reveals soft lavender notes followed by sweet bursts of citrus orange finishing pleasantly, dry and balanced with a hint of lingering bitter- sweet marmalade.
COTSWOLDS NO.2 WILDFLOWER GIN
41.7% ABV – 700ml
The second variant in Cotswolds Wildflower Gin collection pays tribute to the region’s premium botanicals. Inspired by wildflowers growing in the Cotswold grasslands, the golden-hued gin is balanced, bittersweet and beautifully floral.
First, a London Dry base is distilled with juniper, coriander and angelica root, in Cotswold’s Holstein stills. The purest part of the spirit or ‘heart’ is extracted to blend it with essences of gentian, elderflower, chamomile, lemon balm and other botanicals. At the end, they add a touch of sugar syrup and filtered water.
The sunny yellow hued, botanically intense spirit picked up Silver at London Spirits Competition 2021.
Use the gin to brighten up your G&T game; a dash of tonic makes for a bittersweet G&T, garnished with a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint. Add some prosecco for more character.
Tasting Notes: The nose is complex, with refreshing sherbet lemons and a sunny earthiness from pine and juniper. On the palate, it begins with dark bitter herbs and evolves to softly sweet candied lemon rind, with a crackle of peppery juniper and a drying hint of liquorice root. The finish is lingering, perfumed and pleasantly dry with an intense bitterness from the gentian offset by delicate clean eucalyptus.