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I was so thrilled to pop along to the new Darnley’s Gin Experience in Edinburgh today as part of a pr invite to experience their Gin Masterclass. Oh how I’ve missed going to events in person!
I’ve actually already visited the distillery but it’s great to see them so available to tourists and local Edinburgh people in the centre of the city. They’re opening on Monday 28th June so hopefully it’ll be sunnier than today. It has such a lovely venue on Castle Street and they’re also going to have an outdoor seating area which will be perfect for gin & tonics or a dram.
I’d highly recommend trying the Cottage Series: Wild Citrus Gin – it’s the best gin I’ve tried and suits my flavour preferences perfectly!
The Darnley’s Gin Shop
The Darnley’s Gin Experience will both host a signature masterclass where you get to make your own gin to take home. But it also has a shop and a bar! Here’s you’ll find their gins as well as some of the Kingsbarns Whisky and Wemyss Malts. It’s a lovely shop, which feels spacious and modern and the masterclass is hosted at the very back of the room.
There’s hand sanitisers by the entrance and everything is spaced out so you can comply with social distancing.
The Darnley’s Gin Experience
I didn’t not quite know what to expect from the Darnley’s Gin Experience, except for that we would be blending our own gin. You start out blending their Castle Street Gin which is designed by their head distiller Scott. You measure out the ingredients as per his recipe and blend it yourself.
We also did a wee tasting of their Original, Spiced & Navy Strength Gin. I think my favourite out of this trio is the Original. It’s just so refreshing and smooth that it’s a good fit for summer!
I was also thrilled to see my old colleague Tam hosting part of the evening. He is such a professional and really knowledgable about the brand so if you see him: say hi from me!
The blending aspect also makes you feel like a creative scientist.
I thought it was a good thing that you start out with making a gin following a professionally designed recipe first so that you can grasp the aspects of the gin making process. Such as getting to know the “usual suspects” Juniper, Coriander and Angelica Root. These make up the base for Darnley’s gins – and a lot of other gins too.
There’s actually not a lot of regulations surrounding gin – it pretty much only has to have a dominant character of Juniper, but doesn’t really state how much of it that needs to be. Gin is basically a natural grain spirit, can be a vodka for example that is then flavoured with botanicals. What I really like about Darnley’s Gin is that they aren’t using sweeteners and artificial flavours, but instead focus on the botanicals that they can grow in their Cottage Garden to make a London Dry style of gin which doesn’t contain additives.
After that you also get the chance to really be creative and pick different distillates that you like. They give you a little Flavour Bible where you can see recommended measures. And also which category these different botanicals fall under.
Just like in a perfume shop there’s also little strips that you can dip in to these distillates. This is so that you are able to nose them. The different categories go from Floral, Spicy, Berry and Citrus. The Berry ones stood out to me straight away because I wasn’t in a floral or spicy mood.
Flavours & Aromas
I settled on Sloe Berry, Rowanberry & Elderberry in combination with Sorrel and Rosehip. It is so fascinating to put the aromas together. If you’ve done the experience – I’d love to hear what your combination was so please let me know in the comments! Everyone is so different as well, so if you are doing this with friends or family it is a fun thing to compare your preferences and tastes.
Now I have to wait a few days until Sunday before I can open them and actually taste them. The spirit needs a few days to marry together the flavours in the bottle.
My own blend is called Magisk Och Aromatisk (M O A) which translates in to Magical And Aromatic !
Good to know
The Darnley’s Gin Experience cost £65/person and includes your masterclass, 2x 20cl gin bottles (your own blend + the Castle Street Signature Blend) as well as a tasting of Darnley’s Gins.
It is located on Castle Street in Edinburgh
Initially it is a pop up shop which is here to stay for 9 months – but hopefully even longer
There’s also a shop plus and bar with outdoor seating
Really excited to find out if my creations is going to be tasty this Sunday!
I’ll make sure to put a wee update in below.