Sipsmith, distilling the British way
I’ve been trying to find time for some months to pay a visit to the guys at Sipsmith in Hammersmith, London. Well after a few delays I finally managed to get down to meet the team on friday.
What would surprise most people including myself is the building itself where Sipsmith’s are based. Thinking that i’d gone in the completely wrong direction and would be eternally lost in Hammersmith I checked my directions, turned around and there it was, a garage front that was the front of this small batch distillery. It really did seem like something from Harry Potter!
After ringing the bell and realising I was in the right place I was met by Sam who welcomed me into their wonderful distillery that is a world away from the street outside. We had a quick round of introductions including Fairfax who with Sam came up with the idea of Sipsmith a few years ago in the USA.
The inspiration behind Sipsmith comes from the booming number of small batch distilleries in the states which has occured due to the relaxing of distillation laws. The quality of some of these products coming out of Micro-Distilleries such as Hangar One and Cold River was and is so much higher than the mass produced brands such as Smirnoff and Absolut. The result of this was Sam and Fairfax making the deciaion to apply for a distillers licence and create there very own artisan spirits in the UK. As you would expect there were many hurdles to overcome including the government themselves having to decide how to issue the licence as nothing had been issued for over two hundred years! After having to consult with the authorities in Scotland, where as you would imagine where there are numourous distilleries in operation Sipsmith were finally granted a licence to distill on the 9th December 2008.
Prudence is a German Copper Pot still that was made by Christian Carl and has a capacity of 300l
Sipsmith first started distilling in 2009 with the first batch delivered by “prudence” on the 11th May.
Now we get on to the important matter of the drinks themselves. First of all we tried the Sipsmith Gin. After having tried a bit of a mix of Gins this year I was intrigued as to which way this was going to go. Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed as this was very much to my liking. Sipsmith Gin isn’t too floral and over powering but has subtle hints that really makes you savour and enjoy the drink. The first thing for me was unmistakeable Juniper aroma with a hint of pine, always a good start when its a gin! This is a really smooth gin that has no aggressive aftertaste and has a citrus and slightly spicey flavour to it as well. Sipsmith Gin can be sipped over ice and if your looking for a tonic to go with your gin then it has to be Fever Tree, if you want to mix a top quality gin then this really is the only way to go.
Sipsmith Vodka is certainly the reason for making the trip on a personal level as vodka is the reason we started the Emporium. This vodka has a spicey nose to it with a swirl of barley. A smooth finish on the palate that brings out quite a mellow after taste that has a distant peppery feel. Sipsmith vodka has a nice balance that isnt too sweet and has a nice undercurrent of dryness.
After the disapointments of some of the vodka I’ve tried in 2010 this is certainly a nice way to finish the year. Not only do Sipsmith have a wonderful Vodka and Gin to showcase the fact that its British makes it even better. I can really see Sipsmith growing nicely as more and more people try something different.