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Review

Williams
Seville Orange Gin

Distillery

Williams Chase Distillery Ltd., Rosemaund Farm, Hereford, Herefordshire, England, UK.

Website

Chase Distillery.

History

Will Chase is the 5th generation of a farming family in Herefordshire and in the 1990’s had been producing potatoes for around 20 years. However, the farming business had suffered terribly with large grocery chain stores driving down prices plus BSE and Foot & Mouth destroying livestock (and any profit) and they went bankrupt, losing their 30-acre farm. The tale however does not stop here, this was only the beginning…a true rags to riches story.

To get him out of this distress Will became a potato trader, sourcing from around the country and selling them in bulk to retailers – managing to earn a living and buying back 20-acres of land. In 2002 they used their farm grown organic potatoes (King Edward’s and Lady Claire’s) to produce gourmet chips (called Tyrrell’s, named after Tyrrells Court the farm he grew up on). At the end of their first year they had achieved a turnover of around $750,000 dollars. In 2007 the business won an Entrepreneurial award and gained a $7.5 Million interest free loan, which was promptly used to buy the neighboring 400-acre Rosemaund Farm and start a Distillery. In 2008 Will sold 75% of Tyrrell’s (retaining the farms) for…wait for it…$60 Million!

Back in 2003 whilst Will was on vacation he had talked with an American who had a bottle of potato vodka. Then in 2004 whilst in the USA looking for chip packing equipment, Will visited a distillery producing spirits from potatoes, which sparked the ideas for recreating this back home. Perhaps the hardest part was sourcing the best distilling equipment and it took until June 2008 (just before the selling of Tyrrell’s) for their first batch of Chase Vodka to be produced. This was the first ever potato Vodka to be produced in England and was carried out with the support of Jamie Baxter, now working at City of London Distillery.

Today Chase Distillery has grown to include a portfolio of other Vodka, Gin and Liqueurs. This, along with the farm, includes the support of the 6th generation of the family, his two sons Harry and James. Producing around 10,000 bottles per week they are now adding another still to provide for the ever-increasing export market – watch out USA, here they come.

The original idea was to use their potato vodka but this spirit base proved too overpowering for the floral aspects of the Gin botanicals. Therefore more experimentation was required before the first Williams Gin could be produced in 2009. This proved to be a similar case when they produced this version, Williams Seville Orange.

Production

The Gin is unusually made from an apple-based spirit. The cider apples are organically grown on the farm and are pressed before being left for about a week to naturally ferment into cider. The cider is then distilled in their bespoke copper pot still and batch distilled 4 times. It is then distilled another 2 times in their huge 70 feet tall rectifying column with 42 bubble plates (apparently the tallest in Europe), to create their apple Vodka base spirit, a process taking about two weeks.

The Gin is finally made in their 250-liter Carter head style still, affectionately known as “Ginny”. An equal mix of the apple Vodka base spirit and purified natural well water (from the farm) is distilled for a 7th time with the botanicals being vapor infused during this process. This distillation is repeated an 8th and final time where the Seville orange peel is vapor infused.

The light orange/yellow colored Gin is presented in a tall clear cylindrical bottle, which is slightly “pinched” in the middle (by about half an inch) to give the impression of being taller. The bottle is screen-printed with the white colored image of an orange tree with oranges on it; the bottom has a Union Jack (British) flag on it.

Category

Flavored Gin - Orange.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$ - $$$$$$. Not available in the USA yet, although its coming, perhaps in the next 12 - 18 months. In the meantime try Master of Malt in the UK but expect to add another 50% for shipping.

Botanicals

The 9 botanicals used include: angelica root and seed, coriander seed, elderflower, juniper berries, lemon peel, liquorice root, orange peel (Seville) and orris root.

Name

Named after the founder and CEO, William Chase and the key flavoured botanical Seville orange. Note: all their Gin is referred to as “Williams” and their Vodka is called “Chase”.

Tasting Notes

On the nose is citrus (orange) with pine (juniper) plus herbal (angelica) and floral notes (elderflower). On the palate this smooth bittersweet spirit has a clear zesty citrus (orange) flavor with a dry juniper taste. The close begins tart, continues with the orange citrus and has a long lightly warm and dry finish. This is a great orange flavoured Gin; it is well-designed displaying balanced sweet, bitterness, dry and citrus attributes.

A very nice Gin to sip neat but like the original Williams Gin it is perhaps better used in mixed drinks to get the most from it. Many orange flavoured Gins are quite sweet but this manages to retain an excellent dryness. Consequently this dryness makes a great orange flavoured Gin & Tonic, served with a slice of orange as garnish (although this might be overkill). This is quite clearly a superb G&T for a hot summers day. In a Martini it provides a good orange flavor where (unlike the G&T) other nuances of the Gin may be found, with faint herbal, floral and spice notes coming through. This is a truly wonderful Martini moment to be experienced – it is different but very, very nice – in the same way their Williams Great British Extra Dry Gin brings an unusual spiciness to a Martini.

Williams does it again, another great Gin where the quality and craftsmanship shine through and adds a beacon of excellence for all other Gin producers to measure up against. Well done indeed!

Awards & Accolades

Unknown.



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