Fun story: my first proper job out of university was working in marketing and events for entrepreneurs and investors. Obviously I then added all my favourite people on LinkedIn. Fast forward a few years and up pops a notification from Tagore Ramoutar saying he is excited to be launching a gin. Last year at Junipalooza I went along to the TOAD (The Oxford Artisan Distillery) stand and guess who was there? We had a good catch up and he kindly gave me a sample of their Ashmolean gin. But today, thanks to Gin Kiosk’s clear out sale in December, I now have a bottle of their Oxford Dry gin. They claim to be the only distillery in the world to use ancient heritage grains in their spirits, which are grown by local, organic farms in sustainable ways. Taking inspiration from the Victorian era, the team approached South Devon Railway Engineering and some of the last British copper smiths who worked for two years to build two copper stills. Firstly, a 2,400l still named Nautilus, and secondly a 500l still called Nemo (big Jules Verne fans here) which, alongside five copper column stills, allows them the freedom to be creative. Their final recipe contains everything you would expect from a classic gin – juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peel, meadowsweet and a touch of nutmeg plus a few other botanicals, so how does it taste?
Note: From a previous career, I know one of the co-founders of TOAD gin and when I met them at Junipalooza they kindly gave me a sample to try. As always, I will let you know what I think.
Ashmolean Gin is the product of the collaboration of The Oxford Artisan Distillery and the Ashmolean Museum of art and archaeology. Different to the TOAD gin you might recognise, this gin is inspired by the museum’s collections from around the world and features 17 botanicals including jara lemon, rose, jasmine and spices from the Middle East and Asia. This is complemented by the label illustration taken from Spray of ‘Morning Glory’ by Takeuchi Seiho, a piece you can see if you visit their Eastern Art collection. TOAD are the first distillery to open in Oxford and have an ethos around distilling spirits from grain to glass using heritage grains from a 50 mile radius of their site – all sustainably grown and managed.