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As we head reach the halfway mark we try one of the newbies to join this year’s Ginvent fun. Downton Distillery won the bursary slot at the 2019 Junipalooza festival and had one of the most decorated stands ever. Which is just as well really as they have one of the most beautiful bottles currently on the market. Downton Distillery take their name, not from the TV show, but from Downton Manor in Wiltshire which once belonged to Queen Elizabeth I until she gifted it to Sir Walter Raleigh. For those not as clued up with their history, he helped colonise America and sailed to South America for the search of ‘El Dorado’. In a barn adjacent to the manor house, the gin is made with more than a nod to this jet-setting history. They use botanicals from around the world, for example; the juniper is from Tuscany, pink pepper from Brazil, bay leaves and signature botanical red cedar from their own estate, szechuan pepper from Asia and grapefruits, lemons and lemon verbena from the Mediterranean. These are first macerated (soaked) in their base spirit before vapour distilling the gin with fresh botanicals, finally they add their spring water that travels down from the New Forest and though the Wiltshire Downs. I had a sample of this back in June so I’m excited to revisit it, so let’s go!