Southwest Distillery is the story of one guy called Tarquin Leadbetter, his ambition, confidence and commitment to do things differently. As a 23-year-old and a classically trained chef from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, he somehow found himself sat behind a grey desk in the city of London. He quickly realised this environment was at odds to what really made him tick and he served his notice. He started to scheme.
Tarquin, supported by the business acumen and drive of his sister Athene, set his sights on establishing the first Cornish distillery for over 100 years. Armed with a 70cl copper pot still, a suitcase stuffed with botanicals weird and wonderful, and a prized surfboard, Tarquin made his return to the West Country.
He started with a completely blank canvas. He had never distilled anything before in his life and so his first task was to begin self-teaching. He became fixated with experimentation – making individual distillates of any and every botanical he can find. From the traditional to the bizarre. From the foraged to the foreign. Over time he built an extensive library of flavours, each offering a different profile to the last. Many worked. Many didn’t. Over 100 different trial gin batches were developed and they were all rated, ranked and refined. A lot of gin was drunk. A lot of smiles had. Some grimaces. Some headaches. But then he hit upon the winner.
From his bounty of botanicals, 12 were finally selected – a concoction of roots, spices, nuts, seeds, fruits and flowers sourced from the far corners of the world as well as from his back garden. The precise recipe was finalised and safely documented. Tarquin’s Gin was ready – it was time to start sharing it with the world. That’s where you come in!
We have been trying to source Tarquins gin for a long time for The Gin Box. Its blue bottle has always captured us and stopped us in our tracks! You’ll find it paired with two different Lixir tonics, the Blood Orange and Cinnamon being our favourite for this time of year! We’ve also added in some delicious treats for you to snack on over the holidays.
Juniper from Italy, Coriander Seed, from Bulgaria, Liquorice Fruit from Uzbekistan, Orris Root from Morocco, Angelica Root from Poland, Green Cardamom from Guatemala, Cinnamon from Guatemala, Bitter Almonds from Morocco, Violets from Devon!