In 2006 that head brewer Stuart Thompson and distiller David Carbis formed Atlantic Brewery with the specific brief of creating unique, memorable, and quality small batch alcoholic drinks. They quietly beavered away for a decade or so on Treisaac Farm, a 2.5-acre site a few miles from the sea near Newquay in Cornwall, making a name for themselves by using traditional methods to create contemporary organic ales, using the wealth of natural and organic ingredients which they grow on the farm, including their own hops, or forage or otherwise acquire from the county. Atlantic Brewery is still an important part of their endeavours.
However, in 2017 they decided to see if they could make some headway in the market spawned by the ginaissance and established Atlantic Distillery. They now have a range of gins and vodkas to offer the discerning drinker, all organic, vegan, and organic producer and processor accredited. Their sustainable practices ensure that the botanicals used in their spirits are free from herbicide, pesticide, and insecticides. Adding further to their green credentials, Atlantic Distillery is powered by the wind and Cornish sunshine, they use their own Cornish spring water and for packaging, the bottles are made from re-cycled glass, the labels are paper rather than plastic and the cardboard boxes contain as little printed matter as possible.
The spirits are distilled in copper Bain-marie stills, which are essentially double boilers, often used to produce delicate sauces such as hollandaise and béarnaise as well as alcoholic beverages. The design is simple; an interior pot chamber which sits above a larger pot half-filled with water. The water acts as a form of insulation, allowing the mixture in the interior pot known as the mash, to heat slowly, and generally very evenly, thus preventing the botanicals from scorching and preserving their natural flavours.
Bain-maries can run continuously, as the water does not need to be replaced often. Steam is purified by the still’s copper, is condensed, and then falls back into the large pot to be used again. They are also highly efficient; the reflux and natural refining of the distillate means that fewer cuts are needed to make the spirit.
Jynevra is Cornish for gin and, appropriately, is the name for what Atlantic Distillery describes as its signature gin, and the first they produced. The bottle is squat, dumpy with pale green glass. Rounded shoulders lead up to a short neck, a wooden cap, and a cork stopper. The eye-catching part of the bottle os the labelling just below the neck, a riot of copper coloured engraving and wording against a black background, giving it a distinctive and somewhat old-fashioned feel. Underneath that, the essential information, including its ABV of 40% is given in more subdued black and white lettering against a blue background.
Sadly, they are not forthcoming on the precise make up of the botanicals, but it is clear from the aroma of the spirit that there is a bold hit of juniper, and that orange dominates the citric elements. This impression is not dispelled when the crystal-clear spirit is poured into a glass. The juniper is punchy and more than holds its own against the overtures of the orange, bergamot, soft spices, and some discernible floral notes.
I wonder if Juniper and orange is a particularly Cornish combination. I have had several gins over the last couple of years from the region where orange is the dominant citric element. I am not complaining as I think it makes a great companion for the juniper.
All in all, this is a delightful gin, one that grows on you. It is well worth seeking out.