The distillery in Battersea, south-west London, has named it after Ralph Dodd, a late 18th-century entrepreneur and engineer who never realised his dream of making spirits in London.
The small-batch gin, created by head distiller Andrew MacLeod Smith and founder Darren Rook, uses organic botanicals including juniper, angelica, fresh lime peel, bay laurel, cardamom, red raspberry leaf and London honey.
A significant proportion of the ingredients are first distilled in Christina, a traditional 140-litre copper alembic, with the more delicate botanicals being reserved for Little Albion, the distillery’s state-of-the-art cold vacuum still. The two spirits are then married for several weeks before being hand-bottled and labelled by the team at the distillery.
Andrew said: “Any distiller will tell you that it takes many months of research and development to create an innovative, premium organic spirit, and Dodd’s was no different. For example, we distilled several types of honey, from all areas of the UK, but found that the complex honey produced by urban bees in London gave the spirit a luxurious mouth-feel and added a delightful top note, which compliments the rest of the aromatics perfectly.”
Dodd’s Gin is non-chill-filtered and bottled at 49.9 per cent ABV. It will be available in 50cl bottles at a recommended retail price of £36.95.
They were inspired by the tale of Ralph Dodd who set out in 1807 to produce “Genuine British Spirits” but, due to a series of pitfalls, failed in his attempts. The intentions of his Intended London Distillery Company have now been realised over 200 years later by The London Distillery Company.
Darren said: “We came across Ralph Dodd and his story whilst investigating former distilleries in London, almost a year to the day after founding The London Distillery Company. Dodd’s ethos about creating Genuine British Spirits was akin to ours, so we felt it fitting that our first London-produced brand was dedicated to him.”
The London Distillery Company takes its responsible drinking message from a quote in Dodd’s original prospectus: “It is an evil too well known to require a dissertation – for the consequence arising from bad spirits, soon manifests in the destruction of its user.”
The London Distillery Company officially opens to the public from spring 2013 and, as well as producing premium gin, will be London’s first whisky distillery in over a century.
It was founded in 2011 by Darren, former London branch manager for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and Master of Malt strategic project manager. Andrew, a former engineer, joined having completed the MSc Brewing and Distilling course at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.
The distillery occupies the old milk store, also known as The Cold Room, at the former Victorian Dairy in Parkgate Road. Last September, the company launched the Testbed1 set of four 10cl gins, which were developed in London but produced in the US.