The team behind Portobello Road Gin have created the first-ever London dry gin made with British asparagus.
The limited-edition “Directors’ Cut” distillation contains a unique blend of botanicals including asparagus from Cambridgeshire which was harvested by director Paul Lane in June (pictured below).
Paul and the other three directors of Portobello Road Gin – Ged Feltham, Jake Burger and Tom Coates – wanted to satisfy a desire to produce a very special gin made with botanicals they had sourced by hand themselves.
It has been crafted in Portobello Road Gin’s still, Copernicus the Second, and bottled and labelled by hand at the Ginstitute gin museum above Portobello Star bar in Notting Hill – part of Leeds-based bar group Leelex headed by Ged, Paul and Jake.
Only 1,000 bottles of this distinctively nutty-flavoured spirit will be available this October, with a recommended price in retail of £39. Portobello Road Gin is distributed in the UK by Mangrove.
Paul worked with British asparagus producer Will Aveling to source 10kg of spears in March, Cambridgeshire, during the last days of the asparagus season, tasting and selecting the thinnest spears due to their high concentration of flavour.
Once picked, Paul hand delivered the spears to Jake, the master blender, who distilled a unique blend of botanicals to create a spirit that has the classic juniper-forward character of Portobello Road Gin but with a most unusual hint of asparagus on the nose and that distinct and sweet flavour right the way through the palate.
The sweetness is counteracted by the dry, bitter character of the small amount of gentian root which also has a slight mineral flavour, said to be reminiscent of wet slate, with the typical spicy, long finish of Portobello Road Gin. It has a punchy ABV of 47%.
Paul said: “We take immense pride in our craft when producing Portobello Road Gin, distilling with integrity and individuality. But with the Directors’ Cut we’re able to take our passion for experimentation to a whole new level.
“We’ve been experimenting with the more unusual botanicals for years and have dreamed of hand-picking our own botanicals and using them to bring a special-edition gin to the market.
“We’ve played around with the botanical of British asparagus at the Ginstitute for a couple of years, where gin fans can come up with their own creation, but this is the first time we’ve worked with a producer directly to select the produce and create a gin for sale. This is not a gin for everybody but those who like it love it.”
And he adds: “Before you ask, no it doesn’t…”
Photography by Daniel Lewis