Duck and Crutch Kensington Dry Gin is handcrafted by a five-strong team; George the self-taught distiller, his girlfriend, co-founder and graphic designer Hollie who takes care of everything creative, Bunny the five litre still, Agnes the forty litre still, and Meryl the sausage dog who ‘helps’ around the distillery, which is actually a 6ft by 4ft shed in Kensington. In reality, the team is just two, with George and Hollie making, filling, wax-sealing and labelling every one of the approximately 2,000 bottles they make a year by hand. After a year of R&D and more than forty test batches, they settled on a juniper-led style with fourteen other botanicals, including Darjeeling tea, Bourbon vanilla pod, fresh thyme, fresh lemon, walnut, nutmeg and cardamom. Distilled in “one-shot”, a laborious hands-on process preferred by purists and aficionados. Duck and Crutch Kensington Dry Gin is a one-of-a-kind. Made in tiny batches of just 42 bottles at a time. The name is taken from the bingo call for the number 27, as their first gin was distilled on one of the founders’ 27th birthday.
The inspiration for the flavours of their gin came from that passion of India – and it shows. They start with a neutral grain spirit and then add the standard botanicals like coriander, angelica and citrus peel, but most importantly juniper. To these they add the more exotic, signature botanicals of Darjeeling tea, Bourbon vanilla, fresh thyme, fresh lemon, walnuts, nutmeg and cardamom. You can really see the the Indian influence, which is only fitting as it was there that the very British love of Gin and Tonic started during the days of the Raj. All this love and care has produced a gin that oozes class and distinction. It is powerfully, yet elegantly aromatic with bright citrus notes, an enticing touch of smoky tea, some floral aromas, the warming spice notes of nutmeg and a deft background character of juniper and vanilla. The exotic Darjeeling flavours dominate the finish but are nicely balanced by the cut of citrus.