Science in action: Silent Pool Distillers' unique approach
Silent Pool's unique flavour is no accident – it's the result of careful curation of ingredients and a scientific way of thinking about spirits
While many gins claim their gin to be 'hand-crafted', Silent Pool believes that making a product as nuanced and complex as its signature gin takes more than just a good palate. Indeed, its slogan – 'intricately realised' – reflects just that: the realisation of a spirit that's been engineered by experts to taste as good as it possibly can.
As distiller Tom Hutchings, who has studied the effect of different soils on juniper berries, puts it, "A whole lot of research had to go into extracting exactly the right combination of flavours from our romantic botanicals. We broke each ingredient down to the molecular level, identified each ingredient's flavour profile, and customised our method of making gin with the sole aim of obtaining exactly the right fragrances and flavours in Silent Pool Gin."
This might sound overtly scientific, especially in an industry dominated by spirits brands that so frequently praise the virtues of crafting products 'by hand', but Silent Pool's distillation process is guided by a simple and obvious ethos: that if a product is manufactured in a distillery, to exacting standards, and designed to be uniform in its taste from bottle to bottle and batch to batch, the process should be a science, not just an art.
There are different methods of extracting flavour to match the gin's distinctive botanicals. For instance, the juniper, liquorice, orris root, bergamot and other heavier-flavoured ingredients are macerated in the gin's base spirit before it's transferred to the still; whereas the 'gin tea infusion' process sees the more medium-bodied botanicals like elderflower and rose petals macerated separately, to ensure that their aromatic notes are left intact.
The third process in the distillation takes place in what's referred to as a 'multi-chambered fractioning column'. "Through precise control over a series of plates and cooling pipes, we are able to separate the exact flavour needed from each botanical." says Hutchings.
This no-compromise approach, twinned with a fastidious demand for the best ingredients, is as much a part of Silent Pool's identity as the water from the aquifer and the people who distil the spirit. Gin has come a long way since it was born in the 1700s, and Silent Pool's team are of the opinion that such a unique, scientifically-minded process is a natural result of living and working in an age of abundant technology. As Hutchings puts it, "our process allows us to use flavours that previous distillers could only dream of."