Blend Your Own
Blend Your Own is your first step towards creating your very own gin.
Formed of a carefully created set of vacuum distilled botanical ingredients, BYO is an easy-to-use gin blending kit that places your favourite flavours at the heart of the action.
Whether you’re cooking up a recipe from scratch or adding a dash or two of your favourite flavours to enhance a G&T, these distillates are a great way to get to grips with how flavours work once distilled.
With over 32 different botanicals all handily distilled for you (each bottled at 40% ABV), BYO is about having fun, exploring new ideas and tasting phenomenal flavours. Making your own gin at home has never been so easy!
We’ll be adding recipe ideas and serve suggestions as we develop the project further, as well as more insight on each botanical that we distil.
While BYO will always remain about creating fantastic distillates for you to blend your own gin with, the project also aims to help educate drinkers and distillers alike as to the flavours that are possible to extract from natural botanicals and how to balance them alongside each other when creating Gin. Stay tuned for more on this with masterclasses, events and tastings throughout the year!
Have a look below to find out more about the flavours available, then head on over to Gin Kiosk to grab the ones you like the sound of!
What Is A Botanical Distillate?
Consider our distillates as ingredients in spirit form! Each is treated individually so it's up to you to choose which distillate and in what ratios you want, to make your own flavour of gin.
How big is each bottle?
We've launched our botanical library in 150ml size across the entire range. For the core Gin ingredients like juniper and coriander seed, we've made them available in 500ml sizes also.
What Can I do with BYO distillates?
With just a few distillates, you can Blend Your Own gin! You can use them to make bespoke spirits for cocktails, or train your senses to identify specific flavours. The possibilities are endless!
Citrus botanicals tend to be filled with high(er) volatile compounds. This means they present themselves at their most intense at the beginning of a flavour journey and then tend to reduce in concentration thereafter, allowing for other botanicals (like spice, herbs or nuts) to merge in and then overtake them.
Consider them the first impression of a gin - the ones at the beginning of the drinker’s journey - and know that they are the initing hook.
We use both fresh peels and the dehydrated flesh from sweet Valencia oranges, as well as dried bitter Seville orange peel to create this distillate.
This provides both a bright, zesty orange hit to the aroma as well as the rich, softer texture of actual orange segments to the mouthfeel. Using the vacuum to full effect during distillation, we deliberately distil at much lower temperatures, maintaining the bright nature of the fruit and avoiding it becoming either candied or caramelised.
Orange is an ideal citrus for those looking to make classically styled gin profiles, as it combines particularly well with juniper and cassia bark for a warming flavour that allows the emphasis to gradually build into juniper without being too “loud” up front.
Both dried and fresh lemons are used to create a three dimensional citrus effect. The fresh peels give the distillate a distinct, tart edge to both aroma and initial taste. The volatile nature of the compounds is clear on the aroma, with lemon distillate ready to lift the fore of any gin and add some levity to begin the flavour journey with a capricious bang.
Meanwhile the dried peels allow for a more sherbet-like, juicy tone to emerge on the palate, helping the flavour to appear smoother and to endure long after the initial impact.
Bright, zesty and bursting out of the glass, only fresh pink grapefruits are used in the distillation, which is performed at deliberately lower temperatures to maintain maximum freshness.
There’s a hit of caustic, zesty citrus on the aroma, while the palate is brought to life as if it’s been hit with a defibrillator at full charge, with a volley of sharp yet fleshy grapefruit notes hitting it as fast as they can. The effect is short and intense, leaving behind a lingering fresh sensation that makes it a perfect distillate to blend with when you need distinct flavour peak to begin with, but want it to fade rapidly to allow for the next botanical (in particular florals) in the journey to rise to prominence.
Sharp and tangy, Yuzu is as mercurial as it delicious. The highly sought after and increasingly rare eastern citrus is reminiscent of mandarin (but not as caustic) and as as juicy as an orange (yet not as soft) while being entirely different to grapefruit, yet managing to have a similarly domineering first impression.
Blend Yuzu carefully as it wants to take centre stage, but when used in the perfect dose it adds a touch of exoticism to the front end of a gin that’s unparalleled.
Warm, voluptuous and deep citrus tones are in abundance in this distillate. We distil the fruit hotter than usual, allowing for the patisserie-like caramelised tones of apricots (both dried and fresh) to emerge.
The flavours are unctuous in the way they envelop the mouth, while the soft nature of the flesh makes it the perfect side note to accompany juniper. Apricot lands a little later in the flavour journey than lemon, grapefruit or orange and is subtler in the way it combines with other botanicals, too. When blended with other distillates, Apricot can help thicken and add tonal qualities to the mouthfeel.
Fruit Gins are running rampage over supermarket shelves in 2018, so we've no doubt they're going to do well here.
When distilled, fruits can be quite different to their raw state, as temperature impacts their profile greatly. We, however, have ensured that this won't be the case with the BYO distillates by using colder temperatures and vacuums. As such, the following distillates are about as close as you can come to the fresh flavour as you'll find in spirit form.
Fruity botanicals are commonly used in infusions post distillation, so both flavour and colour are imparted. This is a nifty trick that lets the senses lead each other on - if you see a bright, red strawberry liqueur you'll automatically be expecting syrupy sweetness on the tongue. (In fact, those who don't post-infuse their fruits often dye their liquid a corresponding colour.)
Fruits are ideal as a backdrop in a blend and can provide an accessible tone to a spirit’s flavour profile when tasted neat. When mixed into a G&T or cocktail, the flavours will emerge much farther down the line.
Blueberries have mischievous flavour qualities; sometimes there are so faint they are a but a brief burst of juice, while other times they are tart and citrus like, or have notes that are more akin to apples. That 'something in-between' is where we have focused our attention, amalgamating multiple batches of distilled blueberries to ensure the broad yet subtle spectrum of the super fruit is captured.
Acerbic at first, with a jammy texture that develops in time, the taste of BYO Cranberry distillate deliberately oscillates between the fresh, crisp fruit and the more caramelised versions found in jams and chutneys.
Cranberry is a brilliant distillate to use for those looking to broaden the middle of the flavour journey with a rich fruity tone, especially when used in conjunction with rosemary and juniper, with the trio conspiring to become a much greater being than the sum of their parts should allow.
Rich, sweet and jammy, we’ve distilled raspberries both air-dried and fresh to extract the full character of the fruit. More typically used as an infusion, once distilled, the more candied, jam-like elements of raspberries emerge.
We wanted to showcase the raw ingredient in distillate form, so we pressed the rhubarb into juice and distilled it at both at low and high temperatures to create a tangy, vivid distillate. Clear, raw rhubarb notes merge with the ruby rich texture of stewed fruit. Slight orangey notes follow, alongside a green garden freshness.
That blend of processes means there is none of the candied, synthetic flavours you'll find in some of the mass-market essences. This distillate is the real McCoy, and an ideal way to add jammy yet stalky fruit tones to the centre of your flavour journey.
When balanced and carefully considered, floral botanicals are where a distiller makes their mark. Too much and it overwhelms the aroma and changes the taste profile into a perfumed mess; too little and their delicate nature is lost as the other botanicals run rampage over them. It takes judicious balancing to dose the perfect amount and a real understanding of how flavour unravels in time, to fully appreciate just how versatile they can be.
Once mastered, florals can add a uniquely complex dimension to a gin. A touch of levity, a counter point to the herbal core or an accomplice to either citrus on the fore, or spice on the finish - florals are as intricate as they adaptable.
Soft and light, there are almost buttery tones are in abundance here. To taste, the calming floral tones so familiar in chamomile tea are present, but so too is the fresher almost green tinge of the fresh herb.
The sweet, full mouthfeel is the lesser spoken about asset of the botanical. Chamomile is, in fact, an ideal distillate for those looking to build an added texture to their creation without resorting to the bulky sweetness of honey or liquorice root.
Sweet sunshine in a glass, the elderflower distillate has captured the entirety of the flower. From the soft, hay-like tones of dried elderflower, to a sickly sweet perfumed edge, reminiscent of a mid-summer’s evening in the garden when the flowers almost seem to drip their full fragrance into the air.
To ensure it combines well with other distillates, we’ve erred on the side of fresh and bright as opposed to sweet and sticky, as doing so allows the user the choice for the botanical to be the backdrop or the star protagonist of their creation.
Distinct as an aroma and lightly perfumed, BYO Rose Distillate provides as alluring a top note as you’d expect from the queen flowers. Air-dried rose petals are distilled in deliberately colder temperatures than usual in order to maximise the intensity and maintain an authentic, fresher and less perfumed aroma.
Other than providing a big bouquet on the nose, rather strangely - the rose distillate can also be used in tandem with spices such as cubeb or cardamom to provide a floral dimension to the finish of a gin too.
Garden fresh and with a lovely levity on the aroma, we’ve ensured that the distillate remains authentic to the plant, thus avoiding any soapy connotations. To taste, the floral overtones lead, but the plant’s herbal, almost balsamic qualities underpin the flavour journey throughout.
As an ingredient, lavender is perfectly offset by the likes of rosemary and grapefruit, and is used in that combination to brilliant effect in both existing gins on the market (and by adventurous G&T drinkers who look to those specific pairings for garnishing).
Soft, dried hay and sugar-coated marigold flowers lead the aroma. To taste, a rich texture envelops the mouth, with honeyed sweetness and a luscious consistency.
Once distilled, honey no longer has the viscosity of its raw state, though the sweet, waxy elements are just as clear to taste. In this particular distillate, the delicate florals of the nose are a little more nuanced on the palate, with that raw honey taste leading the experience.
Because juniper is in the herbal category, a 'herbal core' is the very soul of gin. Star ingredient aside, however, herbs can be used in a vast array of ways in a gin. They can define the appearance of juniper (to be more verdant or perfumed, compared to peppery or earthy), and they can bridge from first sip to finish.
Many of the botanicals in this flavour category have more than herbaceous or grassy notes to them, and their secondary elements can be harnessed to incredible effect. For example, basil can add a savoury note to the aroma and a peppery note to the finish, while lemon thyme can add a citrus that perseveres deep into the finish.
The soul of any gin and the heart of all gin recipes!
Juniper is both piny and woody, giving a forest-floor-like impression on the aroma and a pine needle impression to taste. One of the reasons that gin is such an eclectic and diverse spirit is because it's main ingredient, juniper, can be complimented and contrasted in so many ways. Citrus paves the way for it to shine, while spice takes it on a journey...
Savoury green notes and peppery notes aplenty, basil adds both depth and an anchor to many flavour experiences. We’ve distilled it in two ways, fresh and hot and steeped in for weeks of infusion then distilled cold to get two clear notes from the leaves.
The first provides a damp, deep herbal taste that lands late in the sensory experience but endures into the finish – the other, allows for the fresh savoury and almost peppery aroma to appear. Together, they combine to be a full, luscious representation of the herb.
Fragrantly fresh aroma and a verdant note that stirs the senses, Rosemary also adds a savoury tone that’s un-paralleled when looking to make a full, almost Mediterranean style profile. It also works particularly well at countering the like of lavender to ensure the floral elements are kept in check.
Rosemary can also be used in very small amount to help juniper re-emerge as a district taste and in doing so, while not evident in it’s own right, rosemary can be used in an augmentative role.
Lemony aroma with a backdrop of deep savoury thyme, this hybrid herb showcases exactly what’s brilliant about the herbal category – multifaceted, multidimensional and which reveals itself in very distinct ways at multiple times during a flavour journey.
Lemon thyme has an inviting smell, one that’s reminiscent of Sunday roasts and warming afternoons in the south of France. To taste, the deeper tones of thyme come to the fore and the green tinge is more apparent. This dual quality allows the distillate to be used in numerous ways and allows the blender options to replace citrus with it, or use it in tandem.
Evocative of the embers of a bonfire on a dark night, where the air is filled with the smoke of a fire that’s no longer ablaze, Lapsang distillate is profoundly transportive as a flavour experience.
Lapsang needs to be used cautiously in a blend, as it will overwhelm everything when given even half a chance. Used carefully however, the smoky tones can provide a sensory layer to the finish that can alter a journey, tipping it from pedestrian to sublime in a few drops.
Earl Grey Tea
As expected from this specific blend, bergamot drives the front of the flavour journey, while black tea leaves add a depth to the distillate. The tannic qualities of the leaf are not in abundance, but they provide a clear lingering sensation that endures in a long finish.
NUTTY & ROOTY
Nuts and roots can be used in numerous ways when building a gin or a custom blend. Some add sweetness, others add fullness to the mouthfeel and some bring length to the finish.
Slight marzipan tones emerge on the nose, while a sweet, nutty profile develops to taste.
Almond distillate is good to add length to the finish, as well as texture and fullness to the mouthfeel. Rich and sweet, it's a great addition to gin, bringing great depth.
The third most common botanical in gin production, angelica is rarely the star of the show. Understandably too, as it’s profile – earthy, rooty and reminiscent of bitter wormwood – hasn’t got much appeal in it’s own right.
Used as a backdrop, though, angelica root provides a bridge, a base, added depth and a platform for other botanicals to shine, in particular juniper. With many shared compounds, angelica acts as a support to juniper and coriander seed and is essential as an ingredient when looking to build the core of a gin.
It is worth noting that as a botanicals, liquorice root is nothing like anise. More over, it is absolutely nothing like the liquorice taste of Liquorice All Sorts. It is a sweet, barky root that when chewed into, has a sugar cane quality, mixed with an earthy root like exterior.
For centuries, Liquorice root is the predominant sweetener used in gin production. It adds sugary qualities to a gin, and brings in a silky viscosity to the flavour.
Fragrant in it’s aroma and intoxicatingly warming, Nutmeg is a useful botanical, not just to add a distinct sweet spice on the finish but also to add an otherwise impossible length, too.
Nutmeg is mercurial, changing to suit the botanicals it is paired with. When used in a classic gin ensemble it adds a prolonged heat to the finish, but when used in tandem with apricots it can appear more soothing than fiery.
Very similar to vanilla, Tonka’s ephemeral mystique delivers layer after layer of flavour like no other. There’s a pronounced silky edge both on the nose and to taste, but the sweeter, nutty tones are more apparent on the nose, while the vanilla-like, gourmand elements emerge more to taste.
As a base note to unpin proceedings, Tonka brings an exotic touch, but when used as a central accompaniment to the likes of juniper, delivers an impossible to place multi-dimensional aura that’ll have you recounting memories and imagining ingredients that are not actually there.
Every flavour journey needs an anchor. Whether perfume, gin or other mad cap botanical creation, all need an element that affords them a base from which the other botanicals can shine. Spiced botanicals are not just the end point of a journey and they are not just heat, they are the often hidden 'off note' which keeps the the other flavours in line. They underpin proceedings and prevent them from being one dimensional, and also add great length to the finish.
The mentholic spice of caraway seed is well known, but when used carefully (without allowing it to bring it’s own distinct profile to proceedings in a hugely discernible way) it can dramatically freshen the finish of a gin, and can be the perfect companion to juniper for those looking to accentuate the forest-like tones of gin’s star ingredient.
Big, curried notes waft with immediate effect towards the nose, while softer, almost dessert-like notes are apparent on the palate. The eucalyptus qualities of the pod add a verdant twang to the distillate, ensure that the fiery nature of the seeds play second fiddle to their intensity.
Cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon, has a warming, earthy aroma and a taste that is warm and slightly sweet at first, before progressing to burning fire as it grows in stature.
Cassia is more like the “cinnamon” you find in coffee shops and in super markets (usually because it’s actually cassia under a different name), and the bark is much closer to the idealised version of cinnamon than cinnamon bark itself, which is more woody and spiced in nature
Cloves have a sweet, warm flavour, and are intensely aromatic as an ingredient, which is reflected in the distillate, which can be overpowering in even the smallest amounts (translation: use sparingly).
As a spice, it leaves a lingering sensation similar to that of nutmeg, and when used in conjunction can create spectacular finishes to spirits.
Coriander seed plays an important role in any gin; it not only provides a slight nutty spice to proceedings, but it also add a huge dose of lemony citrus toward the mid to finish of a flavour journey.
It brings enormous length and warmth, and also has the power to grab that leading citrus taste by the hand and drag it right to the end of the sip.
A cousin of black pepper, cubeb has the same spiced nature without the piquancy. Instead, a violet-like floral tone emerges, bringing with it a complex, flowery back note and a cracked black spice finish that is both multifaceted and almost impossible to place.
Moroccan souk meets the feint remanence of a countryside apothecary – cubeb distillate is magic in a glass.
Unique amongst spices, few can claim the pungent swagger of pink peppercorn while also having such a delicate floral touch and a nature that evokes a sense of gourmandise.
Sappy and fiery, pungent and light, pink peppercorns bring a certain amount of levity to proceedings, as though the spice were dancing along the top of the glass, rather than buries deep within.
ALL the BYO botanical distillates have been bottled at 40% ABV, so that they are easy to cross blend with each other and to know the final ABV of your creation.
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