Simon Sherlock – Sherlock And Sons
Quietly crafting delicious gins from the heart of Surrey, Sherlock & Sons have been growing quite the reputation in connoisseur circles. Meet founder and distiller Simon…
You’re relative newcomers in the Gin world – what inspired you to take the leap and build your own distillery?
As a child my father was in the Champagne industry so I have always shared a common interest in it, from visiting vineyards to distilleries and everything in between, culminating in me joining Silent Pool in 2015 as a Distiller, then leaving in 2017 as their Head Distiller to set up my own distillery.
It was a dream of mine to set up my own distillery producing local hand-crafted spirits and I was keen to ensure that we supported local where we could, from our botanicals to our packaging.
You certainly achieved that, this is very much a family affair. How do you find working together?
When we say that we are a family run business, we really do mean that! Lianne and I have been together 20 years so we are well versed in how to effectively work together as a team!
Of course not discounting our three little boys, to whom the Sherlock & Sons is in homage to: Hamish, Charlie and Monty. They are always keen to be on hand to ‘help’ where they can.
You’re all about championing local spirits, both literally and in a more human sense too, can you tell us about some of the people you work with?
We have worked alongside some award winning local artisan companies such as The Salt Box and Lorna at The Little Indian Kitchen as well as supporting some more established organisations such as The Wisley Golf Club and Ripley’s very own Michelin star restaurant, The Clock House.
Let’s talk flavours. You have three gins for three very different palates. Did all of them come about at the same time as happy accidents, or were they all very firmly designed to be different at the start?
All three editions were very much firmly designed. We launched with the Solstice and the Nautical on World Gin Day 2018.
The Nautical was a fitting tribute to Ripley’s naval heritage; with the old Portsmouth Road and Admiral Nelson having stayed at the Talbot Inn in Ripley. The gin features angelica seed and lime and is a more traditional juniper forward gin. Whereas the Solstice features pink grapefruit and elderflower and is light and floral, being a huge hit in the warmer months.
Our Aromatic edition came later and was quite honestly a labour of love as we diligently looked to source as many botanicals for this edition from the UK as possible.
Defining the botanical search like that is tricky, but also makes for some ingenious solutions and unusual flavour combinations. What made the cut and what’s the profile like?
With our Aromatic in particular we finally narrowed down our recipe to twelve botanicals (the old adage the more the merrier doesn’t always apply!), five of which were sourced from the UK: rosemary, bay and oregano from Surrey, tea from Cornwall.
The Aromatic is distinctly different given that the vast majority of gins on the market are citrus forward. We pride ourselves that the three gins in our Sherlock & Sons range are London Dry, meaning post distillation the spirit is not artificially coloured, flavoured or
34 sugared and as such is regarded as a premium spirit.
The Aromatic Edition won Gold at the World Gin Awards in 2019. That must have been an amazing feeling – do you think it helped elevate you at all?
It certainly was an amazing feeling and it is an award and an achievement that we are very proud of. Not only did we win the gold for the Aromatic but we also went on to win gold for our label design. Another proud achievement worthy of mention was being installed as a Rectifier within the exclusive Gin Guild.
Quick fire geeky questions up next – what kind of still do you use?
We currently use a 100 litre pot still onto a copper rectifying column as we feel that you achieve a better consistency and control over your distillation.
How big is a batch?
We macerate our botanicals between 24 and 36 hours depending on the distillate. The distillation itself takes approximately four hours.
We blend multiple distillates to form a batch, ensuring consistency in flavour. Some of that liquid is then taken and watered down onsite to our bottle strength where we hand fill, stopper and label all our bottles onsite ourselves.
How big is the team?
In terms of team, we have two members of full time staff and multiple part time events team members for farmers markets and festivals.
And finally, what’s coming up next?
Excitingly, we are in the process of finalising a new premises that we hope to move into in 2020. We will be able to move on to a larger still, but will continue to bottle and hand label ourselves on site.
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