Cambridge Distillery debuts Darwin-inspired gin

English producer Cambridge Distillery has released a gin that pays homage to Charles Darwin’s voyage of discovery on the HMS Beagle.

Titled ‘Americas Herbarium’, the gin has been created in partnership with the Cambridge University Botanic Garden and under the guidance of the garden’s curator, professor Sam Brockington,

It’s crafted with botanicals that were found during Darwin’s sails across South America – juniper, cinnamon leaf, barberry, wild strawberry and baccharis magellanica – and its origins are said to trace back to the university’s herbarium, which is where many of the samples collected by Darwin on his travels ended up, and were then paired with botanicals from the University Botanic Garden by Darwin’s mentor, John Stevens Henslow.

The gin was described by the distillery as a ‘harmonious blend of past and present’.

William Lowe MW, master distiller and co-founder of Cambridge Distillery, said: “Observing Darwin’s hand-collected samples was a moment I will never forget.

“Seeing the field notes and annotations, the tears on the stems where they’d been snapped from the plants, and knowing the impact that the thoughts forming at the time would go on to have in the world is hard to comprehend.

“The opportunity to express some part of this voyage through the medium of flavour is a career highlight for me – a truly humbling one, at that.’’

Lowe employs a novo-dimensional vacuum distillation method – an intricate process of nine variables where he individually distils each botanical to achieve ‘optimal’ flavour.

The brand said his approach ‘not only preserves the historical significance of the botanicals from Darwin’s explorations but also infuses the spirit with a touch of modernity and sophistication’.

In regards to the profile, on the nose it has a ‘honeyed florality’ with a ‘crisp red berry’, while on the mouth drinkers may find berry flavours of wild strawberry and barberry, with a soft sweetness on the finish.

Americas Herbarium is the first in a series of gins that the Cambridge Distillery plans to release in honour of Darwin’s journey on the HMS Beagle.

Bottled at 42% ABV, it can be purchased for £195 (US$238) on either the Cambridge Distillery’s website or at its pop-up gin laboratory and shop at The Royal Exchange in London.

Cambridge Distillery also recently teamed up with The Peninsula London to create a trio of gins for the new luxury hotel.

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