William Chase Gin is a gin I desperately wanted to love. William Chase is the only gin in England made from a neutral spirit made by the distillery; all other distilleries buy in their neutral spirit. Most gins are made with a grain based neutral spirit, William Chase make their spirits from cider apples. So you can see why I was excited to try it.
Chase Distillery have a field to bottle approach, they grow apples and potatoes for their vodka on their property in Herefordshire. They make their base spirit, essentially vodka, by fermenting then distilling the apples and potatoes. The base spirit comes out at about 96% ABV.
To make their gin they put the botanicals into a pillowcase (yep, a pillowcase!) and toss that into the carter of their still, Ginny. As the vapours pass through the pillowcase they are flavoured with the botanicals.
Once flavoured, the spirit is mixed with water drawn from a source on their property, down to 48% ABV.
There’s no reason not to describe this gin as London Dry, although they do not market it as such.
With an ABV of 48%, ethanol overpowers the botanicals on the nose. There is a sense of juniper, but it’s very subtle. On the palate, again the neutral spirit is the star with the botanicals very difficult to detect. Given the provenance of the spirit I expected it to be more remarkable, to have a more distinct flavour, maybe the deficiency is in my palate, but it really didn’t taste the difference in the neutral spirit and found the botanicals almost undetectable.
When I was in London I tasted the William Chase Vodka, which I thought was delicious and wonderfully smooth. Look, I’m a bit confused about this too.
I only had a 50mL sample bottle, so after tasting it neat I only had enough left for a gin and tonic, with Fevertree tonic and lemon peel. I was hoping the mixing the William Chase with tonic water would open up the flavours of the botanicals, but I found the flavour of the lemon peel overwhelmed any subtle botanical flavours.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
The Gin Blog
WHERE TO BUY
I can’t find an Australian supplier for William Chase Gin, but you can order it from Master of Malt in the UK, just watch out for the shipping!