I’m not really a fan of gin. But I do enjoy a good tourist attraction. So when I was asked whether I wanted to go for a tour round the local gin distillery I was totally up for it! After all, I don’t like whiskey but I still went on the Jameson distillery tour in Dublin and it was fab!
Bombay Sapphire is a very well known gin brand and it’s distillery is about 20 minutes drive from me, at Laverstoke Mill in the beautiful little Hampshire village of Laverstoke. It’s only been there since 2014 and whilst I’ve known about it being there and the fact that they offer tours, I just never really thought to go. But I’m really pleased I went now, it was a great couple of hours.
Laverstoke Mill is a beautiful place. Nestled right in the Hampshire countryside it was once used to make the paper for the Indian Rupee currency. It’s had many uses and has passed through many hands over the hundreds of years its been there. It’s now occupied by Bombay Sapphire and all the gin they make is distilled through this Laverstoke Mill distillery.
So what can you expect from a tour of the Mill? Well, we took a self guided tour which means you can go round in your own time for the first bit of it, where you can look around outside, go in the little glass and bottle museum they have and go in the huge glasshouses. One of the glasshouses is a tropical one and one is a Mediterranean one, both growing plants (or botanicals) that they use in the gin production. There are a few interactive points where you tap the chip in your map against the points and you can hear the story about the din distilling processing.
You then move on to the aroma room where you can smell all of the different botanical flavours, and using a card that they give you with all the different flavours on, you can mark which flavours you like the most.
And then you move on to getting a guided tour inside the still room where they actually make and distill the gin. It’s loud but it’s fascinating. You get to taste a teeny bit of the gin once it’s gone through the process and whilst it’s at 88% ABV. Top tip here – don’t accidentally get some on your lip because it burns!
Interesting fact number 1 – they made 44 million bottles of gin at that distillery last year and they are on track to make 55 million this year! That’s a lot of gin.
Once you’ve been round the still room you head off back outside and into the bar to order and receive your complimentary drink! Excellent! And the great thing is that if you’re driving, you can have a complimentary non alcoholic drink and they’ll give you a mini bottle of gin and tonic to take home with you. Thumbs up to that!
Interesting fact number 2 = every single bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin that you see anywhere in the world has been distilled at Laverstoke Mill, in the sleepy Hampshire countryside. I think that’s pretty epic! who knew something so huge was just down the road from me!
It really was a great tour. It’s not a big place, but it’s a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. In the summertime I can imagine it’s utterly stunning. It was beautiful in the cold early winter evening.
Here’s a couple of pics of the Mill and the glasshouses:
If ever you find yourself in Hampshire and you’ve got a couple of hours to kill, then I’d highly recommend this tour. And like me, you don’t need to be a gin lover to enjoy it.