My wife and I were the only ones on the tour, which meant it was like a private tour with Hugh. You couldn’t get a more passionate, keen, knowledgeable guide, he made us extremely comfortable and kept us entertained.
I booked the long tour for a group of four friends. We were so impressed with Hugh’s knowledge of gin and the whole process from start to finish. He is very passionate about his product and it is clear a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it. We throughly enjoyed our tour, which was obviously helped by the weather and the delicious cocktails at the end! Thank you for a lovely day Hugh.
Fantastic experience with the very knowledgable Hugh. He was open to any questions and just good fun. Highly recommend a visit and trying some of his produce
We had a fantastic tour. Hugh was great, made us feel very welcome and we very much enjoyed the tour and getting hands on with part of the process. It was clear that this is a passion for Hugh. We have done lots of different tours but this was on a different level. We would highly recommend this tour to everyone.
A visit to Downton Distillery may be advertised to you as an activity; it isn’t – it is an experience. As soon as you arrive Hugh is busy putting you at your ease, talking about his life and love of nature. He gently explores your background identifying common areas of interest. He is a quiet master at gaining your trust. The tour started outside with a talk about Juniper. Most of us know next to nothing about Juniper, even if you drink gin. Hugh is an aficionado and guides you through a number of different varieties that he is growing on site. He waxes lyrical about his plans to expand his juniper planting and even taking over the next field to grow even more of it.
A short walk from the distillery you discover a well-kept secret, a large vineyard sited on a south facing slope taking full advantage. Hugh has plans for additional concoctions to add to his gin stable, and joining forces with the vineyard is a key part of that plan. Waste products from both businesses go to help the other thrive. It is a beautiful symbiosis.
Back in the distillery proper we now meet Hugh’s distillation collection. He has literally dozens upon dozens of bottles each containing the distilled essence of a single botanical – mushroom, beetroot, celery, walnut etc. Hugh must have wracked his brain to identify every conceivable contender for a gin botanical and then laboriously distilled it. From this he can be begin to build a recipe for a new drink, knowing exactly how it emerges from the distillation.
We were meant to be there 90 minutes, at 150 minutes we had to call a halt – we could easily have gone on for another hour or two, and Hugh looked all set to accommodate that. His boundless enthusiasm made this an enormously fulfilling and entertaining morning.
HOW TO ENJOY EXPLORER'S
Rumoured to be Taylor Swift’s new favourite cocktail, we must love this too. Fresh, lightly sweet, and not overly strong, this drink combines grapefruit juice, elderflower liqueur (typically St-Ger... more
History informs us that drink originated from Caffe Casoni in Florence, Italy in 1919. Legend tells that Count Camillo Negroni asked his friend, bartender Forsco Scarselli, to strengthen his favour... more
This is another brand-new cocktail created by the talented Ben Morley. It is a twist on the Brandy Alexander, using our Hazelnut Vodka. This has been created for Christmas and those who love both c... more
Designed last month, this is a brand-new cocktail created by the talented Ben Morley a part time mixologist, who came to the distillery to both visit and create a series of new drinks. This is a so... more