Dear local village friends,
The West Berkshire village of Compton is now officially home to the best London Dry gin in the country. At the end of last month, following the tasting of 800 entries, the prestigious World Gin Awards announced “The Blowing Stone” London Dry gin by Hawkridge Distillers as the best in its category in England.
The Blowing Stone range was conceived to celebrate the rich early medieval history of the North Wessex Downs and most notably the Battle of Ashdown which ended in victory for (the king to be ) Alfred the Great in a field somewhere between Compton and Aldworth.
The battle was an important one in the history of the whole country as it represented Alfred’s first victory against the Vikings and a first step towards the eventual unification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
We designed the gin in a way that would reflect the era in look, feel and taste. The shape of the bottle resembles that of a 9th century drinking vessel. Hand-drawn Saxon style art with the battle’s date subtlety hidden on the bottle and a hand drawn label decorate the gin. Inside the bottle, the gin’s flavour profile has been carefully developed over scores of test distillations using botanicals that were available in the 9th century (including meadowsweet, gorse and honey).
Why did we call it “The Blowing Stone?” Well.. legend suggests that on the morning of the battle, Alfred, who was in command of half of the Saxon army (his brother, King Ethelred commanded the other half) called his troops into battle by blowing skilfully into an ancient, perforated sarsen stone. The stone emitted a loud booming sound across the downs which signalled Alfred’s command to march west to face the “heathen” Viking foe. The stone became known as “The Blowing Stone” and you can still see it (and blow into it!), now in a garden in the village of Kinsgston Lisle near Wantage.
The judges at the World Gin Awards described our Blowing Stone Gin as “A great traditional-style gin with a zing of juniper alongside meadow flowers, herbs, citrus peel, cumin and gingery spices. Good and complex. Some woody notes and some warmth, before a complex, rounded finish.”
We are really thrilled that in our short history we have been able to create such a well-respected gin. If you want to get your hands on a bottle, you can order from the Blowing Stone website – blowingstonegin.com – (select “Collection from the Distillery” to pick up and avoid delivery costs). Use the code BESTGIN15 to also get a 15% discount on a bottle.
Thanks for all the support we have received to date from our local village clients. We have been really encouraged by the amount of interest and happy clients enjoying our gins.