Beers of Europe would like to introduce the latest Gin addition to their selection, Archangel Gin - from Archangel Distilleries Ltd, Fakenham Norfolk.
Archangel Gin is handcrafted in the heart of Norfolk, half way between the great monastic houses of Walsingham and Castle Acre. Producing ‘Angeli Ab Oriente’, Angels from the East; spirits with a distinctive Norfolk heritage.
The Spirit of Archangel
Continuing a venerable monastic tradition of brewing and distilling with a mixture of work and prayer, ‘Ora et labora ’ that stretches back well over a thousand years and during the working day we observe the monastic hours of Lauds and Vespers. Norfolk is a county where the Church has deep roots. The gothic arches, hammer beam rooves and soaring towers bear witness to a spectacular past when Norfolk was one of the richest counties in England, both economically and spiritually. The landscape remains dominated by these beautiful monuments to faith and the Archangel Distillery is just a hundred yards or so from St Peter’s, Dunton.
Even our spirits are finished with Walsingham Water, helping to create a truly ‘heavenly gin’.
Distilled and Bottle In Norfolk
Archangel gin is made entirely in Norfolk, not imported and relabelled. Norfolk is the home of farming. It was here that great characters like ‘Turnip Townsend’ and ‘Coke of Norfolk’ first pioneered the farming methods that formed the English countryside as we know it today. The distillery is part of a working farm which has been lovingly nurtured in the family for over sixty years, producing the best of local produce with local labour and small scale, handcrafted products.
Archangel Gin Botanicals
Archangel is a rich, complex gin bursting with exciting flavours. On the nose, the juniper, some of which is locally grown, floods through; the verbena and orange peel add a light, zesty fragrance to the top notes with rooty botanicals including sea-buckthorn breaking through at the finish. The gin is full bodied, deliciously smooth, and mixes gloriously with tonic. When used in cocktails it adds great sophistication and depth. Served cold, straight from the freezer, with just a curl of orange zest it makes a truly remarkable digestif after a sumptuous dinner.
Q & A By Jude De Souza, Co-Founder of Archangel Distilleries.
Q: Who are you/what do you do? A: Jude De Souza – Co-founder of Archangel Distilleries. I’m the man who came up with the recipes.
Q: How did you get into this line of work? (where did you learn to make gin?) A: By total chance. After tasting a gin created by a good friend, I was inspired to start up a gin business myself so with Peter Allingham, a friend of over 25 years, who is also very fond of G & T, we decided to give the gin business a go, based on Peter’s family farm. We started Distilling in February 2017 and it’s been a brilliant experience. In fact, we’ve just been awarded ‘Best New Business’ in North Norfolk.
Q: What is your business/what do you do? A: Archangel Distilleries - We are an artisan gin maker; we make small batch craft gin and a fabulous Rhubarb gin. We’re extending our product range in 2019 to include a sloe gin and a Navy Strength Archangel.
Q: What was the inspiration for starting the distillery? A: Archangel co-founders, Peter Allingham and Jude De Souza, met in 1994 at ITV in London where Peter was an IT consultant and Jude worked as a statistician. A mutual friend of theirs Craig Penn, who started the Wrecking Coast Distillery in Cornwall, encouraged them to go into business together. Inspired by his success, they set about making their own gin, travelling to Holland to learn about gin making and converting some disused stables on Peter's family farm into the distillery.
Q: Where do you see, or hope to see, the distillery in 5 years’ time? A: We are in the gin business for the long haul! This is part of farm diversification. We have planted 250 of our own juniper bushes; we grow lemon verbena and the sea buckthorn that we use in our recipe. We’ve also planted 2,500 blackthorn bushes so we can become self-sufficient in sloe production. In 5 years, we see the distillery having a national presence and Archangel Distilleries being an integral part of the Norfolk business community. We’re also looking to export to both the USA and Spain.
Q: Are there any other distilleries which have influenced X? A: Apart from the Wrecking Coast, we are impressed by the business model of the Cotswold distillery which includes distillery tours, and also very much like the connection with the land and local community that Dunnet Bay Distillery has in the production of their delicious Rock Rose gin.
Q: The craft beer/gin movement seems to be going from strength to strength. Why do you think brewing been such a great success in recent years? A: Craft gins offer customers a wide variety of flavours using very different botanicals that often have a connection with a specific locality. This range means that there has to be a gin for every taste. Think of the breadth and difference in style of flavours possible in fine malt whisky. Craft gin makers are doing for gin what the great whisky houses of Scotland have done for whisky. Each mix of botanicals gives individual craft gins a unique flavour profile allowing consumers to experiment with different tastes that appeal to their particular likes. At Archangel, we know that the North Norfolk area has had a great connection to the Dutch, especially in the 17th and 18th centuries, so we decided to make a Dutch style gin with orange and exciting spices like cardamom, cinnamon and grains of paradise.
Q: What do you see as the latest gin styles to look out for in 2019? A: Some of the wilder combinations of botanicals, many of which were less than successful, will drop away this year. It isn’t too hard to get people to by their first bottle of something unusual, but it can be difficult to sell that second bottle if the flavours are too outlandish!
Q: Many distilleries are experimenting with adding unusual flavours to their gins. Are there any you think work well together and are there any you would like to try? A: We are experimenting with different fruit flavours at the moment. Some are delicious; some improve over time and some just don’t work at all. We’re always developing new flavours, but it can take a long time to be sure that something really works. Watch this space!
Looking ahead, what new stuff can we expect from Archangel? A: In the short term, we’re working on a Navy Strength gin. In fact, the product is ready – it’s now a case of finalising the branding. The flavours are just amazing, and cocktails made with it are truly spectacular!
Q: What is the best part of your job? A: There is no doubt; fairs, shows and tastings! It’s like that great feeling you get having cooked a really amazing dinner and your guests sing your praises to the rafters. Without wishing to be immodest, we get that a lot at tastings and we love it! We even have people who say they don’t like gin changing their minds completely when they’ve tasted Archangel. A good way to achieve that is to use ginger ale rather than tonic.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? A: A Whisky Mac. My father was a whisky man. He would allow me to have a sip now and again telling me that it would keep away a cold. I think I was about ten years old when I first had my first sip! Those were difference days!
Q: If you have to pick (we know, tough choice!) which would be your top three gins in the whole world? A: Archangel gin, Rock Rose gin and maybe a flavored gin (like Archangel Rhubarb gin) for a change! Actually, I’ve always admired Blue Bottle from Guernsey which has a very subtle and pleasing use of gorse flowers.
Q: You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? A: A fishing rod and line, I’m a keen fisherman so hopefully I won’t go hungry; a bottomless case of G&T’s to keep my spirits up and the complete works of P.G Wodehouse to keep me entertained!
Archangel gin will be joining Beers of Europe this year for Norfolk Day on the 27th July where you can pop along and try this great gin for yourself. They will also be hosting tasting sessions in store throughout summer - check website for details.
The Archangel range is now available on the Beers of Europe Website and in store in Setchey, Norfolk.