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The Old Curiosity Gin Tours
New Review
Tours Sat & Sun 11am, 1pm and 3pm. From 1 June – 21 September, a tour will also be available at 1pm on Thurs & Fri. Tickets from website £15 pp, includes full tasting

A place of pure imagination  … and gin. 

The Secret Herb Garden is a place of magical natural wonder. Bees, livestock, herbs and flowers create a storybook setting to ignite one's imagination. 

Hamish and Liberty Martin bought the several acres of derelict land in 2012 to construct a nursery which houses over 600 herbs and fruits in greenhouses and plots nestled in the countryside beneath the Pentland Hills. 

There is also a cafe and shop selling vintage gardening tools and events spaces for Full Moon Dinners, children’s activities and weddings. Some zealous planning officers, however, did halt the marriages for a couple of years and, during this period,  Hamish and Liberty had to put on their thinking caps to create an additional revenue stream. 

The answer was literally under their noses in the form of botanicals and natural flavourings. An on-site distillery and range of gins ‘Old Curiosity Gins’ was born. 

I accompanied my foody pal KT on a ‘just-announced’ Gin Tour which explains The Secret Herb Garden’s gin journey. 

First, the greenhouses where we crush, smell and taste ingredients such as mallow and lemon verbena and then onto the gardens and polytunnels for angelica, lavender, Woodruff, lovage, chamomile and rose. 

Apothecary Rose was the first gin creation. An ancient ingredient in tinctures and tonics, when Hamish began experimenting he discovered a natural reaction, a colour change when you add tonic. Initially done for fun, he soon realised that Mother Nature was offering him a commercial gift too. 

Herbs and flowers are picked, taken to drying rooms and then made into water distillations that are added to alcohol from the copper still. 

The last part of the tour takes us to the Tasting Rooms where we sample the Old Curiosity range: Lemon verbena, Chamomile and Cornflower, Lavender and Echinacea, Geranium and Mallow, Damask Rose and Apothecary Rose. 

The purity of ingredients, the unique setting and variety of botanicals and Hamish’s knowledge and passion for Herbology all make these gins unique. 

More limited edition gins are planned and will soon be available through The Secret Herb Garden’s Gin Club. (S.Wilson)


 

 

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