The inspiration behind Aromata with Scott Gowans
Our new Aromata limited edition gin has a few origins and influences that inspired me to create this gin. It all starts with Darnley’s Spiced Gin, which was released over 8 years ago and was the first spiced gin on the market. I fell in love with this creation on first taste and I normally wasn’t a fan of cinnamon, but it’s all about balance. If you’ve ever cooked with cloves you’ll know one too many and it will dominate your dish. So obviously we like to experiment and expand on that as the array of home grown and foreign herbs and spices have so many different flavours to offer.
Over the years of working here at Darnley’s Gin, tour guide after tour guide kept asking me when to do I planned to do an aniseed and liquorice gin. To be honest I despise liquorice, always have and always will - it’s just not a flavour I enjoy. But I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately I had a cold (pre-covid) that week so my palate was way off and although some tour guides loved it to me it more resembled Sambuca than a gin. So the challenge was how to make a well-balanced gin that the majority of people can enjoy but still excite the palate.
My wife and I spent our honeymoon in South East Asia where we fell in love with the culture and especially the cuisine. We are both keen home cooks and really enjoyed going on food market tours in Hoi An where we finished with a Vietnamese cooking school. Walking around street vendors and trying new and exciting cuisines was one of the highlights of this trip, we even tried fried crickets, but I’m not ready to use those in a gin…. These travels inspired me to start growing lemongrass at home and in our gin cottage and really extended my spice rack at home. The way Asian cuisine can balance different notes surprised me as I began to love using aniseed botanicals like star anise and fennel seeds. I was shocked myself that if it is well balanced I actually really like aniseed just not liquorice allsorts!!
The final creation
I really wanted to start with lemongrass as the main character giving big spicy lemon notes backed up with a touch of ginger. Green peppercorns were used to add subtle pepper notes that would be more aromatic than spicy. Then I layered this with sweet and earthy notes of turmeric and galangal with a slight sweet woody notes from birch bark. You can see birch trees all around the distillery, but it’s not the only local botanical used. I wanted to finish with well-balanced aniseed notes from our cottage garden fennel plant, with a touch of star anise.
With so many inspirations and influences from the company history, colleagues and fond personal memories it’s been a great joy to create and I look forward to seeing what you think!