Charles Maxwell s is one of the key people behind Fifty Pounds Gin, a master distiller of many years’ experience, whose knowledge and expertise helped guide our classically smooth gin.

More importantly, he’s also a fan of gin and, perhaps at his happiest, when discussing the subject. “I can always talk about the distillation process,” he admits which, in the case of Fifty Pounds Gin, is a classic, and quite simple, approach.

“It’s a fairly straightforward process,” explains Charles. “We put the botanicals into the still along with premium neutral grain spirit and water, and we give the spirit, and the water, and the botanicals time to macerate for a little bit, and then we turn on the stills.

“We heat the stills gently with hot water jackets. You don’t want direct flame or anything too violent because you don’t want to scald your botanicals.

“This process takes about five hours. At the start, you get the “heads”, and we draw them off as they have very little botanical oil in them. The heads are mostly spirit, because spirit boils at 76 degrees, so that means it comes off very quickly.

“As the distillation process progresses, you get more of the oils coming across, and then towards the end, the strength – which we monitor throughout the process – will drop. When that happens, when the strength drops below a critical point, we collect that too, those are the “tails”: the oils also become very heavy in the tails. We use only the liquid between those stages, the “heart” of the distillation. That comes off at approx. 80% ABV.

“It’s then left to settle for no less than three weeks, which allows the botanicals’ essentials oils to blend perfectly with the grain spirit. The final step towards achieving our precious gin is to balance the distillate obtained with the same type of neutral alcohol, together with demineralised water, to achieve the perfect balance and alcohol content.

“The whole point of Fifty Pounds Gin is to capture that freshness in a bottle. As I like to tell whisky distillers, when they finally get it right, they won’t have to store it in barrels for three years…”