Ray Woolhead is the owner of Divine Gin, a distillery based just a few miles away in Holmfirth. We stock their Angel Gin – a dry, zesty spirit presented in a unique bottle. Ray designed the gin to be drinkable neat, like a whiskey, as well as with a mixer such as tonic, so it is distilled four times to create a smooth finish on the palate. Make an appointment with our team of experts to sample some for yourself.
“The only thing that is added to our distilled spirit is fresh Yorkshire spring water, sourced very locally. The distillation process takes about 30 hours with some botanicals being macerated prior to heat. The spirit is rested before cutting back with spring water. We are small batch at the moment producing 35 bottles per run with an ABV of 42%`’.
How long have you been in business and what led you into it?
I had no experience in distilling up until 3 years ago when I decided to embark on this project. I attended a course at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling as an introduction and then got straight on with it! After 20 months of experimentation trying to get a taste that is acceptable to most people’s palette, without the hard hit of lots of gins that turn people off, we made the decision to test the market place, and with demand outstripping our capacity Gin Divine was born. The desire to create a gin that was drinkable neat, like a whisky, as well as refreshing with a mixer, was the driving force. We wanted to create something that both myself and my wife could enjoy drinking together.
Creating a gin isn’t that complicated when you understand the distillation process, flavour profiling, cuts for fruitiness or earthy flavours etc. Margins are very tight when producing at a craft level but I do enjoy taking a batch from start to finish, and I feel a connection with every bottle that leaves. I hope people like the flavour. Thankfully the feedback has been very positive so far and we are making strides forward with a new still on order and a purpose-built unit being converted as we speak.
How many variations do you make?
It’s been hard enough in the last 4 months getting (Angel) Gin Divine to a level so we’ve been concentrating on this as a core flavour before embarking on flavoured gin. We do have various experimental recipes that we plan to develop based around fresh vibrant profiles, pomegranate and basil being one that I favour at the moment.
What’s the production cycle?
Our gin is distilled 4 times before it reaches the bottle. We use a directly heated still with the botanicals immersed straight into the liquid. The only thing that is added to our distilled spirit is fresh Yorkshire spring water, sourced very locally. The distillation process takes about 30 hours with some botanicals being macerated prior to heat. The spirit is rested before cutting back with spring water. We are small batch at the moment producing 35 bottles per run with an ABV of 42%.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy your product?
We like to taste the gin with pomegranate seeds and a slice of dragon fruit (white), or to pull out the botanical profile sip neat or with a small splash of spring water. A winter garnish of cinnamon enhances the warm pepper flavours.
What’s your favourite food accompaniment?
I like to drink Divine in a Tapas style environment, tasting with a variety of small dishes and using the botanicals to develop different flavours in the dishes. With the various botanicals it would be hard to pick out one flavour to complement both the gin and food flavour. After dinner, neat with a block of ice, cheese and biscuits finishes a meal off lovely.