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A Distillers Story. Part One

You may have heard of Harley House Distillery, but do you know the story behind it? Here is how we started our distillery.

Harley House Distillery is based in Seaford, East Sussex. We are nestled at the edge of the beautiful South Downs next to the Seven Sisters Cliffs, midway between Brighton and Eastbourne.

Our Distillery is a labour of love, from Adam's early morning revelation that "I think I'll build a still" in the Spring of 2017 it has grown. Initially, Adam handmade a 'Moonshine' Type still which was constantly being added to. The next still which was an 80-litre capacity was purchased in the Summer of 2018 to the summer of 2019 when we took delivery of a 380-litre still. In May 2020 new parts were commissioned to be made for our still. No doubt this is not where the story of the equipment ends as we expect there are many more additions to come. Harley House has numerous licences, our distilling license was granted in July 2017. We are also a Customs & Excise bonded warehouse, as we distil all our products and are capable of distilling anything that can be distilled. We produce our spirits in their entirety, from initial fermentation to the final distillation. Many of our Ingredients and botanicals are sourced and found if not in Sussex, in the UK.

Creating unique, mouthwatering, spirits is about getting the balance of base alcohol to a stage of perfection. We have trialed and errored many different types of yeast and ingredients to start the initial ferment. The

strain of yeast and the quality of other ingredients makes a huge difference, this was learnt whilst visiting colleagues in a distillery in Barbados.

​Here at Harley House, we like to source our ingredients as locally as possible. Not only to ensure a crisp sensory experience of flavour but also to give our bottles character and the pure DNA of Sussex.100% produced by us from the initial ferment to the production of 92-94% ABV Alcohol using our column still which distils the ferment 11 times to ensure the purest and smoothest alcohol.

All of our neutral alcohol and final gin production uses locally sourced water from an aquifer in the South Downs. This is laboratory tested twice a year for portability. which allows us to ensure that the quality of water used in every single bottle is some of the purest and highest quality you can find.

​All of our bottles are labelled, regulated, and numbered by hand. This allows us to intricately quality check our products before sending them out to our lovely customers. Doing this ensures our customers their getting a bottle made with the utmost care, respect, and attention.

"Making a local gin that is so versatile and with so much care and attention is something I pride myself on"

Adam Cowley (Creative Distiller)

Our first Gin launch!

We launched our signature brand, 'Pure Sussex Gin' in September 2017. The first batch was greeted with such acclaim that we sold out in just under a week. Each batch we produce consists of a limited number of bottles meaning that we can create each bottle by hand with the utmost care and attention.

Our distillery prides itself on creating unique produce that showcases our local area and leaves a lasting memory on the tastebuds. We use water from our aquifer in the South Downs in every batch we create. The water is thoroughly filtered through the South Downs to provide the purest beginning of any spirit. We use the fresh water to create initial alcohol solutions which is unusual however, it is something we particularly pride ourselves on. ​

Being a family-run business means that we take pride in every bottle that goes out of the distillery. Our Creative Distiller produces each batch by hand from start to finish and ensures that the final batch is to his taste satisfaction. The bottles are individually labelled and hand stamped before being carefully hand filled.

The final process is placing caps on the bottles, sealing them, and boxing them before sending them directly to you. Our IWSC Award-winning signature 'Pure Sussex Gin' that is so fantastically smooth, it's like drinking liquid silk. Hand-crafted with 15 premium quality botanicals that have been carefully balanced to give you the ultimate gin experience. (40% ABV)

​IWSC tasting notes :

A heavy and characterful base spirit that is fruity with bready, rye notes. Flavours of citrus add zestiness and oiliness to the palate, followed by gentle floral notes.

Our Magical, 'Sussex Blue Gin'

With the success that came from our 'Pure Sussex Gin,' we had to think about how we could beat that with a brand new Gin & we think we may have just done that! What do you think?

Our small batch of 'Sussex Blue Gin' is inspired by the evolution of the local Adonis blue butterfly. Based on our award-winning pure Sussex gin, our Sussex blue gin has a delicate blend of 15 botanicals including juniper berries, giving you a surprisingly smooth gin with a fresh taste at the start and long lingering floral and citrus notes.

If you’re a lover and connoisseur of all things gin related then it’s unlikely you have let blue gin sidestep your radar but on the off-chance, it has let’s get into it.

Blue gin is so-called because it features a unique botanical that other gins don’t, the butterfly pea blossom (Clitoria Ternatea). This flower is typically found in Asia and features an interesting compound that reacts to PH levels by changing colour. To simplify that, the deep blue gin changes to a bright pink when mixed with an acidic solution, such as Tonic Water!

This gin is guaranteed to add a level of theatrics to your next party, so it’s important to make sure you’re serving it right to get the maximum impact for your guests. There’s nothing quite like that audible gasp as the gin turns to pink!

We would recommend a large balloon glass as it’s perfect for displaying the magical transformation you want to make sure there are no visual obstructions. Fill your glass with plenty of ice as this will help slow the mixing of the gin and your mixer meaning the display is more dramatic. For your mixer, you want to pick a clear liquid such as your favourite tonic. There’s no point in having a mixer that you can’t see through because you’ll miss the whole display! You also need to ensure your mixer has a reasonably high acidity level. Tonic is ideal for this, as is lemonade.

The garnish is entirely up to you but a slice of citrus such as grapefruit is only going to increase the acidity level so we would recommend that together with some seasonal berries and a sprig of Rosemary.

Despite the dramatic colour-changing properties, the butterfly pea flower doesn’t add much in the way of a flavour profile. This means that each distillery can create a unique gin whilst still maintaining the magical effect.

Tasting notes:

A juniper forward Gin, not as floral as one would expect considering the flower element but bursting with tongue-tingling flavours and bags of character. Tastes as amazing as it looks!

The rest, so they say is history! But in our next blog, we will tell you the story behind on how we have grown over the last few years, surviving the pandemic, and with the introduction of our 'Curiosity Series' of flavoured spirits and, the launch of 'Prohibition Rum'.


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