Capreolus Distillery, Cirencester
On a recent visit to a blogging friend's house in Stroud I was fortunate enough to find that my arrival coincided with the opening of exclusive Capreolus Distillery. This artisan company is the labour of love of Barney Wilczak who brings his deep respect for nature and his minute attention to detail to the painstaking art of spirit production. Sadly, I didn't take many pictures but since I could hardly do justice to the professional shots on the website this is of little consequence.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in late June, we had a long and enjoyable chat about the distillation process and Barney explained the potted history of the distillery from its conception. The recipe for the signature Garden Tiger gin is one of intricate study and ultimately shows the triumph of a passionate producer. Not to mention that Barney now holds a small library of individually extracted botanicals (some via both steeping and vapour) which has given him a wonderful insight into the processes, the possibilities and the product itself. This is taking artisan gin production to a different level and is worth savouring.
Certain of the spirits have also been aged in barrels which give a lovely deep caramel colour to them and adds an extra dimension to the flavours of the spirit. It was fascinating to taste the Harry Masters Jersey Eau de Vie alongside the mulberry barrel-aged version. Both are great examples of Eau de Vie in the traditional style and show very clean, pure flavours thanks to the attention to detail at the distillation stage. It is of note that spirits from Capreolus are never chill-filtered nor are the feints recycled during the distillation and no artificial colouring is added.
I should probably point out that my schedule has meant I have missed the window to promote Capreolus in any way..... They are doing marvellously on their own and have created quite a buzz. So much so that they are sold out of many lines in this first year due to the small volumes produced. I look forward to the new harvest season and I am confident we can expect further exciting creations in the coming months and years.