With 3 different flavours each designed to highlight most popular gin flavours, Simon from Persie Gin has a different approach to distilling. We spoke with him about his amazing gins.
How did the 3 Persie Gins come about? They have very distinctive flavours to others that are on the market.
I started the business 3 years ago after wanting to do something a little different with the last 20 years of my working life. I’d seen how Sipsmith Gin had developed over in the US and wanted to explore things further.
I’d worked for Johnny Walker Whiskey several years ago so had some basic knowledge of spirits.
My wife and I started up the Gin Club Scotland with a view to holding gin tasting events that would allow us to capture some market research on what people did and didn’t like and they could score the gin using my “Gin-o-meter” scaling system (from Gin-credible to Gin-ferior).
This information was then plugged into a huge spreadsheet and told us there were 3 main areas of interest; fruity, sweet and aromatic.
My wife still runs the tasting events so that we can keep on top of people’s preferences and see how things change. We don’t sell anything at these events, it’s just tasting sessions. We then email people back after a couple of days with a summary of information, their tasting profile, together with a couple of gin suggestions that they might want to try.
Tell us about the gin in your own words
Persie Gin takes 3 forms:
Zesty Citrus – To give the gin its burst of citrus, I hand zest 180 limes and 20 blood oranges to make 230 litres of gin.
Herbie & Aromatic – This is the UK’s only aromatic savoury gin. It’s been influenced by Mediterranean gins that I’ve come across. It has a totally different style and needs no garnish. It makes a great Bloody Mary (or a Herbie Mary) – same ingredients, just minus the Lea & Perrins!
Sweet & Nutty – This is a great gin for the mixologists out there! There’s a warmth that runs through the gin and makes an excellent Negroni. I was looking for a sweeter style that was tipping its hat to an Old Tom gin but wanted something with a modern take.
Where does the name come from?
It was SO difficult to get the right name to match the brand! When I was first starting the business, I bought the building and had to do a lot of work to get it up to distillery standard. I threw a party for all the locals and hung up a sheet of paper and some pens and simply asked people to jot down their ideas. Needless to say, as the evening wore on, the names got progressively worse!
The building is sat on an estate called Persie, plus the building attached to the distillery was once called the Persie Hotel, so it felt right to give something back to the community.
What’s the biggest challenge of business so far that you’ve had to overcome?
If you’d have asked me 2 years ago then I would have said finding the right premises. It was important to me to have somewhere that I could build a business that would be solid and sustainable, to grow and innovate new products.
Being impatient has also been tricky! When you’re first starting a business, you are very dependent on others and getting people lined up to fit in with your timescales. You have to drive it hard to coordinate the project management side of things.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Good question! At the moment, it’s a 7 day week for me and it’s not settled into anything that I would call predictable. I try to be at my desk for 07.45 every day and if I’m distilling then that takes place between 08.00 – 20.00 so those days are full on! I’m on my own most days (apart from the dog) and when we’re bottling I rope in anyone and everyone – my wife, my friends and even my Mother. We’ve got quite a good production line set up now.
What does the future hold?
I’m very excited to see where the future takes Persie Gins – I’m looking forward to seeing Persie become available over the pond, although I want to do this steadily and not jump in all guns blazing. I like to build good, solid, reliable relationships with people. Obviously, I want to safeguard the brand that I’ve built up.
Persie Distillery is also opening its doors to visitors on Thursday 11 August 2016!
What’s the best thing about what you do?
I really love the social aspect of the business – there’s such camaraderie between us gin makers and it’s great to see and hear about so many collaborations.
Gin already has an intriguing heritage and it’s wonderful to be part of a piece of history in the making and know that potentially, in years to come, people will be reading about what we’ve been doing.
Favourite Gin…other than your own?!
That’s a really difficult question to answer – there are SO many gins out there now! From our Gin Club Scotland business, I’ve got access to some 170 gins from around the world. It really does depend on my mood –Berry’s No 3, Tanqueray No Ten, Nolet’s Silver Gin is lovely but it’s £60 a bottle (!!) and for a crazy fun gin I’d say Hoxton’s because of the distillation with coconut and grapefruit.
Gin Explorers can get 10% discount on a full bottle of Persie Gin by using the discount code found in their July box.