|DBS find his inner lunatic, clutching a Blue Lady
The event was in a room at the top of Harvey Nichols, the up-market department store where spirit brands often launch exclusively. One room had been turned into a dimly-lit night garden, dominated by a nicely realised moon, about four feet high and slightly convex, mounted on one wall, with various plants, a garlanded swing and other garden furniture, a babbling fountain and various bits of mirror standing in for a reflecting pool. Eerie womblike noises were piped through speakers. The entrance corridor was lined with foil (which reminded me of the gold foil on lunar landing modules—not sure if this was deliberate) and had a mirror floor, which is rather disconcerting as it makes you feel as if you’re stepping off a precipice.
|A Lunar Gin and tonic lurks in the undergrowth
|This device creates a bubble filled with aromatic vapour: it would be cool if the bubble could be attached
to the glass so that it bursts when you drink it, but in practice it always burst during preparation
|A Moonlight Buck
Hendrick’s make great play of the way their gin is lovingly made in small batches of just 500 litres. In fact, despite their eccentric, “not-for-everyone branding”, it now has a huge market all over the world and they have expanded their distillery to meet demand (it’s a “multi-shot” gin, with each batch of distillate made with a very high botanical intensity, a sort of gin concentrate, which is then blended with water and neutral grain spirit to produce the right dilution and volume for bottling). This ubiquity is partly what is behind limited editions like the Lunar Gin, to have something else that is rare and quirky. Last year they released their Midsummer Solstice gin—originally created for Global Brand Ambassador Duncan McRae’s wedding, before the subsequent decision to go commercial with it—as well as Orbium, a sort of gin–absinthe hybrid with wormwood, quinine and blue lotus that is definitely seen as “not for everyone”. (I keep wanting to call it Opprobrium, though in fairness I’ve yet to try it.) These offshoot products are described as coming from master distiller Lesley Gracie’s “Cabinet of Curiosities”, “a place of experimental botanic alchemy”, so you can see that they are keen to hang on to their playful, oddball image and not become a faceless juggernaut brand.
If you wish to sample the Hendrick’s Lunar Gin Experience for yourself, it will remain until 1st March. Tickets are £8, including a drink, from www.harveynichols.com. Lunar Gin is currently available from a limited number of outlets at £35.99 for 70cl (though I’m sure when I visited Harvey Nicks the bottles were price-tagged at £47…).
You can see more photos from the Lunar Gin Experience in this album on Flickr.