Most companies proudly delve into the heritage of their brands and try to show that they’ve operated for decades or centuries, unwavering, non-compromising, true to their roots. That is all well and good, but inherently means that they are operating at the peak of technology and understanding from decades or centuries passed. Certainly we’ve learned a thing or two since explorers were spreading alembic pot stills around the world in times read about in high school history class.
Sacred Spirits Company is our glimpse into the future. They make several products, but their mainstays are Sacred Gin and Sacred Botanical Vodka. These two products represent the next chapter in the history of distillation. Produced by Ian Hart in his personal home in Highgate, London, Sacred Spirits Company utilizes vacuum distillation as opposed to traditional distillation to produce their products. The short explanation of the difference is an exploitation of the fact that boiling points vary depending on pressure. The lower the pressure, the lower the temperature required to boil/evaporate. That means that alcohol can be evaporated out of an aqueous solution (distilled) and condensed back out as a spirit without the use of high levels of heat, if done in a low pressure environment… say… a vacuum.
What that means for people producing spirits like gin, is that they can use fresh botanicals instead of dried ones. In traditional distillation, one must use dried orange peels, flowers, etc. because the heat of distilling would alter the flavor of the botanical ingredients. With vacuum distillation, and therefore minimum heat, even the most delicate of botanicals can be used.
Ian Hart takes us one step further with his modern take on gin production. Typically, gin is made by soaking in a mixture of botanicals into an alcohol base to extract their oils and essential flavors. Then it is re-distilled to capture the essence of the botanical blend into a clean spirit. Mr. Hart actually painstakingly distills each of his 12 botanicals separately into a 12 unique botanical spirits. Then he blends them together to achieve the perfect balance that he is looking for. This gives him an unparalleled level of control over his final product.
The 12 botanicals used include traditional ingredients like Juniper, Coriander and Angelica, as well as more unique ingredients like licorice, cubeb and the very expensive frankincense! Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) is actually where Sacred derives its name. The texture of the gin is very rich with a denser, silky quality that is quite unique and makes a perfect gin for those extra dry martinis.
Mr. Hart also uses his unique process to expand on the notions of what vodka can be. Made in a very similar fashion to the gin, Sacred Botanical Vodka utilizes 7 of the 12 botanicals with the most notable omission being Juniper, but I can assure you that the frankincense is still there. In the bottle, you get a very well balanced botanical spirit that has a complex flavor, no sweeteners or additives, and gives vodka lovers something that goes beyond simple infusion.
These products are both limited in their distribution. Typically, white spirits can be made on demand as market exposure increases. But given the lengthy process taken to produce, Sacred Spirits Company can only output a little over 1000 bottles a month for worldwide distribution. That being said, we have a steady source for them and will carry them regularly here at Wine World and Spirits. Because you know that Wine World and Spirits is the best place in Seattle to shop for gin or vodka. Click here if you’d like to buy some!
Enjoy your summer martinis… and gimlets… and bloody marys… etc…