A boutique distillery in Cheshire has scooped a top award for its Bison Grass gin – the world’s first to be distilled and infused with sweetgrass.
Cholmondeley-based Three Wrens said its gin launched in October uses ‘Hierochloe odorata’ – an aromatic herb once thought to only grow in Poland’s ancient Bialowieza Forest.
It is hailed for its sacred properties in northern Europe and North America, where indigenous people used it in prayer and purifying ceremonies.
The firm said it’s unique because bison grass has only been used to infuse vodka before.
Now the firm has been awarded a gold medal in the ‘Contemporary’ category of the second tasting of The Gin Masters 2020, hosted by The Spirits Business.
Three Wrens founder and master distiller Nick Wadeson said: “I wanted to create a gin that had its own story and fits with the company ethos.
“The origin of the herb is intriguing and developing the final recipe was a lengthy trial and error process which involved cultivating the herb from seed and finding the perfect palate partners to end up with a delightful and delicate gin.”
Mr Wadeson has been secretly growing the bison grass from seed in wooden planters at the company’s site, since the spring.
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Fully organic, he said the rare sweetgrass has been propagated and replanted along the way to ensure 100% sustainability.
The bison grass is vapour infused and distilled with Tuscan juniper berries, apple mint, lemon mint, fresh lime, grains of paradise and five other “carefully selected” botanicals.
It is then macerated in the finished gin slowly in order to impart more of the flavour, before the finished spirit is filtered and bottled at 41.5% ABV.
The judges praised Three Wrens Bison Grass Gin for having a spicy and indulgent nose, aromatic vanilla and ginger, with a balanced and intense palate.
It was also noted for its sweetness, with grassiness on the palate, as well as for being spicy, integrated and flavoursome.
Mr Wadeson added: “We’re delighted that Three Wrens Bison Grass Gin received a Gold medal in The Gin Masters 2020.
“It offers a truly unique flavour experience, particularly as the key botanical has been so carefully grown and nurtured at our own distillery.”