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Old Wills Gin

For the 90th anniversary of the Hall’s foundation in 1929 the WHA commissioned a bespoke gin from a local Bristol micro-distillery based on plants and aromatics familiar from the Downside Estate. It can be bought for £33 (collection or £8.40 delivery per [multi-bottle] order).

The Wills Hall Association commissioned a special gin to celebrate 90 years since the foundation of Wills Hall. Our partners in this venture are Psychopomp, a micro-distillery on St. Michael's Hill just behind the University. The base of the gin is the usual juniper and coriander, and the root we opted for was liquorice. There is a real hint of that on the nose (but not so much as to put anyone off who hated Liquorice Allsorts when a child!). The dominant theme is ‘trees and shrubs’: there is apple-wood in there, hawthorn, and elder, and that gives the gin some rich robustness. It’s a gin with real backbone. It's not obviously flowery, but there are nonetheless notes of rose and  lavender. All these grow on the Downside estate (around Wills Hall) and are clearly visible to residents. Suggestions for local ingredients were made by Alan Stealey, Head of Estates. 

At the first tasting, the gin was served neat and then with the tiniest splash of a light tonic. Both worked well. The then President of the Wills Hall Association said ‘I must confess that when I drink gin I sip it neat or with an ice cube, and this gin will work very well that way. But the light tonic brought out an additional range of scents and flavours, so the usual mode of consumption will work very well indeed too.’

Bottles are priced at £33 each with a postage and packing charge of an additional £3, however many bottles you order.

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