Raising money for charity and hosting events under current circumstances has tested the mettle of both The Master and The Livery this year. However, yet again, and thanks to the efforts of Christopher Hayman we were able to raise a tasty sum for our charity whilst enjoying a glimpse into this state-of-the-art facility.
On Zoom, inevitably, The Master made his introductions, and it became clear that the evening was to be a tale of two Christophers with Past Master Hayman welcoming us into his distillery and Global Brand Ambassador Chris Bryant-Marshall conducting the tour.
We were introduced first to Marjorie, Karin and Miranda. The three copper pot stills named after Christopher’s mother, wife and daughter; these are at the heart of what Hayman’s do in producing world class, delicious gins.
Chris then invited us to nose, taste and explore the joys and complexities of the three gins we had been sent in advance of the event.
We began with the Old Tom Gin. Chris, with a lightness of touch, took us on journey back through history to the days of illicit stills. There was many a gasp (seen, not heard, we were on mute) as we made the connection between the name Old Tom and the ‘Puss and Mew’ cat-shaped vending machine of Gin Lane.
To bring us up-to-date, Chris shared a hack whereby mixing Hayman’s Old Tom with Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade makes a quick and delicious Tom Collins.
With the London Dry Gin, the ‘chat’ function on Zoom came to life as Chris invited the group to share the aromas they could detect. Nothing sets off a group of Distillers more than a gentle request to share what they can sense. Chris then shared with us the botanicals used, but it was down to the audience at home to separate the orris from the angelica root in the subtly scented gin.
We finished by sipping the divine Sloe Gin. By now the chat function was becoming more aspirational with Jim Long and Joanne McKerchar, to name only a few, suggesting that champagne or sparkling wine would be the perfect accompaniment to this. Paul Finch suggested adding it to ice cream, a lovely idea.
It was quite the privilege to see inside Hayman’s distillery and we all thank Christopher for his initiative, for organising the event and seeing it through with such aplomb. Moreover, we look forward to being able to make the trip to Balham soon and to share in the hospitality once again, but at closer quarters.
The next on-line event is planned for later this month and is not to be missed. The amazingly energetic, enthusiastic, and learned couple of Anistatia Miller and Liveryman Jared Brown have produced a must-read for all interested in distilling and indeed the WCD. “The Distiller of London” which has been diligently researched and masterfully edited will be vividly brought to life before your very eyes. Not to be missed!