Sample a boutique gin created on the Isles of Scilly
PUBLISHED: 13:10 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:10 14 October 2020
Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.
Westward Farm Gin is created on a family farn on St Agnes owned by the same family for generations
Westward farm is a true family business; the gin is made on the 15-acre site that has been worked by the Hicks family for generations, currently managed by Aiden Hicks, the 7th youngest son in a row to take it on.
The farm started distilling plants for essential oils 15-years-ago, mainly for use in their range of hand-made soaps. “Mum would often say the rose geranium we grew would make a delicious a gin, often garnishing her G&T with a sprig,” Aiden says.
The gin is made in two 25-litre stills, along with using a range of rotary-evaporators and vacuum pumps to produce the single-botanical spirits. “Our family has lived on Scilly for hundreds of years, I’ve not considered any other way of life; our ability to grow fantastic, aromatic botanicals in Scilly’s pure air is key to our products and what makes our gins unique.”
The inspiration for Westward gin is rooted in the beautiful surroundings of the farm, as well as the produce. “We started growing apples to produce juice and cider several years ago, alongside our range of soaps and toiletries; we wanted all of our branding to tie in and to reflect their home-grown, Scillonian roots,” says Aiden.
The range of gin includes: Rose Geranium, Wild Wingletang (gorse flowers from the Wingletang Downs on the St. Agnes coast) Chamomile & Elderberry and Orange & Honey.
The predominant botanicals of gin – juniper, coriander and angelica – are all grown on the farm, along with rose-geranium, gorse-blossom, chamomile, honey and elderberries.
The gin is created by vapour-infusing the botanicals: hanging them in the top of the still to let the vapours pass through, in turn giving a fresher, zestier taste. “We use a combination of our 25-litre pot stills, rotary evaporators and different techniques to extract the very best of our botanicals,” explains Aiden.
The gin is made in small batches of 28. “We aim to make a truly honest product using as many locally sourced ingredients possible, in a way that has as little negative impact on our incredible diverse, natural surroundings as possible.”
The farm also uses solar panels that on a sunny day produce enough electric to run their stills, with water coming from a combination of harvesting rainwater and their own borehole.
Everyone in the Hicks family lends a hand from Aiden’s dad helping with distilling, blending and bottling, to his children Joss and Thea helping pick botanicals and attaching tags.
With homegrown at the heart, it’s easy to see why visitors fall for the small-batch botanical-infused bottles.
“I think the appeal is due to producing our gins using island-botanicals, in such a tiny scale, making every bottle subtly unique,” enthuses Aiden.
Watch this space for an exciting collaboration between Westward Farm and SC Dogs, producing a cider-brandy – made with Westward Farm apples – produced in Andrew Walders distillery on St Martin’s.
Perfect pairing: Westward Farm Gin - Best enjoyed with, Troytown Farm honey-glazed pork chop (honey from Westward Farm’s own honey bees)
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life. For our latest subscription offers, click here