Of all our locally-foraged gins, the one which really sticks out to me as super local – super-flavoured by fresh local foragebles and intimately tied to its Hertfordshire terroir is…. Harpenden Classic Dry Gin. Every element of its crisp, classic, cooling fragrant flavours comes from the peaceful green and shaded glades and streams of the River Lea as it flows through the Batford Springs nature reserve.

As much as we love to explore the weird and wacky world of wild flavour, we’re not about making gimmicky novelty flavoured gin. Wild botanicals, like any gin botanical, should be used to finesse a Dry Gin’s junipery backbone: to take its core, classic aroma cocktail and gently point it in this direction or that so that, in its all originality, it tastes un-mistakeably, familiarly, gin-like. 

As such, Harpenden Dry Gin is a classic, smooth and sophisticated Gin at home with the classic cocktail Gins of the 20s. Something like a Booths or Tanqueray.  How did the wild add to such sophistication and smoothness? Here’s a run down of some of the most effective Botanical riverside smootheners that find their way into our Harpenden Gin

Water Mint

You know how Garden Centres have mints in all different flavours these days? Chocolate mint, pineapple mint, berries and cream mint and so on.. These cultivars achieve their pungent aromas by the cocktail of terpene oils which amass in their leaves. And none have more of these terpenes than the wild common ancestor to many of these potent flavour-mints, Water Mint, which is almost too oily and minty to eat on its own. As the wild version of bergamot mint, it was used in the first Eau de Colognes, so its fresh, cleansing topnote also evokes distant memories of wealthy sophisticated gentlemen of the early 20th century. As the name suggests it grows wild in wetland and rivers. The wild version of watermint naturally has the best and most potent flavour because those aromatic and flavoursome terpene oils are actually produced by the plant as natural insect repellents, so growing wild in a competitive, dynamic environment naturally selects for plants which are best at producing them. So the best plants at surviving are the best plants to put in gin…


Angelica is a core ingredient in Dry Gin. It originally started getting lncluded in Gin and perfumes and various other botanical mixtures (like vermouth) because of its fixative properties. Organic compounds, many of them aromatic, sometimes aren’t suffiiciently stable to provide lasting and consistent aroma over time.  Fixatives are supposed to stabilise individual aromas in a recipe as well as drawing together the whole cocktail of essences together into a balanced and synthesized whole.  With Gin such a synthesizing process is now more or less taken for granted, and angelica is now used simply because its unique flavour became so iconically associated with London Dry Gin. Gordon’s Gin, for example, has a heavy emphasis on angelica’s creamy, earthy, fragrant, piney, floral indescribable  musk. Soso dominant are they in the iconic gin’s tasting profile that many attribute some of those flavours to the broad umbrella of juniper and its many flavours. But no, in the case of Gordon’s musky magic, you’ve been tasting angelica all this time.  Angelica is also a main botanical in Vermouth, so the extra dose of angelica from the fresh-flowing Harpenden river springs gives the faint impression of veromouth – the driest hints of a dry martini, and what could be more smooth and sophisticated that a dry martini. All thanks to the roots of this river herb.

Sweet Woodruff

One of the most potent smootheners of flavour in the world is vanilla. Just think of ice cream. But there’s no place for vanilla in our classy dry gin of the wild.  Too unsubtle. Not British enough. We need a hint of that cream soda flavour but without travelling to madagascar. Eureka, woodruff! The woodland herb has hints of cinnamon, vanilla and sweet mown hay. Used alone, it might be too sweet and childlike, but with the sophistication of mint and the cool depth of Angelica’s musk, it completes the holy trinity of wild flavour in Harpenden Gin.

So there you have it – Harpenden Gin is a game changing Hertfordshire gin. Perfectly wild, ingeniously local.   You can order it online from us at spiritofherts.co.uk/shop or find it in one of our exclusive retail locations including, now, the beloved Thorns of Harpenden!