Updated: Jun 21
Located in the Chiltern Hills is the award-winning Puddingstone Distillery – the home of Campfire Gin and the first distillery in Hertfordshire.
Opened in November 2016 by Ben and Kate Marston the distillery has racked up ten international spirits awards. It is at the distillery in Tring that they produce the core Campfire Gin range.
In the beginning...
We asked Kate to tell us more about how the distillery started.
"The decision to build a gin distillery was influenced by two books, The Difford’s Guide to Gin and The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Signit. We'd both reached a point in our careers where we wanted to take full ownership of a product and brand… create something that reflected our personalities, interests and also tied in with the work we were doing to help raise the profile of the Chilterns as a tourist destination and hub for great food and drink producers.
Our collective experiences, most of which have centred around our love of travel, adventure, outdoor pursuits and our work helping other brands communicate and grow, forms the basis for our working ethos.
We named our brand Campfire Gin because we’ve enjoyed our best gin & tonics around campfires and Puddingstone Distillery because puddingstone is a rare rock formation found in Hertfordshire. Pieces of puddingstone (so-called because people thought it looked like plum pudding) were commonly used when building stately homes or churches to ward off evil spirits. The plan at the distillery is to keep the ‘good’ spirits in and the ‘bad’ ones out!
All gins are small-batch distilled by Ben and bottled and labelled on-site with all the branding work produced by graphic designer Kate. The 50cl bottle sits proudly on the back bar and due to the carefully chosen bottle is light enough to pop in a rucksack for a camping trip. The bottles are sealed with capsules made from wood cellulose derived from renewable resources. They are 100% biodegradable."
Campfire Navy Strength Gin has a greater emphasis on the juniper profile and a higher botanical loading to offset the 57% abv, it’s strong but surprisingly smooth.
Complex but versatile is the best way to describe Campfire Cask Aged Gin. Rested in American oak ex-bourbon casks this gin gains a golden hue and vanilla, caramel and soft bourbon notes.
When selecting the botanicals for Campfire Old Tom, we considered how an 18th-century rural distiller might have approached the creation of an ‘Old Tom’ style gin. Not only that but we also considered the production process and use a combination of pot distillation and compounding to deliver notes of spice, juniper and lemon citrus with a hint of colour and sweetness without the use of sugar.
Lastly, there is Campfire London Dry Gin – a juniper, orange and grapefruit citrus gin which has a sweet nutty finish delivered through roasted hazelnut.
Our Favourite Serves
These are our favourite pairings with our tonics.
Old Tom – Apple & Garden Mint
London dry – Pear & Cardamom
Cask Aged - Pear & Cardamom
Navy Strength – Apple & Garden Mint
Domestique – Classic
The Puddingstone Distillery shop and tasting area, decked out in reclaimed timber and copper, is in stark contrast to the gleaming stainless steel stills that sit in a bright, almost laboratory-like environment. The shop is open to visitors on Fridays and Saturdays for tastings of the Campfire Gin range, Domestique Gin and limited editions.