There is arguably no spirit that captures the essence of terroir more than gin. The botanicals used to flavor a particular expression can be truly representative of the flavors that define the region where it’s produced. But this Welsh gin brand is taking this concept to another level by barrel aging its spirits in a cave and using the water from the underground aquifer to define its very character.
Cascave Gin was founded by a mother and her two daughters during the pandemic and was inspired by the Brecon Beacons, a mountain range in Wales. There are two expressions that will become available this month, both distilled at In the Welsh Wind Distillery in Tanygroes, Wales. The first is Cascave Premium Dry Gin, a London dry style that is cut to proof using water from the Dan Yr Ogof Caves which are located just a few miles from the Davies family home. The second release is the Cave Aged Gin, a version of the former gin that spends 180 days inside the cave resting in port casks to pick up flavor.
The point of this cave aging is to mature the gin in a specific environment that will presumably affect the interaction between liquid and wood. This is the same concept that would apply to bourbon aging in a warehouse in Kentucky, albeit with totally different effects due to the difference in temperature and humidity levels in the two locations. According to the brand, the temperature in the cave is consistently about 10 degrees Celsius, or a cool 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the effects of the wood will be subtle at best. “This is not something previously done, and we’re thrilled at the result,” Heidi Davies told Robb Report. “The cool and consistent temperatures of the cave represents a unique environment for aging spirits, and… we give the term ‘angels’ share’ another dimension, given where our casks are stored is known as the ‘Angel Passageway,’ and interestingly one of the caves most prominent formation.”
The botanicals used to flavor the gin are naturally led by juniper, and also include locally sourced herbs like bilberry, meadow sweet and angelica root. The Cave Aged version is said to pick up notes of vanilla and red fruit from the six-month barrel aging process. Of course, you can’t necessarily stick your gin barrels in any old cave, especially one like the Dan Yr Ogof that’s also a tourist attraction. So the brand has entered into a partnership with the National Showcase Centre for Wales, and visitors can actually see the barrels resting in the caves from spring into late summer.
Cascave Gin launched just a few months ago, and for now is only available in the UK, but hopefully the rest of us will be able to try this Cambrian spirit in the coming months.