Lighthouse is a New Zealand gin.
Whilst the history of gin goes back to at least the mid-fifteenth century in Holland, its true antecedents are much earlier, founded in those first experiments in the ancient and mysterious art of distilling in the presence of herbs and spices. The predominant flavour and aroma of a modern distilled dry gin will always come from juniper and coriander, but the great challenge for the distiller is to select and blend a variety of additional, exotic botanicals to impart a uniquely satisfying, balanced character to the gin.
For Lighthouse Gin Neil took pleasure in researching and experimenting with many such botanicals, and, among those finally selected, after several years of trial, are the dried leaves from the unique New Zealand botanicals kawa kawa, together with the fresh zest of New Zealand-grown navel oranges and Yen Ben lemons, the intense-flavoured descendant of the famous Lisbon lemon. These components lend herbal and citrus notes to the gin, distinguishing it from its English and American counterparts.
Lighthouse Gin is made by hand in the classic 'distilled dry gin’ tradition, utilising nine botanicals in their natural state. The distillers create the gin in a 200 litre copper still, which Neil designed himself, and had specially built by local craftsmen at 2K Design in Masterton. The final formula of Lighthouse Gin must remain a secret, but the distillers believe they have achieved a distinctive and complex gin that is smooth and fresh and combines herbal, citrus, and spicy characteristics, with a subtle delicacy. The double distillation process is costly and time-consuming but results in a softer, more refined, and more approachable spirit, with each batch having its own subtle signature.
Lighthouse Gin is hand crafted, hand bottled, hand labelled, and the heart cut of a small number of distillations is double distilled and combined into a batch.