Sacred Spirits was founded in 2008 when Londoner and distiller Ian Hart decided to re-orientate the city’s relationship with small batch gin toward high quality, characterful spirits. During 18th century London, there were thousands of makeshift distilleries dotted about the capital, leading to a surge in popularity and a commensurate growth in unregulated production. It was only at the turn of the millennium that artisan gin production kicked off, primarily owing to Sipsmith and Sacred. Ian was working as a Wall Street trader before being drawn to the chemistry of alcohol through is love of wine. He started off experimenting with his own collection; vacuum distilling fine Bordeaux to create richer, more intense wines. He then moved onto gin, teaching himself how to distil traditional gin botanicals as well as more exotic specimens.
Sacred was born in Ian’s childhood house in Highgate, where he and his partner Hilary Whitney distil to this day, in tandem with another distillery outpost located above The Star pub, 100 yards from Highgate Cemetery. Unlike Bimber’s use of copper pot stills, Sacred spirits are vacuum distilled, primarily owing to space constraints, so they purchase extremely high quality base spirit instead of making it from scratch. Each botanical is macerated in English wheat spirit for 4-6 weeks to achieve what is known as “total extraction,” meaning 100% of flavour and aroma are extracted from the botanical. These rich extracts are then distilled separately, allowing Ian to experiment with multiple combinations of flavours, before blending together to make one of Sacred’s highly distinctive spirits. The range on offer showcases not least Ian’s skill at blending, but certain botanicals he feels make expressive, delicious spirits.