Linden Leaf Botanicals
Founded by three Cambridge scientists and engineers who share a passion for food and drink, Linden Leaf Botanicals makes award-winning organic spirits and essences which are crafted and tuned at the molecular level.
Linden Leaf Gin ‘8’ 70cl 43% abv (IWSC GOLD 2019 'Outstanding')
An organic molecular gin which is refreshing and summery, with a complex citrus perfume. It has 8 molecular notes, from 8 exotic botanicals.
6x70cl £110.80 ex duty and VAT (£18.46 per bottle) - This is a 10% case price discount!
or £195.18 duty paid inc. VAT (£32.53 per bottle)
Normally retails in the UK at £35 inc. duty & VAT
Linden Leaf Gin ‘88’ 50cl 43% abv (IWSC SILVER 2019)
Gin 88 is an organic molecular gin with a superb, layered perfume and a very long flavour profile. It has 88 molecular notes from 28 exotic botanicals.
6x50cl £146.64 ex duty and VAT (£24.44 per bottle) - This is a 10% case price discount!
or £220.46 duty paid inc. VAT (£36.74 per bottle)
Normally retails in the UK at £40 inc. duty & VAT
*Minimum order of one 6 bottle case - sold ex LCB Tilbury, delivery/transfer charged on at cost*
Using advanced laboratory equipment, we can reduce the pressure inside our still to just a tiny fraction of atmospheric pressure: much lower than the top of Mount Everest. This means even the most delicate ingredients can be extracted at very low temperature, avoiding heat damage.
In almost every case, we extract each ingredient by itself, allowing us to tune the parameters to obtain exactly the notes we want. This means we can retain the just-cut scent of fresh ingredient: the invigorating zing of citrus zest, the cooling aroma of watermelon.
Like everything else, it’s horses for courses. As you increase the temperature, different flavours come out and sometimes they’re what we want for the blend. For example, warm extracted liquorice and coffee have richer, deeper notes that are perfect for some blends.
Although the best human noses are incredible analytical instruments, they struggle to pick out every note in a complex mixture. They also cannot tell you what exactly molecule is responsible for each smell. However, we found there is a way to turbocharge the human nose.
Gas chromatography (GC) is a laboratory technique for separating a mixture into all of its components. You evaporate a tiny bit of your mixture and push it down a long, thin glass tube with a special coating, called a column. Different molecules move at different rates so at the far end, so each type of molecule comes out at a different time.
Usually, you put an electronic detector at the end. But we found you can also put a human nose. A patient sniffmaster’s nose can, miraculously, pick out the smells from even the tiny amounts coming through. So peaks can be labelled “lemon zest” or “lilacs” or sometimes “horrible”.
Yes, really. Behind the art of extraction and blending are molecules that react with receptors in our noses and tongues.
Together with GC and our noses, there is an amazing bit of technology called a mass spectrometer (MS) which can help us work out exactly what molecules make each smell. This uses an electric charge and a powerful magnetic field to measure the mass of each molecule very precisely.
You put one at the end of a GC to make a GC-MS and, as each separated type of molecule comes out, it tells you the mass and how much there is. It measures the mass so precisely that you can usually work out the exact structure of the molecule.
By picking the right source of a particular botanical and then carefully tuning our extraction parameters, we can maximise the yield of the molecules we want. We can even make sure that subsequent batches are consistent. Molecular craftsmanship.
Building a Blending Atlas
We are building a library of the key flavour molecules across all the ingredients we can find. Along the way we are learning how to tune the extraction process to pull out more or less of each molecule.
Crowd-sourced tasting feedback is enabling us to model how people perceive blends of these molecules. We are quantifying the harmonies and occasional dissonances between flavour notes and determining the combinations which people like best.
Will this model make gin blends automatically? Not soon, anyway. Instead it is like a blending atlas, helping us explore scent and taste elements which work well together and suggesting possible botanical recipes to make that blend.
What are botanicals? Well, we think anything that has an interesting scent or flavour.
We hunt locally and globally for the best conventional spices, herbs and fruit: from dried juniper berries to fresh Buddha’s hand lemons. We also try just about anything else we can think of. How about oak moss? Walnut husks? Seaweed? Sprouting potatoes?
Each ingredient is vastly different between cultivars, growers and seasons. Compare a supermarket musk melon to a Yubari King from Japan and you’ll hardly believe they’re related.
The extracted notes often surprise you compared to the immediate smell or taste of the raw botanical. It is sometimes the unripe fruit or the inedible skin that has the most interesting essence. Very occasionally, the bulk dried spice has a more useful perfume than its artisanal, hand-picked cousin. It’s a good thing we love experimenting.
All of us at Linden Leaf are all strong believers in minimising our footprint, promoting ecological balance, and conserving biodiversity. From the outset, we wanted to support organic farmers and producers: not only because of their ideals but also because they often make the highest quality produce.
From our own experience, we knew that organic fruit and vegetables were often the highest quality: grown less intensively and by farmers who believed in delivering the very best. The qualities that make organic produce attractive for eating are even more important in producing gin and essences: the greater depth of flavour and aroma lets us deliver the unique molecular flavours that we love.
We were surprised that even when selecting alcohol, the organic alcohols tasted the best: smoother and more neutral, with an excellent mouthfeel.
We are proud that all of our products meet the stringent requirements for organic certification by the Soil Association.
More information available here: https://lindenleaf.co.uk