Six Wives is a small-batch, hand-crafted gin inspired by traditional botanicals. It is the brainchild of Simon Marjoram, a marketing director, who had the idea while walking his two Schnauzers down the towpath towards Hampton Court.
Its bottle is a nod to the fate of Henry’s spouses – divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. And while the wives’ faces appear on the bottle, Henry’s doesn’t.
“I wanted to start off with a concept that would help bring historical events to life”, Marjoram explains. “The historical connection provided a reason to be unexpected and mischievous with the ingredients and the branding”.
His research led him towards unusual ingredient pairings. “For example, it wasn’t William of Orange who brought us oranges. It was Katherine of Aragon who introduced them to the court in 1509. Thyme was used a lot by the royal kitchens. As were cubeb berries from Java, which were put in stews, while grains of paradise made their way into desserts.”
Six Wives gin is distilled 22 times. Rather than grain, a potato-based alcohol has been used “to give it a smoother, creamier taste”.
“The gin is inspired by the Tudors, Hampton Court village and the surrounding area, rather than solely having an affiliation with Hampton Court Palace,” adds Marjoram.
The gin craze has spawned many historically-themed bottles; other palaces and castles are also jumping into the fray and creating their own gins, including Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), Edinburgh Castle, and Gordon Castle in Scotland. There is a Balmoral Estate gin (Ballochbuie), a Sandringham gin, and a Buckingham Palace gin and sloe gin. Windsor Castle gin, meanwhile, is made in Warrington.
Marjoram is now researching other narratives for Hampton Court Gin and plans a Cardinal Wolsey special edition. “Wolsey was probably the first person to pair strawberries with dairy,” apparently.
Losing one’s head on a bottle of Tudor gin – now there’s an idea.