Wicked Wolf making amazing Gin, and they are rightly one of our bestsellers, encapsulating a lot of what we are trying to do with our range of West Country Artisan products.
They are part of the Devon Gin family, making their gin on the banks of the River Lyn on Exmoor in a small village called Brendon, in the middle of Lorna Doone country.
We chatted to Julie and Pat, the couple behind Wicked Wolf, about the origins of their gin, why Exmoor, why Gin and why Wicked Wolf.
Tell us about what you were doing before Wicked Wolf and how you met:
We met at Falmouth University where we both studied graphic information design. We then moved to London to work in marketing agencies doing branding, design and ad work. After a while we knew we wanted to move back to the South West, we were originally focused on Cornwall but then after we holidayed near here, in Nether Stowey, we fell in love with this part of the world. We luckily found the property we live and work in now was up for sale. It was a bit of a project, as it was an Old Chapel, but we knew it was right.
So how did you start distilling?
Once we moved in here we did various jobs, I (Julie) worked for a local company then worked in the local pub, whilst Pat did freelance branding and design work. We knew we wanted to create something together and started doing various experiments, and then, as we have both love Gin, Pat spent two years learning to distill and creating flavour profiles, trying different things and really learning the skills needed.
When did you start selling the Gin?
We moved here 16 years ago now, started experimenting 9 years ago and then started selling our Gin 7 years ago. We were really lucky with both the timing and found an audience fairly quickly. Since then, there’s been a number of Gin distilleries open in Devon, but we were the first of the new batch.
And why the name Wicked Wolf, which is great name?
While we worked in London we would meet in a pub called the Wicked Wolf in Clerkenwell. It was one of those pubs that had a great vibe to it and we would inevitably end up there on a Friday night. The pub closed years ago, but we knew we loved the name and decided to use it for a new venture. It was an obvious choice for the Gin brand, especially considering where we’re based on Exmoor and the myth of the Exmoor Beast.
And the logo?
We have 3 lurchers, and the outline of the Wicked Wolf is based on an amalgamation of two of the dogs.
What makes your gins so special?
We deliberately run our stills slowly to achieve maximum flavour and strength, they’re all copper stills, powered by gas. Each botanical is individually macerated with the grain spirit and then distilled at the optimum temperature for that botanical, we then blend each individual distillate together to create our unique gin. It’s a mix of art and science, giving us greater control over consistency across bathes.
And what ’s your favourite Wicked Wolf?
Pat - Silver Bullet, drunk as a sipping gin with a couple of ice cubes. Julie - really depends on the season and the weather, in winter its Wicked Wolf, in summer Full Moon both with Indian tonic water. But other times it could be 1869 with a Mediterranean tonic. It’s safe to say that since we started making our own Gin, our tastes have definitely become far fussier than before!
Can you tell us more about your range of Gins and Vodka?
Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin (42%)is our original gin. It uses the combination of 11 exotic botanicals producing complex layers of citrus and pepper notes finely balanced with the distinct flavours of juniper and coriander. Hibiscus, lemongrass, cardamom and kaffir lime leaves have been artfully blended with these traditional aromatics creating a full-flavoured, smooth gin. We suggest Wicked Wolf Gin is served with ice and lime over a sprig of thyme for a savoury feel. It is equally at home neat with a block or two of ice, mixed with a quality tonic or even ginger beer. Awarded Taste of the West Gold 2019, 2020, 2022 and a Great Taste Award Star.
Full Moon Gin (42%) uses traditional juniper, coriander and citruses, but with the addition of mango and cracked black pepper. The mango is simply a hint of mango and the black pepper gives this gin a slightly more robust finish. Please note this is not a fruit gin - it simply happens to have fruit in it. Full Moon Gin mixes well with the classic Indian tonic water, however elderflower tonic really makes this into a lovely long drink. A fine slice of orange is a perfect accompaniment. Awarded Taste of the West Gold 2019, 2022.
1869 Lorna Doone Gin (42%)is our latest gin - it has been produced to celebrate 150 years since the launch of the book Lorna Doone. Our home and distillery are in the Valley in which the book is set. 1869 has a slightly more local feel to the botanicals with the use of meadowsweet, whortleberries (bilberries) and heather. It also contains vanilla which is obviously not so local! This gin is gentle but still has bags of flavour and a soft finish from the vanilla. We love 1869 it with a quality Indian tonic water and a fine slice of lemon. It also blends beautifully with Mediterranean Tonic water. Awarded Taste of the West Gold 2022.
Exmoor Gold Gin (42%) has been created using Exmoor Ale’s, Exmoor Gold Ale, double distilled and then the gin is built around it. Juniper, lemon verbena, elderflower, coriander, meadowsweet and a unique citrus mix, bring this gin to life. Best served with a quality tonic water and thin slice of orange.
Silver Bullet Gin (57%) Our stunning Navy Strength gin, developed with our original 11 botanicals but carefully rebalanced to work at 57% abv. Being 57% this is not for the faint-hearted, but is surprisingly easy to drink! We like Silver Bullet Gin served neat over a block of ice - it does however serve equally well with Indian tonic water and a slice of lime. Awarded Taste of the West Gold 2019, 2020, 2022 and category finalist in 2019. Awarded Great Taste 2 Stars in 2020.
Wicked Wolf Exmoor Vodka (42%) is a versatile premium spirit double distilled with nothing but 100% Sicilian lemons and filtered through activated coconut charcoal. Our Exmoor Vodka boasts a clean crisp citrus note that is well suited to drinking on its own with a block of ice as a Vodka and tonic or as the backbone to any cocktail.
What new products can we look forward to that you working on?
We are currently working on The Beast Gin (66.6%!!), the flavours are being developed, but we can say it will feature Sichuan pepper and Exmoor Beast Dark Porter. We are aiming for another flavourful but smooth gin. This should be available before Christmas.