Black Dog Gin: A Premium Botanical Gin Produced in Devon

The Black Dog Gin is produced in the small town of Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor National Park. The gin takes its name from a local legend about an apparition that was said to haunt the countryside and kill livestock.

It is made using spring water, hand-picked botanicals and distilled by ethyl ethel (read on) at Teignworthy Brewery, Devon’s oldest microbrewery.

The history

…of gin is one that’s gone down in the annals of time as a tale of pirates, smuggling and backstreet boozers. But this spirit has had quite an upgrade recently with artisan gins taking off throughout the world.

It was first distilled by monks who were trying to make medicinal remedies using botanicals like juniper and angelica root.

In this corner of Devon, the Teignworthy Brewery is the oldest microbrewery in town, having been sourced from an old maltings building.

The Black Dog Gin is made using spring water which comes straight out of the ground at Teignworthy, six traditional botanicals and ethyl ethel (wait for it) to give it its distinctive taste.

It is hand crafted in small batches by their master distiller, John Lawton, who is also an experienced brewer.

They use the same botanical mix as they do in their Teignworthy brews, to create a gin that’s incredibly fresh and crisp with hints of maltiness from its beer making past.

Dartmoor spring water

… is used in the process and each batch is distilled only once – it takes just over a week to make one!

The botanicals are hand picked locally, including juniper berries from Dartmoor National Park.

There’s also liquorice root which gives Black Dog its distinctive sweet notes along with angelica root for balance.

The black dog – just a labrador?

There’s a legend surrounding the Black Dog of Dartmoor. It was said to haunt the moors, killing livestock and locals alike. One day, they figured out that it was just an old labrador who had been living wild for years – no wonder he looked so tired!

But in this corner of Devon, there is no sign of any black dog, no phantom pooch that haunts the moors. Just a team who are passionate about gin and whose focus is on crafting an outstanding drink using their botanicals.

Now, none of this has anything to do with the name. Owner and master distiller John  Lawton is keen on shooting and has always owned a black labrador. So, yes, the black dog is just a labrador.

Ethyl Ethel

… is a very large copper still whose role is to give Black Dog its distinctive taste, with a little bit of magic thrown into the mix!  When fed with spring water from near Hound Tor and hand foraged fruits and classic botanicals Ethel’s tall copper pipework produces an immaculately clear gin.

John Lawton

… began his brewing career in 1989 with the Oakhill Brewery at Shepton Mallet, where he worked as a brewer and assistant cellarman before becoming head brewer at the famous Firkin pubs. Since the 1990s, he has run Teignworthy Brewery inside Tucker’s Maltings in Newton Abbot. He has won many awards for his beers and gin with whiskey on the agenda for even more accolades.