Pickering’s Gin & British Airways Create World’s First Sky-High Gin
In a world first, Edinburgh based Pickering’s Gin, have created a gin that has been specifically developed to be enjoyed at altitude. The gin is available to drink onboard on all short haul flights and through the High Life shop as part of a trio pack.
Distilled at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery, the unique 10-botanical gin celebrates the very best of British flora and fauna – juniper, rose petals and heather- alongside signature Pickering’s botanicals of lime, lemon, cardamom and cinnamon. The resulting spirit is the product of close collaboration, working together to ensure that flavour is maximised in the air, but tastes just as good on the ground.
Central to the flavour profile of the Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is the addition of lemon myrtle. In contrast to other classic acidic citrus fruits, lemon myrtle imparts natural sweetness alongside the bold citrus flavour to the gin. This adds a fresh taste without the bitter edge, balancing with the sweet floral notes of heather and rose to deliver an enhanced sweetness and depth of flavour that is missing in many commercial gins when consumed at altitude.
Explaining the science behind this latest ‘gin-novation’, one of the world’s leading flavour scientists Professor Charles Spence from Oxford University's Crossmodal Research Laboratory commented: “At 30,000 feet, low air pressure and lack of humidity supress our taste receptors and alter our sense of smell. Our perception of sweet and salt are somewhat muted whereas our ability to identify spices and bitter flavours are seemingly left unchanged. Surprisingly, our ears play a part in how we perceive taste too. Background noise such as the hum of the engines can render many people unable to detect salty or sugary flavours effectively.”
Head Distiller and Co-founder Matt Gammell said: “To banish so-called airplane ‘taste blindness’, we have carefully designed a botanical flavour profile that enhances what you lack when you’re soaring in the sky.
“As a distiller, developing a gin on the ground and then trialling it in the sky at different altitudes was a fascinating process. We trialled multiple iterations of the recipe in the air until we were confident that it would taste as good in the sky as it did on the ground.”
Tasting Notes at 30,000ft:
A naturally balanced sweet and spiced gin with a beautiful note of juniper and citrus from the lemon myrtle paired alongside the heather and rose petal. This is balanced against the sweet spice of cinnamon and cardamom to give a lovely flavoursome gin.
Tasting Notes at 10,000ft and below:
A complex and beautifully classic gin with a bouquet of bold, floral juniper and zesty, sweet, lemon myrtle citrus. Delicate hints of rose and Scottish heather, warming cardamom and cinnamon spice.
Marcus Pickering, Co-Founder and Head of Export: “Five years ago when we established our small distillery in the centre of Edinburgh, it was all about local. While our local community in Edinburgh and Scotland is still extremely important to us, we now have the capacity for growth and export. Given our drive to take Pickering’s Gin into new markets, we are absolutely delighted to be working with an airline that gets us there - British Airways. It is an absolute dream to partner with such iconic brand. In my view, their focus on sourcing the best possible products and delivering the best experience for their passengers is unsurpassed.”
Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is available to drink on board all economy flights under 4 hours from 1st May. Served with a Schweppes 1783 and slice of lemon over ice, it will be offered as BA’s premium G&T serve on board for the remainder of their Centenary.
Passengers will also be able to buy the Centenary Gin as part of a limited-edition triple ‘Gin Flight’ miniature gift pack, sold on board on all long haul and non-EU flights through the High Life Shop.
British Airways will be releasing a series of ‘centenary editions’ in partnership with British brands during its milestone year. Jude Winstanley, British Airways’ Head of Ground Products, said: “We have searched the length of the country to find some of the best British brands to partner with for our centenary. We are delighted these limited-edition products will be available to customers on board this summer.”