In 2012, Ben Maguire set out to establish a gin brand with a modern and indeed nautical twist. What ensued was a true voyage of discovery; lead by a love for the sea, a sense of adventure and a passion for distilled alcoholic tipples that derive their flavour from juniper berries, Ben founded The HMS Spirits Company in 2016.
“When I set out to establish my gin brand, there was already a huge selection of gins on the shelf, but I knew there was space for something with specific appeal to people like me. Deep down I’m a bit of a stickler for tradition but as a young entrepreneur, I love trying out new things and seeing where that takes me.”
Ben invested in a 35-litre copper still and installed it in his home garage. Over the next few years, Ben worked hard (oh so hard!) trialling new recipes, different blends and botanical mixes to get the perfect flavour – a gin that respected the art of the London Dry method, but also delivered a fresh and unexpected twist.
The naval background of Ben’s family and his close proximity to the sea inspired the brand name, and HMS Spirits quickly launched a whole fleet of products – including the Mary Rose, the Dreadnought and the Elizabeth Gin.
The Mary Rose Gin is the company’s flagship. Offering a well balanced and juniper-heavy London Dry Gin, the Mary Rose also pulls in notes of grapefruit with a soft rosemary finish. Testing this one out for myself, I recommend a chunky slice of pink grapefruit and a blueberry or two.
The Dreadnought is a Navy-strength gin, packing a powerful 57.5% proof. Following the same flavours as the Mary Rose, this is for those with a more developed relationship with alcohol!
Taking its name from the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Gin is a delicate number with a natural elderflower distillate. It’s light, bright and slices through a hot summer afternoon like a speedboat on the Cote d’Azur. The Elizabeth Gin is perfect in a zesty cocktail – ice, tonic and a twist of orange. Yum.
HMS Spirits is distilled in small batches using a traditional copper pot and Ben sources only the finest ingredients, in order to keep his gin delectable to even the most discerning of palates. The range has won an impressive array of awards and with something else already in the still, standby for a new flavour soon.
Travel, adventure and a progressive approach to the boundaries of one’s own comfort zone, are values that remain at the core of the brand’s philosophy.