Holly Harwood | Her Inspiring Journey, Making Her Own Gin

My passion with gin started when working at Dolly's Gin Palace in Falmouth (whilst studying for my history degree). This was about 8 years ago and I actually had my eyes set to create my own gin then. However I felt I needed more experience in the industry. After a big move to London and many hours working in pubs, bars, gin festivals, a role as a gin brand ambassador and drinks blogger... I still couldn't get making my own gin out of my head! 2 years ago with a lot of support from my family and friends, I started Holly's Gin.

The Gintern

Some people reading this may be following my story as Gintern for ILoveGin.com. This was a viral job advertised last year for a gin lover to visit distilleries and create gin recipes and content. It really is the best job ever and I couldn't believe I actually landed my dream job at the beginning of this year. My journey has influenced my own gin massively, from the design of my bottle to the botanicals I used to create the recipe.

The Design

I was very fortunate to work with my talented friend Ryan on the design of my bottle, as well as Allied Glass believing in my madness! I love anything Art Deco and have a fascination with this era. I really wanted to give the bottle an antique feel. The frosted green really stands out, and I love how the gold shines in the light. The shell logo was inspired by my love of Cornish beaches and the gold leaf design has some of my key botanicals added in! The design is actually printed onto the bottle itself which really looks fantastic.

The Taste

I love London Dry Gins and just knew I had to make one! I also wanted to use some unique botanicals and create something a little different. There are 9 botanicals in total. The 3 key ones are Orange, Gentian root and Passion Flower. I actually drank passion flower tea for years, as it is recommended for its calming benefits. The flower looks pretty cool too! It doesn't taste too floral but perhaps similar to Meadowsweet. There is definitely an earthy, rich aroma. The gin itself is fresh, vibrant and perfect with a premium tonic water!

Cornwall

It was very important to me to have my recipe distilled in my treasured home county of Cornwall. After a meeting with Trevethan Distillery, I knew I wanted it to be made there! Not only do they have Art Deco inspired bottles with a history dating back to the 1920s, but John the distiller has so much expertise and has been fantastic at knowing how to scale up my recipe correctly. This is something that was trickier than I first thought! With the help of John and the team, it tastes wonderful. John will be using their two 300L Copper Pot Stills, called Doris and Rose. Each still will produce around 300-350 bottles each. I will be bottling and sticking the back labels and seals on myself, so you really know it is handcrafted!

Pre-Order Now!

I am crowd funding to make the first batch and make sure the bottles go out before Christmas. All the money raised will go into the production (bottles, labels, corks, distillation, duty), as well as helping me actually get the gin out to you! This is a true labour of love but I am very excited! The support I am receiving means the absolute world to me. I am doing this on a very small budget, but I am determined and just know everyone will enjoy my gin as much as I do!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hollys-gin

My Journey into Blogging | A Massive Thanks to my '&FRIENDS' Contributing Authors

It seems a lifetime away from 2013 when I launched my menswear brand Hawkins & Shepherd and starting writing blog posts about shirts, fabrics and what knot to wear with your shirts. In 2014 I launched my eponymous Men's Lifestyle Blog. Back then, to begin with I was looking to drive more traffic to my menswear label, but it soon came apparent that the blog was developing into something separate and deserved its own platform. More and more people were coming to me for advice and I wanted to provide a place for people that wanted to enhance their style. 

It has been a major learning curve moving from my previous career which I was the Global Head of IT Communications & Networking for a major privately owned commodities trading house to starting up my own shirt label and subsequently men's lifestyle blog. Back then when I was building my previous career, I had no clue what a blog was and would have laughed at you if you suggested that I would give up a career that I've spent 15 years perfecting on a gamble for a better lifestyle; but that's exactly what I did. Some friends laughed, some suggested it wouldn't work, some were just worried for me but in most cases they were supportive. All of these reactions are forever indented into my memories which I call upon for inspiration and to make myself even more dedicated to succeed.

One thing I do miss about working for someone else is the holiday pay, the sick pay, actually the consistent pay in general - oh and the odd hangover day when you're on the clock getting paid but not really there mentally! Starting Hawking & Shepherd, not only took a lot of capital but also a hell of a lot of my hours and I think there is a massive misconception about life being greener when self-employed and now I know that to be correct. Since 2013, I've put every single penny that the business makes back into it, to help it grow, improve and to have the best chance of success in the long-term. It's really hard and have so much respect for anyone who has made a successful change in career or launched their own brand.  

Mid-way through 2017 I was thinking of ways to turn my self-titled blog into more of an online magazine, an encyclopedia of everything men's lifestyle. It was then that I decided to seek out other writers and journalists to contribute to carlthompson.co.uk and to help them launch themselves to a possibly difference audience to what they would usually come in contact with. The relationship had to be beneficial to all parties and we have achieved that. I wanted to take this opportunity at the start of 2018 to say a massive thanks to these writers who have contributed to the success of 2017 in which we've seen an increase of unique visitors by 85.8% compared to the previous year.

Unfortuently my budget doesn't stretch to have them all employed full-time. So I'm sure they will not mind if I did a shout out to each of them and say to feel free to contact them if you require unique content, copy-writing, event coverage etc.

Peter Brooker is a Professional Freelancer & Copywriter with SEO experience. Founder & Editor of Human Research. Lifestyle Editor & Podcast host for Menswear Style. Fashion Editor for The Essential Journal. He has interviewed leading ambassadors, athletes, celebrities, actors including David Gandy, Daniel Sturridge, Paul Weller, Evander Holyfield, Sir Steve Redgrave, David Haye, George Foreman, Dita Von Teese, Idris Elba, Jamie Redknapp, Sir Roger Moore and Stephen Hendry. Oh in case anyone is still reading he also writes for Viz and is unbeaten at crazy golf. 

Originally from Cornwall, Holly has two main passions in life: history and gin. With a degree in history and over 7 years of knowledge working in the gin industry, she now writes about both. Holly creates food recipes for artisan spirits companies and is always on the search to try and experiment with new flavours. You can follow her on Twitter @HollyHarwood and on Instagram @HollyHWood.

Patrick McAleenan is a freelance journalist, PR and Personal Trainer, based in London. He is a regular contributor to Telegraph Men, Metro, Attitude magazine and other high profile publications. He was a Stonewall Awards 2014 Journalist of the Year nominee and is currently writing his first work of fiction. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ontheptrain

Suzanne Bernie is the founder and Managing Director of Coathanger. Based in one of the fashion capitals of the World, London; Suzanne is a leading fashion stylist who helps clients develop a better relationship with their wardrobe and how they express themselves with fashion. With over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry and having founded Coathanger in 2002, Suzanne and her team of personal stylist’s aim to help people step out of their comfort zones and develop a whole new outlook on the role fashion plays in our everyday lives.

...and to the newest member signed up for 2018, I'm incredibly excited to introduce to you Christopher Modoo...

Christopher Modoo is the "Urbane Outfitter". With over 25 years experience in men's fashion he is an expert on style and etiquette.Having worked in all aspects of menswear from shop floor to senior creative, Christopher is now a freelance stylist and is working on launching his own label. As well as fashion, Christopher is a keen fan of the cinema and enjoys travel. He is married and lives in Hampton Court.