Love Dartmoor? Get this moorish gin from a boutique distillery in Moretonhampstead on your cocktail list, pronto.
Papillon Gin first set Muddy’s heart aflutter when we tried it a chocolate-box pub on Dartmoor *thank you Bearslake Inn* and it’s been a firm favourite ever since. Owned by lifelong Dartmoor dwellers, Claire and Adam (he’s a thatcher by day) the creative pair have been crafting their award-winning gins in a small distillery in Moretonhampstead since 2016 with everything, including the name, the taste, the pretty label and the ethos, inspired by their love of the National Park.
There are three to try, all available through their website and lots of good local wine shops and delis. Papillon is a floral little number with a whopping 17 moorland botanicals, including fresh gorse flowers, chamomile, nettles, and Devon violets; the Admiral, a Navy Strength 57% which tastes like a turbo-charged Papillon (the higher alcohol content concentrates the botanicals making it perfect for cocktails, apparently) and their new lockdown baby, Carabus, named for a nocturnal beetle found in Dartmoor woods, and crafted in a collab with local wildlife presenter, Nick Baker. This is quite different to the floral Papillon – but just as moorish (geddit?) – flavoured with rowan and hawthorn berries, wood sorrel and hazelnuts for a fruity tang and creamy finish.
Each batch is made with fresh spring water from a nearby hill farm where an endangered Dartmoor butterfly, the pearl bordered fritillary, frequents. Adam and Claire donate 1% from every Papillon and Admiral bottle sold to a local Butterfly Conservation project, and 2% from every bottle of Carabus to Buglife, the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates.
Claire told Muddy the idea for their Dartmoor gin distillery was born from their year-long cycle ride across the Americas and – fun fact – if you hold the back of bottle up to your eye, and look carefully at the illustration on the reverse of the label, you’ll spot the pair and their border terrier Fitz flying along on their bikes.
Your new must-have local gin – and dinner party anecdote – sorted.
Papillon Dartmoor Distillery, Moretonhampstead, Newton Abbot TQ13 8NU
follow Papillon Gin on