How Spirits Are Made | Ad Gefrin

How Spirits Are Made

8th June 2023

The world of spirits is a realm of craftsmanship that marries science with art, transforming raw ingredients into unique masterpieces. 

Two such spirits, whisky and gin, highlight the intricate process of distillation. 

From the selection of grains and botanicals to the carefully carried out distillation techniques, discover the creation story of two of the most popular spirits that are sampled and enjoyed around the world at life's most special moments.  

Whisky Creation

Whisky, often referred to as the “golden spirit” or "water of life," is a distilled spirit that shares centuries of tradition and innovation in every sip.

The creation of whisky is a precise journey that involves several distinct stages, each contributing to the final flavours that fill our glasses.

Grain Selection and Preparation

At the heart of whisky-making lies the careful choice of grains. Barley, corn, rye or wheat are chosen as the primary ingredients, acting as the base for the spirit's flavour. These grains undergo a process known as malting, where they are germinated, and then mashed, resulting in the creation of a sweet, sugary liquid called wort.


The next step is where yeast is introduced to the wort, turning the sugars into alcohol and producing a liquid known as wash. This is where the initial flavours of the whisky begin to take shape.


The wash undergoes a significant transformation through the process of distillation. Copper pot stills are used to heat the wash, capturing the alcohol vapour that forms during heating. The alcohol vapour is condensed, and the distillation process is then often repeated twice to improve the flavours and enhance the alcohol content.


One of the most interesting steps in whisky-making is maturation. The distilled spirit, known as new-make spirit, is transferred into oak barrels. Over the span of years, the whisky matures within these barrels. The wood interacts with the spirit, sharing its colours, flavours and complexity. Temperature changes cause the whisky to expand and contract, further developing its character.


After years of maturation, the whisky reaches the time where it is ready to be bottled. Master distillers select and blend barrels to achieve the most desirable flavour profile. The whisky is then diluted with water to achieve the best balance of alcohol content and smoothness. 

Each bottle of whisky encapsulates the journey it has undertaken, containing within each bottle the expertise of the distiller, the story of centuries of whisky traditions and the time taken to carefully craft each drop.

Crafting Gin

Gin, a spirit celebrated for its wide array of botanical flavours to suit every gin enthusiast, is crafted through a careful process that involves a precise distillation process, combined with a well balanced blend of ingredients.

Alcohol Base

Gin-making starts with a distilled alcohol base, which acts as the foundation for the infusion of different unique botanicals.

Botanical Selection

The heart of gin lies in the choice of botanicals. Juniper berries, essential to gin's flavour, are mixed with a variety of other botanicals such as coriander, citrus peels, cardamom, and many more. These botanicals will define the spirit's special flavour profile.


Unlike whisky, gin is typically distilled in column stills, a method that enhances efficiency and flavour extraction. Specific botanicals are introduced into the still or suspended in baskets within the column. As the alcohol vapour ascends, it draws out the flavours and aromas of the botanicals chosen, creating a unique and aromatic spirit.

Crafting Flavour

The distillation process for gin requires expert attention to detail. Timing, order and temperature of the chosen botanicals are carefully managed to achieve a well balanced gin, with a special mix of botanical flavours.

Final Touches

To add a finishing touch, some gins may be aged in barrels for a brief period. The barrels chosen share unique colours and subtle additional flavours with the spirit.

Dilution and Bottling

Prior to bottling, the gin may be diluted with water to achieve the desired alcohol content and flavour balance. Each bottle of gin represents the tailored choice of botanicals used, combined with the dedication and craftsmanship that goes into the distillation process. 

Our Spirits 

From the place of the golden age of hospitality, in the heart of Northumberland, comes the Ad Gefrin selection of spirits to share and celebrate with at your life’s most special moments. 

From our Single Malt Whisky, to our Tácnbora whisky blend and Thirlings Dry Gin, Ad Gefrin offers whisky and gin enthusiasts the finest spirits to sample and enjoy. 

Our Distillery

At Ad Gefrin, we pride ourselves on fusing tradition with innovation, using cutting edge technology alongside traditional methods, our Single Malt Whisky and Thirlings Dry Gin are carefully created on site.

Our distillery is the beating heart of Ad Gefrin and our spirits reflect this within each and every sip. 

Making Our Whisky

Our Single Malt Whisky is created using the same traditional processes used to make different whiskies around the globe, but what gives our Single Malt Whisky its unique and special taste is the combination of the finest local barley grown by our farmers, the freshest water from a bore hole beneath the Ad Gefrin site, specifically chosen maturation casks, as well as the expertise of our team of international distillers. 

Our Single Malt Whisky will be our hero spirit, a ‘golden spirit’ perfect for sharing with friends and family at life’s best and most precious moments. 

Crafting Our Gin

Our gin is created here at Ad Gefrin distillery, and within each step of its creation it reflects the Northumberland countryside and the history of the Anglo-Saxon Golden Age that inspired it.

Our Thirlings Dry Gin incorporates flavours from the Northumbrian coast and countryside, with Irish moss and sea buckthorn from the coast combined with elderberry and dill from the hedgerows. 

With every taste and sip of our gin, no matter where it is enjoyed, gin enthusiasts can enjoy the richness of Northumberland. 

Experience How Spirits Are Made

Discover more about the journey that the creation of whisky and gin takes, by booking our distillery tour and tasting experience. A visit to our distillery is a multi-sensory experience not to be missed, whether you are a whisky connoisseur, a gin enthusiast, or just starting to learn about the story of these popular spirits, our distillery tour is the experience for you. 

Book your place online and visit Ad Gefrin, and enjoy a warm Northumbrian welcome, as you explore the tradition and innovation that the creation of these two spirits combines. 

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