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Our Story

A Tale of Two Rivers

From the Thames to the Douro

Like any good distillery we have water at our core. The pure mountain water we use for our distillation and the two rivers which unite our brand – The River Thames in the UK and The Douro River in Portugal.

The connection between the two countries and their history is equally important for us. Both the Thames and the Douro were important arteries for the transport of teas, spices and of course wines. It is the existence of these trade routes which allows us today to use the fine teas, herbs and grapes which we use in our distillation.

It was actually treaty of Windsor, signed by England and Portugal in 1386, which sowed the seeds for the emergence of Port wine and the transformation of the Douro Valley into one of the most renowned wine regions in the world. The treaty established a close alliance and a strong trading relationship between the two countries which has lasted since that time.

Interestingly, it was Queen Catherine of Braganza, the Portuguese wife of King Charles II, who had been accustomed to taking tea in her native country who, once tea made it to England, helped make it popular among the wealthy upper classes, most of whom had never heard of it up until this point.

The Thames

The Shard - Our HQ

Our head office is based on the 24th floor of Europe’s tallest building, a 306 m high iconic tower, The Shard, located just near London Bridge directly overlooking the Thames. The architect Renzo Piano wanted The Shard to resemble a church spire, inspired by a painting of London by 18th-century Venetian painter Canaletto as well as the masts of sailing ships.

Apart from the iconic building why is this location important for us? Well it is close to the river, a theme which runs through our history, but more importantly, this location is connected to the main botanicals we use in our distillation.

Directly in front of the Shard beside the Thames is Hay’s Wharf (now Hay’s Galleria). From 1840 onwards, around 80% of the dry goods imported to London arrived in Hay’s Wharf and the building was used as a warehouse for tea storage. Thirty years later, the newly-built Butler’s Wharf by Tower Bridge, also in Southwark, became the largest tea warehouse in the world. Once unloaded, the chests of tea were trundled into the vast storage space and kept safe until they had been sold at the weekly tea auctions in Mincing Lane, and then delivered to the various tea companies, many of which had their tasting rooms, packing facilities and offices overlooking the river.

The Douro

From Porto to Tabuaço

The third-longest river on the Iberian Peninsula, the Douro (whose name many believe is derived from the Portuguese for “golden”) flows westward from its origins in north-central Spain, forms part of the border between Spain and Portugal, then cuts across northern Portugal all the way to the Atlantic coast, where it empties into the Atlantic at Porto. The Portuguese section forms the heart of the Douro River Valley vinhateiro – one of the oldest wine-producing regions on Earth, active for nearly 2,000 years. The home of world-famous Port wine, the region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In 1791 the eastern reaches of the Douro River were opened to navigation when the massive outcrops of rock obstructing the Valeira Gorge were finally removed.  This made it economically viable to plant vineyards in the eastern area of the Douro Valley which became known as the Douro Novo, or ‘New Douro’, and later as the Douro Superior.  In the years that followed many new estates were established in this area, including some famous properties whose magnificent wines did much to enhance the prestige of Port.

Tabuaço – Our Distillery

Located in the hills on one side of the valley formed by the Douro river, nestled amongst the vineyards producing the finest port wine in the world we have our distillery. Directly looking out over the valley across the river as far as you can see are the beautiful green and yellow of the slopes of vineyards and terraces or the almond trees in bloom, in early spring. The Douro River and its tributaries, Távora, Tedo and Torto highlight the beauty of Tabuaço.

The roots of the village of Tabuaço date back to a time before the Portuguese nationality. During Prehistory, people settled here and developed shelters and large numbers of ceramic pieces, and  primitive oil presses and wine presses have been found in the area.

At the heart of Tabuaço is the renowned Sandemans Quinta do Seixo, with its hundred-year-old vines producing the grapes that give rise to Sandemans most precious and highest-quality wines.

Peso da Régua - Our Vineyard

Just along the river towards Porto is the vineyard where we source the grapes for both our base distillate that gives our Gin its unique flavour and the additional grapes we use as botanicals in our distillation process.

The family we work with are 5th generation growers and each generation sees their role as managing the harvest and production for the next generation. The wines they produce are some of the greatest Tawny Ports made in the Douro. They have vines that are over 100 years old and they have the port from those vines still maturing in casks, which we were very privileged to taste.

Learn more about us...

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Autumn 2018

Sourcing Botanicals

We bring together our botanicals from Europe & Asia

Spring 2019

Creating our Unique Taste

After 100 different blends we find our flavour

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Summer 2019

Our First Batch

Working with our distillers, blenders and Chemist we create our refined blend

Autumn 2019

Partnership with Fever Tree

We become a Fever Tree partner and our Gin joins the tasting wheel with a perfect pairing

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Spring 2020

Winning our First Award

Folium Gin wins the Best in Class for the Contemporary category at the World Gin Awards

Summer 2020

New UK Tasting Centre

We open our UK tasting centre at the Harleyford Estate in Marlow

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