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Lesley Gracie*

Speciality Spirits
FromUnited Kingdom
CompanyWilliam Grant and Sons
PositionMaster Distiller, Hendrick's Gin

Ms Lesley Gracie is the Master Distiller at Hendrick’s Gin. Lesley’s genius lies in her fascination with flavours and how they work together. From an early age she was fascinated with the curious world of botanicals and her interests for science and experimentation were developed at the University of Hull where she studied chemistry. From there she had a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry for 12 years and in 1988 she joined the technical team at the William Grant and Son’s distillery as a chemist, where she worked across a number of areas including the development of flavours in whisky. In 1999 she was approached by former chairman and great grandson of William Grant, Charles Gordon, to create an “ultra-premium” gin – Hendrick’s. She was appointed as the Master Distiller, and she went on to spearhead the development of the most unusual Hendrick’s Gin.

In 1999, Lesley – together with her colleague John Ross, also a distiller at William Grant and Sons – discovered the delicious and unique infusions of rose and cucumber, alongside 11 botanicals. This unusual recipe resulted in the Hendrick’s Gin known and loved by curious individuals worldwide today.

In a male-dominated environment of the remote distillery in Girvan, Lesley’s nose is considered one of the finest for miles around. Apart from three other insiders, Lesley is one of few who knows the exact recipe for the extraordinary spirit created in her gin lab. Curious in the true sense of the word, Lesley now presides over all new liquid development for the group, apart from scotch, often growing plants in her greenhouse for research.

Lesley has an experimental approach to distilling and constantly looks to push the boundaries of gin with new botanicals and infusions. Since the discovery of Hendrick’s Gin, Lesley’s innovations have included premium liqueurs, bitters and other limited edition liquids including the likes of Hendrick’s Kanaracuni, Quinetum and Battersea.

Lesley Gracie*

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