Linden Leaf gins and essences are crafted and tuned at the molecular level. We strive to find amazing new taste experiences by bringing together the traditional craft of distillation with state-of-the-art technology.
In what is becoming a crowded market, we aim to make some of the tastiest, most interesting gins you can find. We offer Sipping Gins which you can enjoy neat on ice, and Mixing Gins which love the company of tonic. There are even our Ultimate Elixirs for the most discerning palates.
Away from the world of gin, we also produce a range of Single Note essences, each showcasing a particular flavour or ingredient which we feel deserves a bottle to itself.
The three of us are Cambridge scientists and engineers with a passion for food and drink. All of us are avid cooks with a real love for ingredients and innovative cooking methods. For many years we had been discussing the science behind extracting tastes and smells.
One evening over a gin and tonic, we were talking about how molecular gastronomy has revolutionised taste combinations in food. This started us thinking about how to make better extracts from herbs, spices, fruit and vegetables.
Could you separate each ingredient into different flavour notes? Was there a way to understand how these notes could be combined harmoniously? We had a few ideas and so Linden Leaf began.
A Steep Learning Curve
We started by exploring ingredients and extraction methods, learning about flavour science and analysing our extracts molecule by molecule.
Our blends were initially led by our own noses and palates, and then honed through a major campaign of taste testings with our friends, and their friends, and their friends, and probably even some of their friends, too. With backgrounds in Big Data, please forgive us for being nerds when it comes to testing and analysis.
A big “thank you!” to everyone who gave us so much help with the taste testing.
We learned so much. How small changes in the extraction process can vastly alter the elements of flavour you pull out. How many unexpected things taste of orange. How some people think coriander tastes of soap. Oh, and how amazingly nasty some tonic waters taste.
Big Data Flavournomics?
“Flavournomics” because we are identifying and extracting active molecules, then linking them to individual scents and flavours.
“Big Data” because we are generating and analysing a large data set. We are testing many ingredients, each with many flavour molecules. Each ingredient we are extracting in many different ways. Then we are making many blends of these extracts. Finally, we are asking many people what they think of each blend.
Simple? No, but great fun.
It applies to gin, wine, whisky, perfume and food, and we are hardly the first to think about it—flavour science has looked at similar questions for a long time. Still, we believe we have a few novel ideas and, even if it turns out to be a well-trodden path, it’ll be an enjoyable and educational journey.
Our First Steps
Well, we have started a way down this path.
We have started to get a good handle on extraction parameters for many of our key botanicals, and we can confidently shape the extraction to pull out the notes we want.
Across our taste testing programme, while each person was unique, there were clear patterns: envelopes of flavour combinations which are better-liked, others which polarise the audience (Marmite anyone?) and a few which no-one really enjoyed.
Mostly, our model confirms what our noses and taste buds suspected, but every once-in-a-while we have found little miracles that caught us completely by surprise.
After much experimenting and testing, we have some products that we love and we would like to share. We have laid out the first year already, with releases every two months made up of one Sipping Gin, one Mixing Gin and two Single Note extracts. As we release each batch of products we will update the menu of future releases.
In the meantime, from our beautifully equipped new facilities in Cambridge (which we loving call “the Shed”) we continue to explore and learn so that we can share even more amazing gins and essences with you. New botanicals, extraction methods, analysis tools and packaging designs are all in the works.
Anyway, we hope you love our products as much as we do. And stay tuned for some really amazing things to come…
Paul used to work for a very big company, running very big projects that did very clever things. One of these projects led to him working with Mukund and Matthew. Despite that, the project was a resounding success. After a while, Paul decided that smaller things might be even more fun, so he returned to Cambridge to play cricket on grass wickets again. He loves cooking complex dishes and is always adjusting the recipe to take it up a notch. With the new essences, he now claims to be able to get 2.5 notches.
Mukund can’t make up his mind what he wants to do. The result is that he does far too many interesting things to list here. He met Matthew as an undergrad in Cambridge and through their PhDs they eventually came to like each other enough to set up a software company together. These days, Mukund spends a lot of his time travelling around the world tasting amazing things. He loves Linden Leaf as it is another great excuse for him to visit Japan so that he can find incredible new ingredients for us to use.
Matthew is fortunately unique. He has been writing software commercially since he was far too young and he did his PhD in Astrophysics in the same year as Mukund in Cambridge. After that, he worked with Mukund in mathematical software before leaving to set up a Cambridge start-up fund with some of his other friends. He loves cooking, has a ridiculous collection of wines and spirits, and likes few things better than to stick his nose in some new extract of an exotic botanical.