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Herbs from Oxford University garden add tonic to new gin


A British distillery has teamed up with the University of Oxford to unveil a "Physic Gin" - a spirit produced with herbs from the university's botanic garden that allegedly endow it with medicinal properties. 

The gin is marketed under a 25-year licence granted by the university to use plants from the Oxford Botanic Garden, founded in 1621 as a "physicke" or physic garden to teach herbal medicine and one that has claimed to be the oldest of its kind in Britain.  

The Oxford Artisan Distillery (TOAD) used extracts from 25 plants in the garden to produced the gin, which is 42-percent alcohol by volume and retails for about 35 pounds (48 dollars) for a half-litre bottle.  

"This gin is medicinal - in a good way," said Master Distiller Cory Mason.  

"Botanicals like wormwood, rue and sweet woodruff bring a deeply complex flavour to bear and take us back to the time when plants formed the base of all medicine," Mason said.  "Expect rich, earthy notes from this gin - like nothing you have tasted before."  Professor Simon Hiscock, the garden's director, said he was "impressed by the integrity and passion behind TOAD." 

"It makes perfect sense for Oxford Botanic Garden to align itself with Oxford's first craft distillery," Hiscock said. 

The Oxford gin joins a national market where sales have doubled over the last six years, according to a report in December by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. 

The association valued Britain's gin sales at 1.2 billion pounds in the year to September, with the volume rising to 47 million bottles, up from 40 million bottles in the previous 12 months. (dpa) 

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