High-flying Pickering’s Gin work with British Airways to create world’s first sky-high gin

In what is thought to be a world-first, Edinburgh based Pickering’s Gin have created a gin that has been specifically created to be enjoyed at altitude. The gin is available to drink on-board on all short haul flights and through the High Life shop as part of a trio pack.

Distilled at Edinburgh’s Summerhall Distillery, the unique 10-botanical gin celebrates the very best of British flora and fauna – juniper, rose petals and heather- alongside signature Pickering’s botanicals of lime, lemon, cardamom and cinnamon. The resulting spirit is the product of close collaboration, working together to ensure that flavour is maximised in the air, but tastes just as good on the ground.

At the centre of its flavour profile, Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is the addition of lemon myrtle. In contrast to other classic acidic citrus fruits, lemon myrtle imparts natural sweetness alongside the bold citrus flavour to the gin. This adds a fresh taste without the bitter edge, balancing with the sweet floral notes of heather and rose to deliver an enhanced sweetness and depth of flavour that is missing in many commercial gins when consumed at altitude.

Explaining the science behind this latest ‘gin-novation’, one of the world’s leading flavour scientists Professor Charles Spence from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory commented: “At 30,000 feet, low air pressure and lack of humidity supress our taste receptors and alter our sense of smell. Our perception of sweet and salt are somewhat muted whereas our ability to identify spices and bitter flavours are seemingly left unchanged. Surprisingly, our ears play a part in how we perceive taste too. Background noise such as the hum of the engines can render many people unable to detect salty or sugary flavours effectively.”

Head Distiller and Co-founder Matt Gammell added: “To banish so-called airplane ‘taste blindness’, we have carefully designed a botanical flavour profile that enhances what you lack when you’re soaring in the sky. 

“As a distiller, developing a gin on the ground and then trialling it in the sky at different altitudes was a fascinating process. We trialled multiple iterations of the recipe in the air until we were confident that it would taste as good in the sky as it did on the ground.”

Jude Winstanley, British Airways’ Head of Ground Products, said: “We have searched the length of the country to find some of the best British brands to partner with for our centenary. We are delighted these limited-edition products will be available to customers on board this summer.”