Meet the team – Darren Wakely
We want you to see what goes on behind the scenes at Hensol Castle Distillery, and meet the people who make it!
Meet Darren Wakely, one of our skilled distillers who you may recognise if you have been to on one of our gin experiences.
What attracted you to work at Hensol Castle Distillery?
I’ve followed Hensol Castle Distillery for the past couple of years through social media and I have always thought the distillery looked amazing and would be a cool place to work. When Dai (our Master Distiller and Darren’s brother) mentioned there was an opportunity for us to work there as the new distillery team I was very excited.
What is your experience in the gin industry?
I’ve managed bars and restaurants for over ten years around Swansea and London. My brother, Dai encouraged me to move back to Wales in 2017 and to make gin with him, and I didn’t take much convincing. I’ve been making gin ever since for a number of clients and even created my own gin. It’s the best job I’ve ever had, and I enjoy every second of making gin.
Can you explain the distillation process and /or botanicals?
There’s lots to explain but it’s much more fun to visit us at Hensol Castle Distillery and we can talk you through it.
What’s your favourite part of about the distilling process?
When the liquid first starts to flow and you’re hit with the aroma of Juniper and a beautiful selection of citrus and floral notes.
Where do you see gin going in the next 5 years?
I think the beauty of gin is that there are no two gins that are the same. There are so many botanicals, and new ones that you haven’t even thought of using, that you can create so many different tastes. It’s been going strong for a number of years, and when the next craze comes I don’t see gin not being a popular spirit.
What can visitors expect if they visit the distillery for a tour / tasting?
A completely informative and fun experience. We have a beautiful location and an amazing distillery with lots of history thrown in plus all of our tour guides have extensive gin knowledge, and you get the chance to taste some great gins created by our Master Distiller.
What is your perfect serve?
I’m a big fan of the classic G&T. A premium gin with an Indian tonic, garnished with a pink grapefruit. I’m kind of against putting gin with lemonade, tonic all the way!
What is your perfect pairing?
As above, a good gin with a nice Indian tonic.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Father, Husband, Geek.
Your perfect weekend consists of….?
Time with the family, taking my son swimming in the day and a take away with a movie in the evening.
Your favourite place to eat out?
Wahaca. I love good Mexican food and Wahaca is the best for that.
Find out more about our gin experiences here