Pickering’s designs gin to be sipped at 30,000 feet

May 8, 2019by Melita Kiely

Scottish brand Pickering’s Gin has partnered with British Airways to create what it claims is the world’s first expression specifically designed to be sipped at high altitudes.

Created at the brand’s Summerhall Distillery in Edinburgh, Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is made with 10 botanicals including juniper, citrus fruits, lemon myrtle, heather and rose. It has an abv of 38.3%. Professor Charles Spence, of Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory, explained: “At 30,000 feet, low air pressure and lack of humidity suppress 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.” At 10,000 feet, the gin is said to have "bold" flavours of floral juniper, and zesty, sweet lemon myrtle citrus. It is also said to have flavours of rose, Scottish heather, cardamom and cinnamon spice. At 30,000 feet, however, the expression is said to be a “naturally balanced sweet and spiced gin”, with the botanicals of juniper, citrus, heather, rose petals, cinnamon and cardamom still coming through. Matt Gammell, head distiller and co-founder, said: “To banish the so-called aeroplane ‘taste blindness’, we have carefully designed a botanical flavour profile that enhances what you lack when you’re soaring in the sky.” Pickering’s British Airways Centenary Gin is available now on board British Airways flights under four hours as a G&T serve, priced at £7.60 (US$10). Travellers can also purchase the gin as part of a limited edition triple Gin Flight miniature pack on all long haul and non-EU fights through the High Life Shop. The pack is priced at £18 (US$23.50).