Silent Pool



Silent Pool Distillery flew the flag for Guildford’s dynamic entrepreneurial spirit at an international market in Germany last weekend.

The two year-old company was invited by Freiburg, Guildford’s twin town, to come to its biennial ‘Sister Cities’ Market, where representatives from its other nine ‘twins’ - Besançon, Innsbruck, Padua, Madison USA, Matsuyama, Lviv, Granada, Isfahan and Suwon, also had stands promoting their local specialities.

Guildford is one of Freiburg’s longest running twin towns. They linked nearly 40 years ago and it was through the 2016 Mayor of Guildford, Gordon Jackson, that Silent Pool Gin found its way onto the stall in the historic market square. He had taken a bottle of Silent Pool Gin as a gift for his opposite number on an earlier visit to Freiburg and it proved a popular choice!

The Guildford Twinning Committee volunteers served tea and cakes and Silent Pool Distillery director Ian McCulloch and chief bottler Joe Van den Berg presided over a Silent Pool stall laden with their full range of spirits. They even took the trouble to get all their branding and information translated into German for the occasion!

“The weather was lovely, everyone was very friendly and they really liked Silent Pool Gin,” said Ian. “Freiburg is a beautiful city and it was a great opportunity to go there and represent the best of Guildford.”

The Silent Pool Distillers is a new artisan distillery nestled under the North Downs in Albury, Surrey. It specializes in entirely hand-crafted spirits using a range of botanicals – fruits, flowers, spices, herbs – to capture the essence of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the bounty of English orchards, gardens and hedgerows. Silent Pool Gin is now exported across Europe and soon to the US, as well as available nationally and at local farmer’s markets. 

The still is powered by a wood fired boiler using logs from the Duke of Northumberland’s Albury Estate and water comes from the spring-fed Silent Pool. The pool itself, just below the distillery’s converted farm buildings, is the subject of wonderful romantic medieval legend. Visit

Ancient woodcraft lies behind Silent Pool distillers new Wry Vodka

Wry Vodka

Silent Pool Distillery has launched a new spirit embodying the key characteristic of the Surrey Hills – its woodland. Prepare for a cocktail with bite!

Wry Vodka is distilled a second time over rye malted specially for the Albury based distillery in one of the last surviving traditional floor maltings in the UK at Warminster. It is then filtered over charcoal cooked in a traditional kiln by local craftsman John Sinclair, creating a unique fusion of ancient skills.

“Charcoal has been made in the Surrey Hills for at least 2000 years,” said John, “But this is the first time it has been commissioned by a distillery for vodka production. It’s very exciting.”
Charcoal burner John Sinclair
Distiller Tom Hutchings visited John at his woodland base in the Sheepleas on the North Downs above Horsley. After a lot of research they chose hornbeam, one of the oldest and most sought after English tree species growing in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

“Hornbeam is the hardest of our native British hardwoods,” said John. “I selected specific trees and set up the kiln for a long slow 18 hour burn. It rested for a further 24 hours until it was cool enough to be bagged up and then we took it down to the distillery.”
Charcoal burning
Tom said he wanted the vodka to have a style of rye, but with the twist of being filtered over hornbeam: “It’s aimed at cocktails, to give a bit more character,” he said. “It has a tiny bit of bite which makes it more versatile and interesting to use in drinks. And our Wry vodka has a bit more punch than the others.”

So experiment with cocktails using Silent Pool Distillers Wry Vodka for a sophisticated urban take, ironically made using very ancient country crafts.

John Sinclair is a local legend keeping alive the ancient forest crafts in the Surrey Hills AONB – the most wooded area in England. He is part of the Sussex and Surrey Coppice Group sustaining traditional coppice woodland. A fund of information about all things woody, he can be contacted on

Wry Vodka is available from Silent Pool Distillery at
Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine