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Follow the serene River Itchen north from Winchester to the source of its tributary, the river Alre, and you will find Old Alresford – the site of our distillery – nestled in a peaceful spot at the western end of the great chalk swathe of the South Downs. Ancient bedrock, broad flat downlands and the purest freshwater springs combine to create an extremely rare and special ecosystem that naturally provides an abundance of our key ingredient, watercress.
Rainwater filters slowly through the porous chalk of the land, pooling in mineral-rich aquifers before seeping out and bubbling up to feed the famous streams of Hampshire with a constant source of incredibly pure, slightly alkaline water. Almost completely unique to this corner of the world, the chalk streams provide the perfect conditions for growing watercress. The spring water is so pure, we even use it to dilute our spirit after distillation.
Reveling in the constant shallow flow of this refined water, watercress of exceptional quality and taste grows naturally along the low banks of the streams and in the cultivated gravel beds of the watercress farms that surround our distillery. Renowned for its nose-tickling tones of pepper and mustard, the watercress also gave us our unusual moniker; Nasturtium officinale – the botanical name for watercress – is derived from the Latin nasus tortus, which literally and delightfully means "twisted nose".
With a history of over 200 years of continuous cultivation, Alresford can confidently lay claim to be the watercress capital of the nation, if not the world; even the local railway is known as the Watercress Line. We’re proud to be a part of the unique history of this quintessentially English paradise.