Distillery Life – Drinking at 7am and Snuff Boxes?

Do you get up, go to work, and start drinking gin at 7am?

I do!

So how do I manage to run a distillery business without being off-my-face?

If any of you have come to the Wild Diamond tasting room and sampled the goods you’ll know my background is as a herbalist. Herbal lore, (and knowing a little bit of maths), is a great secret to being able to sample distillation runs and finished products without endangering myself or society. The trick is drop tasting.

At Wild Diamond we sample using our ‘anatomical snuff box’. “What the heck is that?!” you ask.

Many herbalists taste liquid herbal extracts and tinctures using our hands… when the thumb is bent and lifted backwards, a small bowl forms between the thumb and the wrist, with the tendons either side. Using an eyedropper, a small amount of liquid can be dropped into the ‘snuff box’ and then tasted across the tongue. Yep, we all stand around licking our hands. I don’t pat the dog with the back of my hand, so it’s a relatively safe ‘taste zone’ on the hand to use without adulteration.

The assumption that I’m an alcoholic and prone to overindulge has been made on several occasions since starting Wild Diamond distillery. I can only laugh, at what is not really a laughing matter, as that assumption is quite far from the truth. One person even went as far as to call me an “Alcoholic bootlegger”. The eyedropper and snuff box has been a fantastic work-tool to avoid that ugliness, and I’m grateful to my herbalist training for that. Here’s where the maths also helps…. A dropper contains 1ml of liquid, and three to five drops are used per tasting. That’s ¼ of a millilitre if we’re being generous, as 1ml is usually 20 to 25 drops. A standard alcoholic drink of 42% Alc/vol gin is 30ml. Guess what this means?!

I could do 120 tastings before I’d had a standard drink.

At Wild Diamond I am very keen on quality being a preference over quantity for consumption. Like Four Pillars distillery in Australia says “Drink better, not more”. I agree.

So in order to bring you the best quality gin possible for your enjoyment, here’s to all the safe samplings to make sure Wild Diamond is the best it can be for you!



Claire Iredale

Wild Diamond



5 Sequoia Place
Kelvin Heights
Queenstown 9300
New Zealand



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