Meet Gin-credible Jenny of Hidden Curiosities
From Gilbert and George inspired Gin Brooches to sparkling supersized measures over in our 20th birthday Misshapes collection, it’s no secret that we’re partial to a tipple or two in the Tatty studio. Enter Jenny, the mastermind at the helm of Hidden Curiosities, with an enviable knowledge of all things spiritual(!) and with a collection to rival our Misshapes: The Making of Tatty Devine exhibition, we thought it was about time we shook things up in the name of citrus, spice, and small batch craft gin. Help yourself to a Matcha Negroni and settle in for serious sartorial 'spo from your new favourite female founder: cheers!
HEY JENNY, CAN YOU SUM UP WHAT YOU DO IN FIVE WORDS?
Ginventor (and) encouraging men (to) dress better...
WE’RE ALL EARS! FROM PODCASTS TO PLAYLISTS, WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO INSPIRE YOU?
I’m always listening to music, whether I’m working at the computer, waxing gin bottles, selecting pantone colours for Cravat Club designs, driving around in my cute little purple Fiat 500 convertible, travelling on the train for meetings, or just relaxing at home. I find music can be a great motivational tool, and highly inspirational, it sets the mood, and facilitates thinking and creativity. My taste is fairly eclectic - I enjoy a mix of genres including Indie, Folk, Rock, Electronic, Neoclassical, and European music, and variations of these genres. Artists that I often listen to include WhoMadeWho, Natalia Lafourcade, Big Wild, Beirut, Active Child, Palace, Wild Beasts, La Femme, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Little Dragon, Beach House, Fleetwood Mac, Phoenix, Tame Impala, Olafur Arnolds, Juniore, Balthazar, Otzeki… just to name a few!
STOP THE PRESS! LEGENDARY LONDON STORE HARVEY NICHOLS’ DECLARED HIDDEN CURIOSITIES GIN AS ‘CLEARLY EXCEPTIONAL STUFF’, BUT LET’S TAKE IT BACK TO THE START… HOW DID YOU GET INTO GIN MAKING AND WHY?
Gin & Tonic had always been one of my favourite drinks, but it wasn’t until around six years ago after I came back from living in Japan, I really delved into small batch craft gin, which in turn quickly became a hobby of mine to try new and unique craft gins. I would go through phases of having a favourite, but after a while, I would become too accustomed to the flavour, and then want to move onto something else. This would happen time and time again, which eventually inspired me to create my ideal craft gin - one with a flavour profile that was complex, multifaceted and versatile enough, it would never fail to draw me in and engage my senses. After tasting and researching over 100 different craft gins, and with the experience of living in Japan (which really helped to refine my palate), and doing a fair bit of cooking and baking out there, I devised my perfect gin recipe. I then approached my local distillery to see whether it would be possible to use their facilities and work with them to distill my gin…and that’s how Hidden Curiosities Gin was born.
A LITTLE BIRD TOLD US YOU’RE ALSO AT THE HELM OF THE EVER SO DAPPER CRAVAT CLUB. FROM SPECIALIST SILK NECKWEAR TO SMALL BATCH ARTISAN GIN, HOW IMPORTANT IS MANUFACTURING IN BRITAIN TO YOU?
Manufacturing in Britain is incredibly important to me. Not least to reduce carbon footprint and to try and ensure sustainability where possible (as opposed to have products made in bulk overseas in order to cut costs which unfortunately leads to an incredible amount of wastage), manufacturing in Britain remains a strong indication of quality, craftsmanship, and heritage. Being able to make high-quality items in extremely small runs, oversee production and work closely with the manufacturers in person, and being physically involved during the process of distilling each batch of gin myself, reflects through the calibre of the products made for both Cravat Club and Hidden Curiosities Gin.
TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOUR BUSINESSES INFORM EACH OTHER?
I’d been running Cravat Club for a few years before I decided to start my gin business three years ago. The name Hidden Curiosities actually came from one of the popular silk scarf and pocket square designs from Cravat Club. While I was trying to think of names during the process of creating my gin, it made sense to name it Hidden Curiosities, due to its complex and mysterious nature - it transmogrifies on the palate, and the botanicals hiding in the background are teased out depending on how it’s served. I also decided to implement this silk scarf design on the back of the Hidden Curiosities gin label. Conversely, when I decided to create my Aranami Navy Strength gin last year, I had the design on the back of the label specially commissioned for the gin, to incorporate the botanical elements and the Japanese theme with cranes in flight and a powerful dragon emerging from the tempestuous waters, and decided to make these into beautiful scarves and pocket squares for Cravat Club.
WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY REGARD AS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
That’s a very difficult one, I have a few which stand out for me, learning Japanese and passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 (just one level away from N1 which is the highest level possible and pretty much at native level), my Aranami Strength gin winning “Best Navy Strength Gin” at the World Gin Awards 2020, selling my Cravat Club silk accessories to over 60 countries to date, seeing photos of stars such as Martin Freeman and Hugh Grant wearing my Cravat Club cravats, and also I’m proud that I have achieved to run two businesses in tandem, single-handedly.
WHAT’S THE BEST DECISION YOU EVER MADE?
Living in Japan for 5 years and acquiring a good understanding of the language and culture. This experience has influenced me immensely with my two businesses, through product designs, to incorporating a lot of colour in my products, to refining my own personal style and how I dress, to the way I run the businesses - being extremely meticulous and paying close attention to detail, having the motivation to work hard, and to always try to maintain a positive attitude on business and my personal life. I think this has a significant part to play with the USPs for both Cravat Club and Hidden Curiosities Gin.
LET’S GET SERIOUS: WHICH TATTY DEVINE PIECE IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
I now own over 30 Tatty Devine necklaces, and wear one every day without fail, but I would have to say the SS19 Pop Leopard Head Necklace in Pink – every time I wear it (without fail) I receive compliments from friends and strangers, both male and female alike. It’s totally adorable and colourful, but it’s a powerful and fierce wild cat! So I sort of want to embody this – both in my personality and my clothing style!
PHEW, WE’RE A LITTLE THIRSTY… IF YOU WERE TO WHIP UP A BESPOKE ‘TATTY DEVINE’ GIN FOR ROSIE AND HARRIET, WHICH ELEMENTS WOULD YOU INCLUDE AND WHY?
Considering Rosie & Harriet’s colourful, idiosyncratic and punchy style, with an emphasis on female empowerment, I would go for some bold and unusual flavours, so apart from a generous amount of juniper, perhaps start off with some zesty and bright citrus notes such as Finger Limes or Variegated Pink Lemons, followed by a spicy kick from Galangal (Thai Ginger), Long Pepper and Grains of Paradise, finished off with some feminine floral elements, with Starflower, Hibiscus and Violet. I think the citrus, spice and floral elements would really blend well together and would make the perfect Tatty Devine tipple.
Pink lemons, you say? We’ll take two! Wanna follow Jenny's adventures? Let Hidden Curiosities pique your palate here, smarten yourself up with a little help from Cravat Club and take a peek at our very own small batch gin-spired jewellery here.