Sophie Wessex: Experts discuss Queen's view on royal
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Sophie Wessex, 57, is one of the most popular working members of the Royal Family. So much so, that she impressed the founder of Silent Pool gin so much that she was offered her own personal bottle from the distillery. Silent Pool are the makers of the UK’s No1 premier gin, who have created a limited edition bottle for the Platinum Jubilee.
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Ian McCulloch, the founder of Silent Pool, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the Countess of Wessex’s visit to the distillery back in 2019.
He said: “We took the Countess through part of the tour that we do, where we show people botanicals – what goes in there, how it’s made, what they taste of.
“Plus, you can rub them in your fingers and smell the juniper. It was going so well, that we began running overtime.
“So I was trying to get us all to make a bit of move, at which point one of the senior assistants put their hand up and said, ‘She’s fine, she’s now gone off her own timeline, so she’s having fun.’
“And that was it, she just loved it! She enjoyed what she saw – we got her to put a bottle together, where it gets cleaned, filled, stoppered, capped, the custom sticker goes on and we gave her that bottle as a parting gift.
“She’s just very natural. The camera absolutely loves her, she was very engaged and interested. The Countess was very grounded, and because she worked in PR, she understood what we did.
“85 percent of what we do is try to turn gin into money. If you could pay the gas bill and people’s wages in cases of gin, that would be great. But you can’t.
“Sophie likes businesses where the brand is a key part of the offering, so you don’t sell bottles of gin talking about functional benefits. You sell it by the story, the background, the provenance, location, the romance, and she just loved it.
“She’s absolutely delightful. As I said, she poses well. When we took the shots, she made sure that the label was the right way around on the glass.
“She is a very professional operator – not at all stuffy, not at all distant, but very engaging.
“The Countess likes the product, so we know she enjoys it. She doesn’t live that far away, as she’s only in Bagshot, which is half an hour’s drive.”
Are other members of the Royal Family gin fans?
Ian continued: “The Queen Mother was a big gin fan. I think most English people are. Gin is a very English drink, especially gin and tonic.
“From a target market point of view, Sophie would be in our target market. It’s quintessentially English, which she is.
“We have tried to create a modern take on an English classic. And in a funny way, she is a modern take on a modern Royal Family.
“She isn’t too old-fashioned, she’s modern, she looks cool, she dresses beautifully, she’s not overdone, she’s classy, elegant, she’s got a great turn of phrase, she’s relaxed.
“So, the Countess fits much better with where the Royal Family is heading, I think, than where it’s probably come from.”
Has the Queen tried Silent Pool gin?
Ian commented: “We did hear that the classic bottle, which is the teal and copper one, had been gifted to Sandringham and was on the drinks tray, as we got a whisper from somebody who knew, which is nice.
“We know they enjoy a drink, it’s not like they’re a bunch of teetotalers. The Queen Mother enjoyed a drink, the Queen enjoys a drink, and Princess Margaret enjoyed a drink.”
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