Our Botanical Spirit. Herbal, floral, perfect with tonic. Much like a gin in many ways, but quite different in others. More malty, earthy, and made from our unaged whisky spirit – something that’s not very common in the spirits industry. Plus, there are some quite strict rules on what makes gin qualify as a gin, some of which we don’t quite conform to.
SO, WHAT MAKES GIN, GIN?
Well the first rule is that gin must contain juniper. By law, it is the primary botanical which must be used when distilling gin, and it needs to be the predominate aroma and flavour. In some early iterations of our Botanical Spirit development, we didn’t add juniper, but the results in all honesty weren’t that great. In fact, we ended up tripling the amount of botanicals (wild bog myrtle, heather, thyme, sorrel) and adding the two main flavours of gin, juniper and coriander. The result was a deliciously complex, fruity, herby, and malty spirit. Juniper – tick. Predominate flavour? We’ll leave you to be the judge.
The next rule is that your raw ingredient used to distil the alcohol must be "Organoleptically suitable ethyl alcohol of agricultural origin". Basically, if it’s grown or made on a farm, it’s fair game. Typically grains like wheat are used, but people have been known to use potatoes, milk, or even apples. We use our 100% organic Scottish barley spirit, the stuff we use to make our whisky before we put it in casks to mature. Grown on a farm – so that’s a tick, right?
Well, the next rule, is that you have to use a spirit with a very high alcohol content before you re-distil it with your botanicals. This is where we differ. For gin to be called gin, it needs to start life as an extremely high ABV spirit (96%+) before you re-distil it with your botanicals. Our malted barley spirit comes off the still at around 71% which is too low for us to qualify as a gin. However, by not distilling to such a high ABV, we retain the spirit’s character and flavour. Fruity, fresh and creamy. Ideal for complimenting the flavours of our chosen botanicals, even if we can’t put “gin” on the label.
And so instead we named our spirit a ‘Botanical Spirit’. There is no official definition of a Botanical Spirit, but the name tends to refer to any spirits which use botanicals to flavour them. And though it’s not a “gin”, we treat it just like one when it comes to drinking it. Our favourite way is over plenty of ice, with tonic, a dash of bitters and a slice of grapefruit. A classic and refreshing serve, with a modern twist. But we also love to use it as a substitute in any classic gin cocktails that are easy to make at home – a Negroni is fabulous. Click here to buy a bottle or here to discover more ways to enjoy it in a cocktail.