Bruichladdich Whisky Distillery Produces Islay Gin
During Jim ‘s Islay Break in February this year, part of our visit to Bruichladdich Distillery was being shown round by Jim McEwan his new baby called “Ugly Betty” and his plans for distilling Gin and how he was also planning to have a dinning area within the still room, and now he has given us Gin,and as Jacqueline is quite a lover of Gin she cannot wait to taste the first Islay Spirit.
Bruichladdich distillery has distilled a genuine, artisanal Islay gin, flavoured by an unprecedented 31 botanicals.
22 of the botanicals were harvested from Islay, including a rare subspecies of juniper, before being distilled in a unique and historic still.
“Ugly Betty”, the original and only Lomond still, was used for the first time in 30 years. Having been saved from a scrap yard it was specially adapted, including for the infusion of botanicals by alcohol vapour in the still neck.
Running at an exceptionally low pressure, the still ran for a surprising 15 hours at a steady, gentle simmer, producing maximum flavour and texture.
Dr Richard and Mary Gulliver researched, located and harvested the Islay botanicals before a final selection for inclusion was made by Mr. McEwan.
For centuries clandestine Hebridean distillers used local botanicals such as bog myrtle and juniper to improve the taste of poorly distilled whisky: a 17th century distiller’s book recommends several botanicals for ‘usquebaugh’.
Illicit whisky 300 years ago probably tasted more like gin than single malt.
Jim McEwan said: “I was bit apprehensive because Ugly Betty and I hadn’t danced together before, but I was confident we could pull it off. You form relationships with stills because they all perform differently – some are cantankerous and others are easy. In the end it went like a Rolls Royce.”
“This is no re-badged, centrally-produced, gin. It has real Islay provenance, authenticity – even historical precedence. It has an amazing flavour with a dryness that comes from a spirit distilled exclusively with botanicals – no essences, oils, flavourings or sweeteners. We are rather proud of this.”
A unique still with Islay botanicals and an inquisitive mind – this is progressive Hebridean distilling.
2,500 cases (6/1) of the first release will be bottled at Bruichladdich at 46% with Islay spring water, with out chill-filtration, and will be available from the end of September. It is expected to retail at around £29.