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|Country of origin||Islay, Scotland|
|Alcohol by volume||46%|
|Flavour||31 botanicals: 22 hand-foraged botanicals from the Isle of Islay and 9 core gin botanicals|
|Website||The Botanist Islay Dry Gin|
The Botanist is an artisanal Islay gin made by Bruichladdich Distillery. It is the only gin made on Islay and is distinctive for its augmentation of the nine classical gin aromatics with a further 22 locally picked wild Islay botanicals. It is these botanicals – and the two local botanists who collect them – that inspire its name.
The Botanist is slow distilled in “Ugly Betty”, a Lomond Still, one of the last in existence. The distillation takes seventeen hours, distilling at 0.2 atmospheres of pressure, four times longer than an average whisky distillation.
The gin is distilled after an overnight maceration of the nine base botanicals - the seed, berry, bark, root and peel categories - in spirit and Islay spring water. This alcohol vapour infusion from the distillation then passes through the botanical basket containing the 22 more delicate Islay aromatic leaves and petals. It is this double infusion that gives the Botanist gin its distinctive flavour, allowing the more delicate aromatic leaves and petals to influence the gin vapour without being destroyed.
Two types of Juniper are included, including prostrate juniper (Juniperus communis subspecies) that grows in the exposed sea level habitats of the Rhinns of Islay. Only a symbolic amount of juniperus communis is added.
This artisanal dry gin is influenced exclusively by botanicals - no essences, oils or flavourings added.
- Angelica root *
- Apple Mint
- Birch leaves
- Bog Myrtle leaves
- Cassia bark *
- Chamomile (sweet)
- Cinnamon bark *
- Coriander seed *
- Creeping Thistle flowers
- Elder flowers
- Gorse flowers
- Heather flowers
- Hawthorn flowers
- Juniper (prostrate) berries
- Juniper berries *
- Lady’s Bedstraw flowers
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon peel *
- Liquorice root *
- Meadow Sweet
- Orange peel *
- Orris root *
- Peppermint leaves
- Mugwort leaves
- Red Clover flowers
- Sweet Cicely leaves
- Thyme leaves
- Water Mint leaves
- White Clover
- Wood Sage leaves
The Use of Botanicals in Islay Spirit
The use of such aromatic plants for flavouring spirit is not new. Islay’s distillers have a long tradition of using whatever was at hand to improve their rustically produced usquebaugh, distilled on small, portable stills, hidden away in remote glens.
According to Bruichladdich’s Master Distiller and Production Director, Jim McEwan, original whisky, usquebaugh (‘water of life’), a clear spirit, would have tasted more like gin than ten-year-old single malt whisky.
Developed after the Second World War, the Lomond still was an experimental cross between a column and a pot still designed to meet the growing demand for single malt whiskies. It was designed as a ‘one-stop-shop’ still by chemical engineer Alistair Cunningham and draftsman Arthur Warren in 1955 as a way to create a variety of whisky styles.
Ugly Betty is now one of the only authentic Lomond stills in the world.
Reviews and Reception
Diamond prize at the Monaco Concours of the Femmes et Spiriteux du Monde, 2011.
- The Botanist distillation
- Scottish Island Explorer, July/ August 2011 read pdf article
- Botanical Bounty, Chicago Tribune
- The Gin Blog
- Botanical Bounty, Chicago Tribune
- Spirit of Adventure, Tom Morton, Global Publishing (2007)
- Lomond (Inverleven) - The Lomond Still, Scotch Malt Whisky Society.
- Yet Another Gin, Feb 7, 2011
- Whisky Critic, March 23, 2011
- The Gin is In, July 2011
- DrinkHacker.com, Jan 12, 2012
- Food and Drink Travel Report, Jan 10, 2012
- The Hooch Life, March 7, 2012
- Scotch and Folk Review, May 6th 2011
- Femmes et Spiriteux du Monde, 2011