The Botanist (gin)

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The Botanist
Type Gin
Manufacturer Bruichladdich
Country of origin Islay, Scotland
Introduced 2010
Alcohol by volume 46%
Colour Clear
Flavour 31 botanicals: 9 core gin botanicals and 22 wild local Islay botanicals
Website The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

The Botanist is a small-batch, 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 Distillation[edit]

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.[1]

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.

The Ingredients[edit]

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.

The Islay spring water from which this gin is made comes from Dirty Dottie’s spring on Octomore farm, both for the distillation and the bottling at 46%.[citation needed]

This artisanal dry gin is influenced exclusively by botanicals - no essences, oils or flavourings added.[citation needed]

The Botanicals[edit]

(*)= Non Islay Botanical[2][3][4]

The Use of Botanicals in Islay Spirit[edit]

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.[5]

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.

Ugly Betty[edit]

“An oversized, upside-down dustbin made of copper” Tom Morton described it in his “Spirit of Adventure”.[6]

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.[citation needed]

Ugly Betty is now one of the only authentic Lomond stills in the world.[7]

Reviews and Reception[edit]

The Botanist has received generally positive critical acclaim for its first distillation, with features in both gin and whisky blogs and reviews.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Bruichladdich Distillery managing director Mark Reynier, told of his surprise at the success of The Botanist, which now sells more than any of the individual whiskies produced by the distillery.[15]


Diamond prize at the Monaco Concours of the Femmes et Spiriteux du Monde, 2011.[16]


External links[edit]