Colonsay Gin

 

 

Our spirits take inspiration from a mixture of Celtic folklore and the natural Hebridean beauty of the wild island. Our spirits are hand-made in small batches of 160 bottles to recipes that are closely guarded by our special helper, ALVA, a delightful, red-haired maiden, who lives at the home of Wild Thyme Spirits – Tigh na Uruisg – which means Home of the Spirit. Our spirits are all about a sense of place and the heartfelt passion of those who make them.

Respecting Tradition

Colonsay Gin is in the classic London Dry style and is juniper led. In an increasingly crowded market place, where ‘gold rush’ fever seems to be driving distillers to come up with the most obscure and rare mix of ‘hand foraged’ botanicals, we have made the conscious decision to stick to a more traditional gin. After all, gin without the juniper is just flavoured vodka is it not?! The explosion of ‘alternative’ tonics now on the market that can accompany a traditional gin, allow the customer infinite opportunity to explore new tastes, combinations and cocktails.

 

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Colonsay Gin

In Celtic folklore, every house had a Brownie or Spirit, or in Gaelic, an Uruisg {oor-isk} to help with household chores. They were traditionally male, small in stature, illusive, and worked only at night. They became attached to particular families and estates, with whom they stayed for centuries. But from the remote Hebridean island of Colonsay, tales of a something different began to emerge, tales of alchemy, tales of ALVA, a delightful, red-haired maiden, a very special Brownie with supernatural powers, a Gruagach {groo-ah-gak}. Long, long ago she somehow survived when her Viking long boat crashed on the wild island’s unforgiving rocks. She stumbled ashore and took shelter at Tigh na Uruisg {tee-na-oor-isk}, or home of the spirits, where she remains to this day. Legend has it that she uses all her powers to protect her secret recipes from those desperate to know. With an alchemist’s delicate touch she transforms humble botanicals into gin. Not many get to see her beauty, but all get to taste her fabulous gin.

Smooth and slightly sweet, as if kissed by the maiden herself, strong juniper notes then transport you to a pine-fresh walk through the magnificent woodlands of Colonsay House, before the flavour develops into a delicate balance of spice, peppery notes and lemon sherbet; the latter lingering, as clean and refreshing as a dip in the clear blue waters of Kiloran Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

Production

The process for making our Colonsay Gin is fairly straight forward. We charge our 100L copper still with Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) and water to a percentage of approximately 48% ABV. The Juniper berries are bruised and then combined with the other botanicals such as Angelica Root, Calamus Root, and Coriander. There are others but these remain one of ALVA’s best-kept secrets. The botanicals are then macerated with the GNS in the still for 30 minutes. Once the botanicals have had this soak we then distil the gin very slowly, a normal distillation will take approximately 6 hours to complete. Once we have collected the finished spirit it is then held in a holding tank for 4 or 5 days to mellow out and blend all the distillate. At that point, we then cut the gin to the required 47% ABV, and again let it rest for 24 hours. After checking the ABV again we then move on to bottling the finished product.

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