Friday, 13 October 2017

Botanist Gin Distillery Tour Review at Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay

Gin is on fire at the moment, and here in Scotland its seems like a new boutique distillery opens every week! In fact, if you count them there are 62 Scottish Gin Distilleries churning out some awesome booze with more set to open by the end of 2017. 

With so many gins to try we thought it be best to do our best to visit some of them, you know for research and all that. 

Botanist Gin from Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

Since we were keen for some camping this Summer we packed the car and set out for the Island of Islay of the west coast of Scotland. Home to The Botanist Gin at Bruichladdich Distillery. 

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

There are a couple of tours you can do, if you want to get the full gin experience then I would recommend the Botanist tour (Thursday and Tuesday 11pm) or for a more general tour you can try the standard distillery tour (whisky and gin). Whichever tour you try I can guarantee you will have a great time and try not bring the car (if you do make sure you’re not driving) because these guys will plough you will booze. At the end of the tour in the tasting room when they say "now you can help yourself to anything you see except from 2 fancy types of whisky" you know you’re in for a good time. 

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,
Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

With every tour, you can redeem £5 off the cost of a bottle of gin or whisky and if you are buying whisky remember you £5 tour will let you sample them all so you can pick your favourite one to buy, or just buy them all since there awesome! 

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

Islay is a great wee island, its known as the island of whisky being that there are 8 distillates on the island and most of the residents work in the industry. If you’re a fan of the golden nectar then it’s a must visit to sample some incredible whisky, but be warned most of the whisky here is dried with peat which gives it a heavily Smokey flavour. 

Back to Bruichladdich, built in 1881 by Harvey Brothers and at the time, a state of the art purpose build distillery (unlike most of the much older distilleries on the island). It stayed in the family for a little time before being sold countless times to new owners. In the end the distillery sadly closed in 1994 due to being surplus to requirement to the owners at the time.

At this point some private investors approached the owners where they battered out a sale of the non-producing distillery (its worth mentioning that the warehouses were full of whisky barrelled up, just sitting there). The sale went through and the new owners set about totally revamping the brand creating a new fresh look whist keeping all of the original machinery (no computer controller production line here).

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,
Bruichladdich Distillery tour, wash tubs,  Islay by Cal McTravels,

With Gin starting to becoming ever more popular in 2011 they created their own gin, Botanist. With a mix of the standard 9 classic gin aromatics (you need these or you can't call it gin) mixed with 22 local botanical local picked on the island and distilled in the world’s only Lomond Still this gin has an incredible unique flavour. The Lomond Still nick names Ugly Betty was hand build piece by piece and slowly distils the spirit for 4 times longer than its whisky counterpart. 

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,
Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

When it comes to Gin I believe that the bottle may just be as important as the spirit it contains, if you look at any good gin there has been a lot of time and effort put into creating unique bottles which complement the area in which the gin was created. Botanist does not disappoint here and the glass bottle just oozes cool. 

Copper Still for whisky, Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,
Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

Well all this typing has got me craving a Gin so I’m going to wrap it up and make my own, but as the Blue Peter team say, here's one I made earlier. 

Perfect Serve

1 x 50cl Botanist Gin

1 x 100ml Fever Tree Tonic


The distillery recommend rosemary but also said that Botanist Gin goes with anything really, I have seen things from black pepper to grapefruit so go on be wild and get your garnish on!

Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay by Cal McTravels,

Final Thoughts (£5 tour)

Setting         ★ 
Value            ★  
Gin.               ★

Notes: We didn't pre-book our tour but I would recommend pre booking especially if its for the gin tour to avoid disappointment. The £5 distillery tour is a quick tour which gives you a good basis for the distilling process, maybe next time we will try the Botanist Tour (let me know if any of you try it). 

Thanks to Jess at Almost Chic for help with some of the photos (most of them).

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