The new gin, which has been aptly named Wild Island Botanic Gin, is made using traditional gin botanicals combined with a delicate array of island botanicals including lemon balm, meadowsweet, wild water mint, heather flowers, bog myrtle and sea buckthorn.
The result is a complex gin made from 16 distinct botanicals and a base spirit made from 100 per cent British wheat to deliver “exceptional smoothness”.
The Isle of Colonsay, an island of only 120 inhabitants, is located more than two hours by boat from the Scottish mainland.
The initial production run of only 750 bottles will be offered to select specialist retailers, primarily in Scotland, and will also be available to buy online through Drinkmonger and Royal Mile Whiskies.
Director, David Johnston described the move into spirits as a “natural progression” for the business, he said: “Growth in the premium gin category continues to outlast many people’s expectations as really good gins and distinctive ideas for ways to drink them continue to enter the market.
We decided that we would only launch our gin if we could produce something that we felt stood up to the very best and the outcome of our taste trials with a variety of wild botanicals is, in my view, an exceptionally clean refreshing spirit that will be appreciated by the growing number of enthusiasts of the highest quality gin”.
Johnston added that the initial launch was a trial to “establish the level of interest” in Wild Island Botanic Gin and that a decision would be taken following the result of the test on whether to scale up the production.
The company purposefully opted for a gin base which was heavier on the lemon notes than most gins in order to elevate the beautiful Isle of Colonsay lemon balm aroma to the fore and create a spirit which can be enjoyed as much neat or on the rocks as it can in a gin and tonic or as a cocktail base.
“The base gin – with its heavier emphasis on lemon citrus - is among the best any of us had tasted and taste tests we conducted confirmed that we were onto something,” adds Johnston. “The botanicals we have selected just serve to enhance the base notes and add a real depth of character to the spirit. We have been drinking this largely as a gin and tonic but a recently developed favourite has become the Lemon-Mint Martini”.
A limited run of Wild Island Botanic Gin will launch this month (December) at a strength of 43.7% abv (this was selected as the perfect drinking strength during taste tests) with a recommended retail price (RRP) of £39 per 70cl bottle.
Producers say the distinctive and eye-catching watercolour design which shrouds the beautifully curved bottle depicts the tranquil white sands and aqua blue sea of Kiloran Bay at the north-west end of the Isle of Colonsay while the runic alphabet inspired iconic “I” marque plays homage to the island’s rich Nordic heritage.