On Isle Martin, one of the Summer Isles, just off Ullapool, you can find juniper, burdock root, angelica root, bog myrtle, cypress and lemon balm, all growing wild on an island that has variously been the location of a monastery, flour mill and a herring curing station.
These botanicals feature in the Highland Liquor Company’s limited edition Isle Martin 2020 Gin, with each of the 160 bottles selling for £40 and £10 from each going to the Isle Martin Community Trust. Funds raised will be used to maintain the island and go towards ongoing renovations to its buildings.
"Producing our annual Isle Martin Gin is a real treat for me”, says Ben Thompson, head distiller at the Highland Liquor Company, who also make Seven Crofts gin. “Travelling over the uninhabited island by boat to find and forage all the botanicals needed to make this delicious gin is a distiller’s dream. Learning about the new ingredients and their characteristics means that production of the Isle Martin Gin will continue to evolve in the years to come, and I’m looking forward to it.”
This is only the second time the distillery has partnered with the trust, and the last batch of Isle Martin 2019 Gin quickly sold out of its release of just 116 bottles, with the 2020 release delayed until now by the pandemic.
It’s distilled in a small copper alembic still, and has a flavour profile of mellow notes of citrus and pine with a rich and resinous finish. The label features a colourful illustration of the island, which was gifted to the surrounding communities in 1999 by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
“The Board of the Isle Martin Trust can't think of a better way to usher in 2022 than with the launch of the 2020 Isle Martin Gin,” says Isle Martin Community Trust member, Lesley Strachan. “We are delighted to have teamed up again with the talented team at Highland Liquor Company who have used their magical alchemy to create a unique gin flavoured with our island botanicals.”