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Kelso company wins race to become first distillery to release gin produced in the Borders

A gin company from the Borders has won the race to become the first new distillery in the region for over 180 years.

Published: February 25, 2017
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Using only organic grain spirit, The Kelso Gin Company says its range of small batch gins are supremely creamy and made with locally-foraged ingredients to ensure that they are “truly a taste of the Borders”.


Director Robert Armstrong-Wilson added that they are some of the smoothest in the country, a factor he believes has led to some very positive responses from both critics and ­consumers.

He said: “Many gins already on the market are harsh and have a ­bouquet which is leaning towards ethanol rather than a fine juniper-led spirit, meaning they are forced to add too many botanicals to mask the harshness of the spirit.

“Creating an excellent smooth gin isn’t rocket science. You just need to start with a good quality organic grain spirit.

“The distillation process is key, we only take what we call the ‘heart of the gin’ from the still.

“We do not redistill the tails (waste product which still contains alcohol) as others do, hence our gin is extremely smooth and can be enjoyed like a fine malt.”

Their unique brand is backed by an interesting logo (and mascot) known as the Crowman, the idea for which came from Robert’s partner Simon Rutherford, who named the character after the company’s head distiller Andrew Crow.

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The Borders distiller said: “The Crowman was the mythical travelling medicine or tincture man who visited the sick to help cure and relieve his patients. The large nose on his mask was filled with preventative herbs and spices to stop him being infected with viruses and diseases.

“We loved the imagery and story, it just fit us really well. One of our partners dresses up as the Crowman for tastings and high-profile deliveries and people love him.”

The new range includes the ­Kelso Elephant, a spiced gin and the ­Crowman’s Gin, a traditional dry gin with a ­cardamom twist.
The company’s Lovage Gin, which is made using herbs sourced locally from the Teviot valley – is described by Armstrong-Wilson as having a ­flavour “that’s to die for”.


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• To find out more about them or to place an order, check out their website: 

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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