A limited-edition gin crafted to celebrate Shetland’s famous Up Helly Aa fire festivals each year, 2022’s expression is the seventh annual release from the Unst- based distiller.
Last year’s batch - called ‘not Up Helly Aa’ in line with the festival’s Covid-related cancellation - sold out within four hours of pre-orders going live and was never available for public sale.
Despite the festival’s postponement extending into 2022, the distillery has slightly increased production to meet the increasing demand for the annual bottling.
The 2022 release, which is limited to 500 bottles, has been aged at Saxa Vord Distillery in casks which were previous used to store Stewart’s Rum – a popular tipple throughout the Shetland Isles.
The bottles have become a collectable amongst both Shetlanders and Scottish Gin enthusiasts in recent years, with a small group of collectors holding a bottle from each launch since 2015.
Shetland Distillery Company’s Co-Owner, Debbie Strang, shared the company’s desire to create the special edition release, despite the uncertainty surrounding Lerwick’s festival.
She said: “We took a long time to decide whether or not to produce and launch an Up Helly Aa Gin for 2022.
"As many of our customers know we have produced a gin to celebrate the Winter Fire Festival in Lerwick, the last Tuesday of January each year since we started.
"January 2015 was our first cask-aged gin, and we have repeated this every year apart from last year when it was clear that Up Helly Aa would be cancelled.
"We still managed to launch a limited run of 121 bottles and labelled them ‘Not Up Helly Aa 2021’, which then incredibly sold within 4 hours of launch.
"Despite the postponement of the festival this year, we felt it was important to still produce a spectacular cask-aged gin that we hope people will enjoy whilst celebrating at home, or simply add to their growing collection of Up Helly Aa Gins.”
Priced at £29.50, the bottles are available to buy exclusively through the Shetland Reel website and selected Shetland stockists from Tuesday January 25.