Glasgow's Illicit Spirits launch gin smoked with Scottish peat

A popular spirit distillery in Glasgow has created a new smoked gin that's infused with Scottish peat.

Published 7th Nov 2019
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

Dubbed Blacklist, the new gin is black in colour and features a recipe of botanicals designed to enhance the smokey flavour.

Founder and distiller Darran Edmond said that they wanted to create a gin with the "rich smouldering character" of some of their favourite whiskies and bring together Scotland's two great spirits.

The new gin is black in colour. Picture: Illicit

He said: "We started by selecting botanicals to compliment a smoky flavour profile: black cardamom, black pepper, allspice, bitter orange and Lapsang Souchong tea.

Darran smokes the peat. Picture: Illicit

"We then took these, along with our usual base of juniper, coriander, and angelica, and smoked them for 8 hours over Scottish peat."

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Darran added that the test distillations using this method still didn’t quite yield the intensity they were after, he added: "We then took things up a notch by filling the headspace of the still with smoke prior to distillation, and then bubbling peat smoke through the resulting distillate.

"For the final touch, we added activated charcoal, to anchor the flavours and add a final charred note of bitterness. And, if we’re being honest, because we think black gin is cool."

The expert distiller stated that the final result is a spirit with "piney juniper and spice" balanced with "medicinal peaty phenolics".

"Imagine a juniper bush burning on a rainy day, a fine cigar in liquid form. A celebration of things that shouldn’t work, but very much do.

Illicit brand ambassador Cal McMillan added: "The BLACKLIST is a marriage of the smokey countryside and dry exotic botanicals. It goes well with stout, topping it with ginger makes it sing, or even just drinking it how you'd partake in a dram fits the bill."

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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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