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Loch Ness doctor and retired detective launch first Scottish 'blanche' absinthe

A Loch Ness doctor and a retired detective have launched what is thought to be Scotland's first absinthe blanche. 

Published: September 14, 2018
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Made using botanicals, including wormwood, juniper and mint hand-picked from around their 500-year-old ancestral home, and water from an aquifer in their estate that flows into the famous loch, the new spirit joins the range from the producers of the popular Loch Ness Gin.

Blanche absinthe dates back to 1910 following the ban of green absinthe (verte) in various countries, due to its unfounded hallucinogenic properties which came from the use of thujone, a component of wormwood found in various herbs including sage or tarragon today.

This led to the illegal production of clear absinthe in Switzerland, making it harder for the authorities to identify.

The couple, Lorien and Kevin Cameron-Ross, developed the recipe for Loch Ness Absinthe following a trip to the birthplace of the spirit, Val-de-Travers in Switzerland.

It was there Lorien learned to fine-tune the craft of making absinthe which was first used as a medicinal remedy by a French doctor living in the country, Pierre Ordinaire around the 1790s.

Although best known as absinthe verte, ‘the green drink’, popular in the late 19th and early 20th century among artists and writers in Paris, including Vincent Van Gogh and Ernest Hemmingway, the couple decided to create their own clear Scottish blanche recipe.

Lorien said: “We are really proud of our latest product, Loch Ness Absinthe, boasting our very own homegrown botanicals including wormwood mixed with nearby fresh water which flows into the famous loch.

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“We felt there was gap in the market for an absinthe blanche in Scotland, a drink I really enjoy, so decided to put the wheels in motion last year and began to research its history and fully understand the craft of creating and distilling it.”

The couple who are firm believers in mindful drinking, ‘drink less - enjoy yourself more’, recommend that Loch Ness Absinthe, which has a lower ABV of 53 per cent than absinthe verte, which is usually around 72 per cent, should be enjoyed slowly as an aperitif.

The ideal measurement is with one-part absinthe, in a glass with three parts iced water, which dilutes the spirit and releases a mix of herbal aromas and flavours, poured over a sugar cube cradled in a silver spoon balanced on top of the rim, resulting in a magical opalescent haze.

Lorien added: “I’ve worked really hard to get the recipe for our latest product, Loch Ness Absinthe exactly the way I wanted and in the process perfected the art of distilling it to get the exact results I was looking for.

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“With the help and support of Kevin, I’ve created a drink that I’m really pleased with, which has already received fantastic feedback, leading to us driving our plans forward to launch even more products in the near future that will continue to be inspired by the loch and the land around us.”

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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