One of Scotland’s first potato vodkas, created by Ogilvy Spirits, has achieved two awards in a competition considered to be the most prestigious of its kind in the world.
Ogilvy Vodka has received a Gold Outstanding and the Vodka Trophy at the 2015 International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC).
With the support of many of the world’s top wine and spirit producers, the competition sets the international benchmark for quality. The win builds on the company’s previous success earlier this year at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where Ogilvy Vodka won a Silver and Double Gold Medal.
Graeme Jarron, founder of Ogilvy Spirits, started to produce the vodka on his diversified Hatton of Ogilvy Farm in Forfar in January. He said: “We are truly delighted to be enjoying another accomplishment at a major spirit competition. We worked hard to design a unique recipe and production techniques which have resulted in a ‘sipping’ vodka with a complex flavour profile. The ideal serve for the spirit is a few cubes of ice or a slice of pear.”
The IWSC awards are believed to be among some of the highest honours in the industry. Judging for the Competition has two stages. First, the products are tasted blind by expert panels, selected from over 300 fully experienced and qualified industry judges. Then, products which receive the top medals are subject to technical analysis before results are released.
Mr Jarron continued: “A number of factors contribute to the flavour profile of the spirit. We use Maris Piper potatoes for the fresh and nutty attributes they impart. The process is long in comparison to other vodkas, taking three weeks from start to finish. Our raw material has so much flavour and the key is to preserve this throughout.
“There are also toffee and caramel notes, almost like a milkshake, achieved through specific distillation techniques. The spirit has charcoal and pepper notes with a long black pepper finish that lingers on the tongue.
“I studied agriculture at the Scottish Agriculture College (SAC) near Aberdeen and I knew when I returned to work on the farm that I wanted to do something a bit different.
“In 2012 we commissioned Heriot-Watt University to do some initial research into the possibility of using Scottish potatoes to produce vodka. The results were positive and throughout the process we met our distiller, Abhishek Banik, who was studying a PhD at the university’s International Centre of Brewing and Distilling. With his ingenuity and expertise we have cultivated a bespoke method of producing vodka.
“Our farm is a mixed enterprise growing predominantly potatoes and cereals with some cattle too. I wanted to produce something whereby we could take one of our crops and bring it right through to a final product.
“We grow the potatoes for our Ogilvy vodka on the farm so have one hundred per cent traceability. We also wash and cook, ferment and distil as well as bottle the product on site.
“The aim was to build a future for further generations, to create something from our farm’s produce starting small and sharing it worldwide. We are delighted with these accolades we have achieved, particularly at such an early stage of our development. The future is bright for Ogilvy Spirits and our Hatton of Ogilvy Farm.”