Colonsay Beverages, producers of Colonsay Beers – Pig’s Paradise, IPA and 80 Shilling – is celebrating the launch of its premium gin, Wild Island Botanic Gin infused with botanicals hand foraged on the remote Inner Hebridean island. Wild Island Botanic Gin is proudly made in collaboration with Langley Distillery, a traditional copper-still family owned distillery in the West Midlands, by one of the world’s most highly regarded Master Gin Distillers. Making use of their smallest single copper still, the distillate is infused with botanicals from the Isle of Colonsay in the Hebrides, before being transported back to Scotland to be compounded (or “cut”) to bottling strength of 43.7% alcohol by volume with pure Scottish water. It is bottled in Scotland.
Wild Island Botanic Gin, distilled five times using 100% British wheat, is infused with a carefully selected array of six Hebridean botanicals, namely lemon balm, wild water mint, meadowsweet, sea buckthorn, heather flowers and bog myrtle, to give the gin a fresh, crisp and complex character. A further ten distinct botanicals – Mediterranean lemon peel, orange peel, juniper, coriander, angelica, orris root, liquorice, nutmeg, cassia and cinnamon bark – add depth to the base spirit, which is incredibly smooth to drink even at a 43.7% ABV bottling strength.
The six Hebridean botanicals included are:
- Lemon Balm: A leafy green herb which grows wild on our remote island. As the name suggests, it has a delicate lemon flavour and aroma even though it belongs to the mint family of herbs. It is often used in cooking and therapy and is dried to make tea leaves.
- Wild Water Mint: Found in frequently damp ground, our island provides the ideal growing environment for water mint. Unmistakably part of the mint family from its subtle mint aroma and appearance, it is distinguishable by its pretty lilac flowers in bloom from late July to September.
- Meadowsweet: At its happiest in damp conditions, meadowsweet possesses a subtle aromatic character often used in potpourri and in Scandinavian mead production. The creamy-white flower clusters of our Isle of Colonsay meadowsweet give off a strong, almond-sweet aroma.
- Sea Buckthorn: Being on an island, sea buckthorn grows in abundance on Colonsay. The berry has been used for centuries for its medicinal and nutritional qualities in teas and oils. The taste is honey-sweet and slightly acidic – a little goes a long way.
- Heather Flowers: The legendary “Flower of Scotland”, it is no coincidence that heather flowers have been used for centuries to create aromatic oils, pillow stuffing and in potpourri as a relaxant. In Wild Island Botanic Gin, our Colonsay heather flowers give a very subtle, floral quality to the spirit.
- Bog Myrtle: Used to add sweet flavour to ancient beer recipes and reputedly consumed by the Vikings before battle, bog myrtle is a richly aromatic herb found largely in damp peat bogs. Our Colonsay bog myrtle is subtly perfumed, adding fragrance and gentle flavour to the gin.
- Other base botanicals include: Juniper; Coriander; dried lemon peel; dried orange peel; Orris root; Angelica; Cinnamon bark; Cassia bark; Liquorice; Nutmeg
Wild Island Botanic Gin was launched in December 2016 at a strength of 43.7% alcohol by volume (this was selected as the perfect drinking strength during taste tests) with a recommended retail price (RRP) of £39 per 70cl bottle limited to releases of only 750 bottles per batch. The company has already produced and sold four 750 bottle batches since its launch in December and has secured two Scottish wholesale agreements and further gains in London, which has meant bringing forward planned production to meet rising demand.
“Wild Island Gin’s characters make it a fantastic spring or summer tipple and we want to make sure we are part of the gin drinker’s repertoire on the laid back warmer weather occasions. Product availability will be key.” commented director, Keith Bonnington. “The spirit has been tailored around one of our core Hebridean botanicals – lemon balm, which is part of the mint family, but carries a beautiful refreshing citrus aroma right through to the glass in your hand. We went a bit heavier than most gins on the dried lemon peel and steeped the botanicals for an unusually long time to release the essential oils in the zest and the result is even better than we had hoped.”
Wild Island Botanic Gin’s signature serve sees a return to a classic style of gin and tonic, using sliced lemon and a twist of peel to reinforce the fresh citrus notes. The bottle’s distinctive expressionist watercolour interpretation of the island’s Kiloran Bay has been praised by designers. The brand also recently collaborated online with Pink Sheep Studio, and produced Harris Tweed lampshades that were colour matched to the bottle design and lit up the brand’s Facebook page.
Wild Island Botanic Gin is available to buy wholesale from Woodwinters and Sutherland Brothers, online at Drinkmonger.com and through all good independent wine and spirits merchants in Scotland.
WILD ISLAND GIN AND TONIC – A simple classic, with a twist of added lemon and mint aroma.
- 1 part Wild Island Botanic Gin
- 2 parts good quality tonic water
- 1 slice of lemon
- 1 twist of lemon peel
- 1 sprig of fresh mint
- Fresh cubed ice
Half fill a highball glass with ice. Drop in a slice of lemon then fill the glass to the top with ice. Pour in a measure of Wild Island Botanic Gin followed by the tonic and lightly stir for a couple of revolutions to infuse the gin, the lemon, the ice and the tonic. Add a twist of lemon peel and a sprig of fresh mint for added aroma.
WILD ISLAND LEMON-MINT MARTINI
Wild Island Botanic Gin with its 16 unique botanicals. Fresh lemon. Fresh mint. This is the perfect way to combine these complex characters in a refreshing, sophisticated drink.
- 2 parts Wild Island Botanic Gin
- 1 part freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Two sprigs of fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon of sugar syrup
- Fresh cubed ice
Strip the mint leaves and muddle at the bottom of a cocktail shaker (or large glass if you don’t have one). Add plenty of fresh ice, Wild Island Botanic Gin, the lemon juice and the sugar syrup and shake or stir to your preference. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
For a longer refreshing serve, serve with a wedge of pomelo or red grapefruit in a highball glass and top up with Rose Lemonade (Fentimans produce a particularly good one).