Why Galloway Gin Is A Once In A Lifetime Experience
Vintage champagne, single cask scotch whisky and our Galloway Gin. All three cross paths at an intersection that captivates curiosity and excites fellow aficionados of flavour. A magical allure that sets them apart as tipples to be cherished and celebrated in equal measure. However, understanding what makes them so special is not complicated or convoluted. On the contrary, it’s simply a matter of nurturing nature to reveal the extraordinary.
A Celebration Of Diversity
In a world that often seeks the security that comes from consistency, there's an undeniable allure to experiences that are truly unique. The sense of scarcity and exclusivity is an undeniable attraction that pulls us towards tipples that come and go in the blink of an eye. Vintage champagne and single cask scotch whisky are celebrated for their one-of-a-kind characteristics. Fleeting flavours that will never be captured again.
Vintage champagne is only produced in years where the weather, grape vines and terroir all align to create something extraordinary and truly one-off. Likewise, due to the individuality of oak barrels, a single cask of scotch whisky is admired for its never-to-be-repeated characteristics. The once-a-year creation of our Galloway Gin is also a celebration of such diversity.
Like vintage champagne or single cask whiskies, each release of our Galloway Gin is a snapshot of a brief moment in time. All three yield to nature because while there is undoubtedly a degree of skill involved with each, it is the interaction of the natural elements with time that takes a degree of control beyond the reach of people. For our Galloway Gin in particular, it really is the purist expression of a brief heartbeat in the life of Galloway.
Capturing The Heart And Soul Of Galloway
Unlike vintage champagne and single cask scotch, Scottish gin is typically available all year round thanks to botanicals imported from beyond our bonnie borders. To enable both the flow and consistency of one of life’s necessities, it is inevitable that many of the botanicals must be imported. In fact, the large-scale distillers have dedicated teams who analyse the botanicals in a laboratory to ensure they remain precisely within the parameters for the brand’s flavour.
The beauty of our Galloway Gin lies in the fact that it throws all notions of consistency and constancy out of the distillery window. For a brief window each year, Galloway becomes Scotland's culinary treasure trove, offering a bountiful harvest of juniper berries and other botanicals that grow wild in the hills, forests and coastline surrounding Crafty Distillery. We embrace each years’ inconsistencies to exhibit their charm.
Mother Nature paints with different botanical strokes each year, ensuring that no two batches of Galloway Gin are ever quite the same. Last year nature provided an abundance of raspberries, while in a previous year we even had the opportunity to distil chanterelle mushrooms in the gin. This year is a bounty of brambles and elderberries, all of which are Galloway through and through. By bringing together only what we find growing around us, Galloway Gin captures just a brief moment that is the heart and soul of Galloway.
The Most Local Gin Possible
We're fortunate to have the rich wilds of Galloway on our doorstep, providing a diverse range of botanicals. While our Galloway Gin is local through-and-through, it shares a commonality with our Hills & Harbour Gin other than local botanicals. Hills & Harbour being made using Galloway Baldderwrack Seaweed and Noble Fir. That commonality lies in the use of Galloway wheat.
By using only local wheat and creating our own base spirit by hand at the distillery from scratch, we are able to finely control the nuances of flavour in our spirits – including our 24Seven Vodka. Above all though, we can capture the DNA of Galloway in our gins. So in addition to all of the botanicals used in our Galloway Gin being locally foraged, the base spirit itself offers a taste of Galloway.
Each year when we craft our Galloway Gin, we spend around three weeks out in the wilds foraging for that year’s crop of botanicals by hand. Having harvested enough to produce the limited production for that year, it then takes around another two weeks to bring it all together in a gin. The fermentation that transforms the wheat grains into alcohol takes seven days alone. However, we feel it’s a necessary effort in order to create the level of quality that we feel our customers deserve.
You may well ask why more gin distillers aren’t doing this. The fact of the matter is that Scottish juniper is not as abundant as you may think. While juniper is indigenous to Scotland, juniper trees and shrubs are still few and far between. On top of that, not all of the juniper trees even produce any fruit at all. In Galloway we are fortunate to have access to a very rare and ancient orchard of juniper trees. Even so, the crop that is available each year is the limiting factor for how much Galloway Gin we can produce, i.e. very small amounts.
We Only Get One Shot
When setting out to create a gin, if undertaking the entire process yourself, it takes a great deal of time to trial and test all the variables before settling on the perfect balance. For instance it took our master distiller, Craig Rankin, well over a year to dial-in all the nuances within our Hills & Harbour Gin. The Galloway Gin is quite different however.
Due to the fact that nature provides a unique bounty of botanicals each year, there is no opportunity for testing, trialling or fine-tuning the flavours. The process very much accepts that nature will determine the flavour and in true respect for nature, we keep the gin as simple as possible. We just allow the ingredients to sing by themselves. Of course some of the botanicals can be awkward to work with, which is where the skill of the distiller comes in, gently guiding the flavours in the right direction.
In this respect we only get one shot at crafting Galloway Gin. There are no dress rehearsals or second chances. The finished spirit is purely as nature intended. A one-off snapshot of Galloway, that like the radiant glow of a summertime sunset on The Merrick, is a fleeting instance that is enjoyed and savoured but will never be repeated again in quite the same way.
It takes a great deal of graft to craft our Galloway Gin. It’s a hands-on process from start to finish. However, each year it’s something we relish. We feel a direct connection with nature, with Galloway, and with the unique growing season of that year. With a great sense of excitement we wait to see which botanicals will be provided for us. With great joy we capture a small piece of Galloway in a bottle for people around the world to enjoy and feel that same connection. Let us all raise a glass to nature, for when it’s allowed to do its thing, it’s one of the greatest wonders on our doorstep!
This year’s Limited Edition Galloway Gin 2023 will be launching next month, so keep an eye out for updates on our social media and next newsletters.
Above shows last year's packaging. Each year the beautifully designed label colour changes depending on the botanicals. What will 2023 design bring to table?