Scotland’s Highland Liquor Company is paying homage to a tiny Hebridean island near its home with a limited-edition gin.
The Isle Martin 2020 gin was created using botanicals foraged exclusively on the community-owned island, just off Ullapool. Only 160 bottles have been made, with a quarter of the proceeds from sales to be donated to the Isle Martin Community Trust.
It is the second time the distillery and community trust have partnered on a gin release – their first expression, Isle Martin 2019 Gin, was a sell-out success. Although foraging for the new release took place in 2020, bottling was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To create the new gin, Highland Liquor Company’s head distiller, Ben Thompson, joined forces with volunteers from the trust to forage seasonal botanicals from the island including juniper, burdock root, angelica root, bog myrtle, cypress and lemon balm. The team says it has aromas of citrus and pine, a sweet, earthy palate and resinous notes in the finish.
Helen Chalmers, Highland Liquor Company co-founder, said: “It is a dream come true for the distillery to be able to work with ingredients harvested entirely from the island to produce these limited-edition batches of Isle Martin Gin and to be able to give back to the island trust. We thank the board for allowing us to develop the gin on their behalf and hope the 2020 bottling celebrates this community – past, present and future.”
Ben Thompson said: “Travelling over the island by boat to find and forage all the botanicals needed to make this delicious gin is a distiller’s dream. Learning the new ingredients and their characteristics means that production of the Isle Martin Gin will continue to evolve in the years to come, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The uninhabited Isle Martin is part of the Summer Isles. It is maintained by the community trust and recognised as an important bird sanctuary. The juniper foraged from the island for the 2020 gin was first planted in the 1980s, as part of a strategy to bring back native woodland species.
Lesley Strachan, from the Isle Martin Community Trust, said: “We are delighted to have teamed up again with the talented team at Highland Liquor Company who have used their magical alchemy to create a unique gin flavoured with our island botanicals.”
Isle Martin 2020 Gin (43% ABV) is exclusively available from the Highland Liquor Company bottle shop in Ullapool and on the Highland Liquor Company website, where it can be shipped UK-wide.
Highland Liquor Company is the producer of Seven Crofts Gin, named for the original seven private dwellings which made up Ullapool when it was founded as a fishing village in 1791. The distillery’s bottle shop, serving its core range alongside experimental bottlings, opened in 2019.