In an exciting move for the Scottish gin industry, Wild Thyme Spirits will move gin production to its HQ on the beautiful Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay with the first ‘island batch’ of Colonsay Gin set to run from the still by the end of June 2018.
Founders of Wild Thyme Spirits, husband and wife team, Fin and Eileen Geekie relocated from Oxfordshire to the remote island of Colonsay in 2016. After a successful launch in 2017 and a year crafting small-batch Colonsay Gin with the help of one of Scotland’s smallest distilleries, Strathearn, the pair are now bringing production of Colonsay Gin home to the island.
To coincide with this, Wild Thyme Spirits have negotiated an exclusive agreement with the Colonsay Estate to hand-forage for botanicals on the island, including access to the highly acclaimed gardens and grounds of Colonsay House. This gives the distillers scope to experiment, legitimately, and on a commercial scale, with a huge array of local botanicals to help create future products with unmistakable Colonsay provenance. Colonsay Gin is juniper led, in the classic London Dry style, and is made in a 100L copper still in small batches of only 162 bottles. The spirit is distilled with 7 botanicals; juniper, angelica root, calamus root, liquorice root, orange peel, orris root and coriander seeds and is distilled very slowly before the spirit is held for a further 4-5 days to allow the flavours to mellow.
It is bottled at 47% ABV, slightly higher than most gins, and is ideally served over ice with premium tonic and a garnish of either orange zest, or, most unusually, a slice of green chilli. In 2017, Colonsay Gin was notably awarded a silver medal in the New York International Spirits Competition and subsequently a silver medal at the prestigious Global Gin Masters. Inspiration for the artisanal spirit is rooted in the island’s wild landscape and its mythical Celtic folklore.
Tucked away between the better-known islands of Islay and Mull, and nestling close to neighbouring Jura, Colonsay is just under a two-and-a-half-hour ferry journey from Oban on the West Coast of Scotland. The tiny island is quietly renowned for its tranquillity, exquisite sandy beaches, rare flora and fauna and abundance of wildlife.
It is a treasured destination for the holiday cognoscenti. In addition to producing international award-winning gin, the two entrepreneurs also offer a ‘Gin Lover’s Retreat’ weekend package which allows guests to relax and unwind, enjoy all things gin, whilst immersing themselves in, and fully embracing, the island experience. The package includes full board, cocktails on arrival, a formal gin tasting and access to the couple’s ever-growing collection of gins from around the world. This burgeoning business has already contributed to the sustainability and ongoing development of the island economy and continues to support the local community wherever it can.
We’re delighted that production of this iconic Scottish gin is coming home and moving production to the island will also undoubtedly help create much-needed employment.
Find out more about the gin and the retreat here.