For gin-loving couple, Phil and Tabatha, a spark of an idea, formed after their annual trip to Islay became a business and Tarbraxus Distillery, creators of Pentland Hills Gin, came into being. Their journey has been long, but ultimately worth it, as production is now well underway.
They haven’t done it alone though, asides from their friends who volunteered as willing tasters, the couple share the distillery space with Panza, their chocolate Labrador, who you can see on every bottle and their copper still, Douglas.
On our quest for romantic gin stories this valentine’s day, we spoke to Phil and Tabatha about distilling as a couple.
How did you meet?
Long story but essentially Tabatha came to an RAF ‘Air Day’ at RAF Valley on Anglesey, to raise money for charity and a rally challenge across Europe. It was a combination of a rally car, no fuel and Tabatha needing someone to show her where the petrol station was and lend her 20 quid! Phil’s blonde Labrador Willow acted as the matchmaker!
How did you begin your Scottish Gin journey together?
Hot tub epiphany……..dark, star-filled night just after the 2017 New Year. It started something like ‘I really don’t fancy getting up at 04:30am tomorrow and working for other people so what can we do instead?’
What’s the best thing about working together?
Phil: being told what to do by Tabatha (well she is the MD!) Tabatha is my best mate and working with her just feels right.
Tabatha: working with someone who wont fire you if you get it wrong, being able to talk to them and know that you are not being judged, my go to person to get a hug when things aren’t going the way you planned,
What do you like to do together when you’re not working?
Dog walking, beaches, entertaining, fishing (Phil), not fishing (Tabatha), watching rugby, travelling (NZ is a favourite because of family), chainsawing (Tabatha), log splitting (Phil), gardening
Do you have any plans for Valentine’s Day?
A long dog walk followed by a log fire, nice meal, decent glass of rose` – but only once the gin is bottled, packaged and out the door.