Kicking off our series of short features on the top 10 Scottish Gins as voted for by the public in The Scottish Gin Society Consumer Choice Awards 2019, is Secret Garden Gin from The Old Curiosity Distillery, which came in at number 8.
For anyone who doesn’t know the story behind The Old Curiosity Distillery, it’s completely unique and their brand ethos, passion and extensive knowledge of all things horticultural means that their completely natural range of gins are utterly delightful to all the senses.
A leap of faith
Founder Hamish Martin, a successful wine merchant, pursued his lifelong passion for plants by gaining a Herbology Diploma. Then, in 2012, Hamish and his wife, Liberty bought a derelict plot of land outside Edinburgh. With Hamish’s love of things that grow and Liberty’s passion for all things vintage, the overgrown lowlands have since become an award-winning herb nursery, local arts centre, shop and café.
The Secret Herb Garden has over 600 naturally-grown and tendered varieties of herbs so, with over 30 years experience in the drinks trade and a passion for creating unique tipples from glorious natural ingredients, it was only natural that Hamish began experimenting in distilling spirits.
And a little bit of magic
When experimenting with herbs and flowers for the gins, he discovered Apothecary Rose, an ancient ingredient in tinctures and tonics that has a natural reaction that can only be explained by the magic of nature: a natural colour change and this was the magical beginning of Secret Garden Gin.
Over time Hamish has developed many more concoctions of fine gin using hand-grown herbs. He then took to exploring a barn full of curious things. Among the odds and sods, and the bits and bobs, Old Curiosity Distillery was founded in 2017.
Their growing range of Gins are not only 100% natural, made using botanicals grown in their very own garden, but they also contain chemical components that react with citric acid in tonic water to magically change colour.
And the gins are not the only magical things you will find there. We strongly recommend you visit The Secret Herb Garden where the distillery is based and get a sense of the wonder of nature!
We spoke to Francesca Martin from Secret Garden Gins about their plans for 2020 and what it meant for them to be in our Top 10 last year:
To be honest, we never know what’s coming up, an idea will just be passed around and then all of a sudden its all go to get it out to the public, I guess that’s the beauty of working with nature, there are endless possibilities!
I think the most exciting thing is how quickly everything is changing, in 2019 our team doubled in size and in the past two years our product range has doubled as well! There are so many exciting things going on and its amazing watching it all grow!
It was a bit of a shock to find ourselves in the Top 10 in 2019, there are so many different incredible Scottish gins and the fact that we were even noticed is a joy in itself, let alone being top 10!
Do you love Secret Garden’s colour changing gins? Or do you have another firm favourite? You can cast your vote for them in the 2020 Consumer Choice Awards here.