Bringing distilling back to the gateway to the Highlands – a new signature gin from Dùn Omhain

At The Scottish Gin Society, we love to hear news of new and exciting Scottish Gins launching and learning the story and the passion behind each one. With the difficult times of 2020, unsurprisingly new gins were few and far between, however, the pandemic caused many people to rethink their situations and 2021 has sparked a number of locally focused business ideas up and down the country.

In the idyllic town of Dùn Omhain (Dunoon) on the Cowal peninsula in Argyll and Bute, a new Scottish Gin venture has been launched from a group of old school friends from the town named Dùn Omhain Distillers.

The town and surrounding area has a storied history dating as far back as 3rd Century BC from the times of Druids, through to the feuds of the Campbells and Lamonts leading to Dùn Omhain massacre of 1946 and the Argyll Rising Rebellion against King James VII. More recently across the past two centuries with the advent of technology in the form of the paddle steamer Dunoon secured its place on the map of the modern world which is where this story begins.

In 1822 the Glasgow merchant James Ewing built a pier in the town which marked the start of a period of change, opening up the town which until then was falling into decay. As the 1820’s progressed another Ewing by the name of William, spotted an opportunity as Whisky production continued to grow across the country and he built a distillery in the town which was licensed in 1833. Later the same year it closed and no record remains as to why and also whether it actually produced any spirits. As time passed this story became lost in local folklore but spirits or not the town continued to gather popularity into the next century thanks to the paddle steamer and the identification of the yearly working-class holiday, with the town frequented by Scots getting “steaming” down the Clyde on the way to and in the Dunoon area.

We’re happy to say that the town is now seeing a revitalisation with a new vision for the area, evident in a number of new businesses, projects and a growing population once again, which has led to the group of school friends now launching their new venture Dùn Omhain Distillers.

Dùn Omhain Distillers sets out to bring the 200-year-old distillery folklore to realisation. Following the first initial release of their Signature Gin, the company is aiming to bring local distillation back to the gateway of the highlands Dùn Omhain.

The first batch of Signature Gin Batch #1 ––“The Postcard Series” has just launched and signals the start of a long term plan fo r reinvestment into the local area via the town’s first craft distillery.
The three company directors Andrew Moss, Fergus Weall and Johnny Widdowson reunited in the venture following a shared interest in spirits and a love for the town and area in which they grew up, still live and have family ties.
Now leaning on the experience they each bring to the table, they embark on the journey with the eventual goal of making whisky in the town. The ultimate aim is to create a local business with global reach through which jobs can be brought to the town and also create a platform to help promote the area and obviously have some fun along the way.

With the aim of creating a gin that could be versatile enough for any gin pallet, the team set about playing around with recipes during lockdown. The botanical selection for the Signature Gin is rooted in inspiration from the local area and access to a couple of private gardens in the Benmore area helped with some additional notes. After a number of test batches, Fergus and Andrew landed on a particular expression that is now available for everyone to taste. You can check out their signature gin on the Dùn Omhain Distillers website.

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