Conservationists for the National Trust for Scotland are celebrating 25 years of protecting and restoring the ancient pine forests in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park with the launch of Pinewood Gin.
Produced by the conservation charity that cares for Scotland’s national and natural treasures, the gin is created using botanicals from the pinewoods of Mar Lodge Estate – including juniper, pine needles, birch leaves, bog myrtle, wood sorrel and blaeberries.
The botanicals for the gin, the brainchild of Mar Lodge Estate ecologist Shaila Rao, were hand-foraged by Mar Lodge Estate staff and the gin distilled in partnership with Glenshee Craft Distillers, based locally to the estate near Braemar.
Shaila, who came up with the concept for this unique product, said: ‘Simon Fairclough, the managing director of Glenshee Craft Distillers, is incredibly supportive of the work at Mar Lodge to protect our unique pinewood and has helped us through the whole development of the gin.
‘Creating this gin seemed like a fitting way to mark the 25th anniversary of the Trust taking on the care and protection of Mar Lodge. In the past few decades, we’ve seen the landscape here recover from centuries of decline from timber exploitation, climate change and high grazing levels preventing regeneration and the Mar Lodge Estate pinewoods are being reborn.
‘We were inspired by this progress to create the Pinewood Gin which is literally flavoured by this place, plus every bottle sold supports our efforts to protect the Caledonian pinewoods of Mar Lodge Estate and restore them to their former glory.’
Thanks to the work of the National Trust for Scotland young pines are now creeping up the slopes to break the mountain skyline and filling in gaps in the old fragmented forest of ‘granny pines’. Wildlife will benefit from this expanding woodland and new species could be tempted in from Scandinavia. Locking up carbon as they go, the pinewood regeneration is also contributing to the fight against climate change.
Mar Lodge Estate is the UK’s largest national nature reserve and is home to an incredible range of habitats, including 15 Munros, heathered moors, Caledonian pine forest and the Quoich wetlands, as well as a huge array of wildlife like otters, ptarmigan, black grouse and red deer.
Pinewood Gin is available to buy at www.nts.org.uk/shop and will shortly be available at selected Trust retail outlets at Culloden Battlefield Visitor Centre, Inverewe, Glencoe Visitor Centre, Crathes Castle and Culzean Castle and Country Park.