Ullapool’s Highland Liquor Company is releasing a limited edition Isle Martin 2020 gin bottling.
It was created using botanicals foraged exclusively on the community-owned island. The 160 bottles will be sold for £40, with £10 from each sale donated to the Isle Martin Community Trust.
Head distiller, Ben Thompson and volunteers from the Isle Martin Community Trust foraged all the seasonal botanicals from the community owned island in 2020.
They sourced juniper, burdock root, Angelica root, bog myrtle, cypress and lemon balm on the island, just off Ullapool, which give a unique local flavour to the gin. Bottling of the Isle Martin 2020 gin was delayed due to the pandemic until now.
The uninhabited island in Loch Broom is one of the Summer Isles and has long been connected to Ullapool, with workers once ferried back and forth daily to operate the mill on the island.
The island is now maintained by the Isle Martin Community Trust and recognised as an important bird sanctuary. The juniper used in the gin was first planted on the Isle Martin in the 1980s as part of a rewilding strategy that encourages the return of native woodland. Funds raised form the gin sales will be used for maintaining the island and towards ongoing renovations to the buildings.
This is the second time the distillery and trust have partnered, with their first expression, Isle Martin 2019 Gin, selling out. Only 160 bottles of the 2020 release have been produced, all of which are exclusively available from the Highland Liquor Company Bottle Shop in Ullapool and the Highland Liquor Company website which can be shipped UK-wide.
Bottled at 43% ABV, the small batch gin is hand distilled in a in a small, copper alembic still.
Co-founder Helen Chalmers said: ‘It is a dream come true for the distillery to be able to work with ingredients harvested entirely from the island to produce these limited edition batches of Isle Martin Gin and to be able to give back to the island trust.
‘We thank the board for allowing us to develop the gin on their behalf and hope the 2020 bottling celebrates this community: past, present and future.’
Head distiller Ben Thompson said: ‘Producing our annual Isle Martin Gin is a real treat for me. Travelling over the uninhabited island by boat to find and forage all the botanicals needed to make this delicious gin is a distiller’s dream. Learning the new ingredients and their characteristics means that production of the Isle Martin Gin will continue to evolve in the years to come, and I’m looking forward to it!’
Isle Martin Community Trust member, Lesley Strachan, said: ‘The Board of the Isle Martin Trust can’t think of a better way to usher in 2022 than with the launch of the 2020 Isle Martin Gin.
‘We are delighted to have teamed up again with the talented team at Highland Liquor Company who have used their magical alchemy to create a unique gin flavoured with our island botanicals.’
Based in the small fishing town of Ullapool on Scotland’s west coast, the Highland Liquor Company was founded by Helen Chalmers and Robert Hicks. Along with Head Distiller Ben Thompson, over 96 recipes were trialled before perfecting the Seven Crofts recipe. Seven Crofts is named after the original seven private dwellings that made up Ullapool in 1791. Those dwellers sought to grow the town by establishing unique crafts and exporting goods all over the world. The Highland Liquor Company opened its bottle shop in 2019, serving the full range of Highland Liquor Company bottlings alongside their Experimental range and The Ullapool Gin and a carefully curated selection of craft spirits, wines, beers, cider and snacks.
Isle Martin Gin retails at £40 for 50cl bottle, exclusively available from The Highland Liquor Company Bottle Shop at 26 West Argyle St, Ullapool IV26 2TY and online at https://www.highlandliquorcompany.com/.
Seven Crofts Gin retails at £40 for 70cl bottle, Seven Crofts Fisherman’s Strength Gin retails at £48 for 70cl bottle.
Both are available online HERE, the Bottle Shop, and in selected specialist retailers and bars.