Inspired by the surroundings, the Founders developed a couple of Gin recipes (Original Recipe and Ocean Sent), both featuring a number of traditional Gin botanicals, and adding a Shetland Twist.
The Original Recipe Gin features juniper berries, coriander seeds, orris root, cassia bark and citrus peel, as well as apple mint, which is grown and harvested on the island. It features plenty of juniper to taste, so fans of traditional Gins with love it, but the mint really adds an extra layer.
The Ocean Sent Gin features the addition of bladderwrack seaweed, which is native to the Shetland coastline. Both recipes are made in very small batches – in fact, the size of the still makes The Shetland Distillery Company one of the smallest commercial distilleries in the world.
Shetland Reel Gin
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The Shetland Distillery Company
The size of its still means that Saxa Vord is one of the world’s smallest commercial Gin distilleries.
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At the very top of the British Isles are the Shetland Islands, the most northerly of which is an island called Unst. It is on this island that you’ll find The Shetland Distillery Company, owners of the Saxa Vord Distillery, which produces Shetland Reel Gin and Shetland Reel Whisky.
Saxa Vord is a former RAF base which was redeveloped over the course of eight years, into the most northerly distillery in the UK. With a plan to produce both Gin and Whisky, the recipes were developed in very small batches, with the help of some very willing taste-testers on the island!
The first commercial run of Gin in Shetland was produced by the company in September 2014. Since then, the operation has grown slightly, along with demand for the product, but due to the small size of the still, they can only ever produce so much.
A transcript for non-audio situations
Debbie: It is the most northerly island in the UK, the most northerly inhabited island in Shetland, and so it does give us a unique selling point. But that alone, despite the fact people are after the story and it's all part of Gin and the growth in Gin, we've had a business there for 9, nearly 10 years, and so we love everything about Unst anyway, the people, and the scenery, and the wildlife, and the weather, and the peace and quiet, and this is quite difficult to get over to people who've never been to Shetland, but it's a very, very special place.
Mark: If you bring out a new product and people like it or if it wins awards, like the San Francisco World Spirit Competition, we won a silver medal for the Shetland Reel Gin, we took out the first year in 2015. And in 2016, we had a gold medal for the Shetland Reel Whisky, and a silver medal for the Ocean Sent, which is the seaweed-based Gin.
Marc: We're producing recognized Spirit on the most northerly island in the UK with local botanicals, and we have that connection to the islands that some other places don't have. And I think it's a kind of unique environment to be in because everything's a consideration. When we order things, they're always gonna have to get to Unst, or when we're sending things away, they always have to get from Unst.
Luke: Personally, I'd like to hope that people see us, you know, progressive, almost new but trusted brand. We have a fantastic team. We have brilliant ideas coming from left, right, and center, regardless of who it comes from. I think I want to see how far it goes and where it goes, the directions it'll take.