The Botanist owes its name thanks to thirty one botanicals and two botanists.
Dr Richard and Mary Gulliver, the botanists, have been scouring the island for the wild Islay botanicals which are hand-collected and dried.
The use of such aromatic plants for flavouring spirit is not new. The island’s clandestine distillers of old used whatever was to hand to improve their rustically produced usquebaugh, distilled on small, portable stills, hidden away in remote glens.
Juniper berries were one of the flavouring elements used, while the plant's wood fired the stills: the wood burns with out smoke, all the better to avoid Customs Officers.
This original whisky, usquebaugh (‘water of life’), a clear spirit, would have tasted more like gin than ten year old single malt.
Ugly Betty is Lomond Still. She is unique, the last of her kind. She takes her time, an unprecedented fourteen hour distillation at just 0.2 atmospheres of pressure, a mere simmer, four times longer than a whisky distillation.
This exquisite subtlety of operation is the secret behind the Botanist gin. It allows the more delicate aromatic leaves and petals to influence the gin vapour without being blitzed away. It brings texture.
The Botanist gin is distilled after an overnight maceration of the nine base botanicals - the seed, berry, bark, root and peel categories - in spirit and Islay spring water. As Ugly Betty slowly warms up, this alcohol vapour infusion then passes through the botanical basket containing the 22 more delicate Islay aromatic leaves and petals.
Two types of Juniper are included, including prostrate juniper (Juniperus communis subspecies nana) that grows in the exposed sea level habitats of the Rhinns of Islay.
The Islay spring water from which this gin is made comes from Dirty Dottie’s spring on Octomore farm, both for the distillation and the bottling at 46%.
The Botanist gin, with an extraordinary total of thirty one botanicals, has total provenance and authenticity. The spirit has an amazing effervescence with a drift of dryness that comes only from an artisanal gin influenced exclusively by botanicals - no essences, oils or flavourings added.
This is a dry gin. An Islay dry gin. An authentic gin with texture, flavour and real character.