Think of Scotland and you’ll think of whisky. Nothing wrong with that at all of course, but have you ever wondered about the likes of gin or vodka perhaps coming from Scotland? The most famous you may recognise would be Hendrick’s, developed within the family of William Grants & Sons, but lately there’s been a resurgence of tipples to add to the ever-expanding gin and vodka category. The likes of Rock Rose for gin, or Valt for vodka have become sought-after as customers venture away from the traditional country of origins. Arbikie can count itself as one such brand, priding itself with production from farm to bottle. So lets dive into how this Scottish vodka came about –
Arbikie has been launched by Iain, John and David Stirling and have utilised a part of the Arbikie Highland Estate which they own. The land has been used for farming for four generations and continues to grow all the raw ingredients used for production of the vodka, as well as future production of gin and whisky.Overlooking the Lunan Bay on the Angus coast, the distillery itself is created from an ancient barn that’s been a part of the family since the 1920’s.
Being inspired by the founding of distilling records that date back to 1794, and the plan of utilising ingredients that are planted, sown, grown and harvested within an arm’s-length of the distillery, they have decided to be the first single-estate distillery to distil all their spirits in the same copper pot stills. The vodka and gin continue their journey to a 40 plate distillation column, but ultimately the distillation process captures “the traditional Scotch whisky method” they are after.
So to Arbikie. The vodka is created using potatoes (Maris Piper, King Edward and Cultra to be exact) grown from their farm. and is triple distilled before hitting the 40 plate distillation column mentioned above. The water used within the production is sourced from an underground lagoon, which itself contains mountain-filtered water from the Angus hills, which once all completed, is bottled, labelled and sealed on their estate.
With Master Distiller Kirsty Black overseeing all this, lets see how it fares. Below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Arbikie – 43%
Rich aromas of potato with sweet scents of butter and earthy notes on the nose. Rather smooth on the first sip, but with a growing warmth and a good spicy and incredibly fresh kick on the palate. Thick, plenty of potato for body and a sweet, long, creamy finish.
Now that’s a vodka! Very different to what you’d expect, and you can truly taste the craftsmanship, the effort put in to produce it. Very farm based experience here. Now they say to enjoy this over ice, but I’ve found a cracking recipe which would be perfect to try out –
60 ml Arbikie
30 ml Fresh lemon Juice
2 tsp Sugar
4/5 Fresh mint leave
Shake all the ingredients together, barring the soda, with ice within a cocktail shaker. Pour into a coupette glass, top with soda if you wish, and garnish with a mint sprig.
As you can imagine, being new there’s only a select few places to purchase the vodka, but I do believe it’s well worth a try. I’m looking forward to experiencing their gin and whisky once available, but in the meantime, buy, open and enjoy Scotland in a different way.
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