It’s no secret now that I just adore gin. I think this was encouraged by my best friend Ceri, who you will no doubt have read about on this blog – she is a gin queen and has inspired my love of this delicious spirit. I’m always excited to learn about and try new gins, and one of these recently was the Scottish ‘Gin Bothy’, with a wonderful and heart warming story. I’m also a lover of all things Scottish – you might have read about my recent trips to Edinburgh and Loch Lomond on here – Tim and I are hoping to visit again soon, this time with the car to explore even further afield.
This is also a gin which is ‘doing good’ – sales of the artisan small batch gin are raising money to conserve the precious ancient pine trees whose needles give it flavour. Loch Arkaig pine forest near Spean Bridge was recently bought in a partnership between the Woodland Trust and community group Arkaig Community Forest.
Now award-winning Angus distiller The Gin Bothy is infusing its classic gin and tonic serve, ‘Bothy Original’ with Arkaig pine needles, and donating £1 a bottle to help conserve and regenerate the forest.
The forest, steeped in history, is home to wild boar, sea eagles, golden eagles, ospreys, pine martens and deer amongst many other species. British Commandos and Allied Special Forces including the Free French trained at Loch Arkaig during WWII. It was also the location for a sequence in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry, Hermione and Ron cling to a dragon as it flies above the forest before jumping off into the Loch below.
Handmade in small batches in The Gin Bothy nestled in the Angus Glens, Bothy Original is infused with the finest botanicals including heather, milk thistle, hawthorn root and rosemary, as well as the all-important pine needles. And I was lucky enough to try out a bottle of this beautiful gin, to add to my growing collection of unique gins.
The company takes an old fashioned approach to making their gin, infusing them with local seasonal fruits in extremely small batches, working through the process by hand at each step. It’s a lovely refreshing gin and fabulous with a sprig of rosemary!
The Loch Arkaig appeal was launched in April 2016 to raise £500,000 to fund the purchase, and a further £4m to restore the forest. The largest contribution comes from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, but the appeal continues with the total raised currently standing at £2.9million.
*Arkaig Forest shots by John McPherson/WTML.
I was sent a bottle of Bothy Original by The Gin Bothy for review purposes, but did not receive any payment. All views are my own.