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World Whisky Day – 20th May 2017

World Whisky Day at Eden Mill reminds us of our love for whisky and how immersed we are in distilling. We are really excited to be raising a dram to @worldwhiskyday on the 20th May alongside Scotland and the greater whisky world.

World Whisky Day 2017 | Eden Mill Distillery

Despite the long history and worldwide love for whisky, #worldwhiskyday was only founded in 2012 by Blair Bowman. A student at the time from Aberdeen, he realised that unlike other festivals such as World Gin Day, there had never officially been a day to celebrate the globally loved dram of whisky.

After claiming the domain, Blair has rallied support and celebration from distilleries, whisky bars, influential figures and whisky lovers worldwide.

World Whisky Day is now annually organised by the UK Drinks Magazine Hot Rum Cow. Blair acts as a whisky consultant as he continues his own ventures in Scotch whisky including; consultancy, judging at whisky competitions, tasting panels and releasing his debut book.

Interactive whisky tasting event

If you are a whisky connoisseur or someone who is content just to enjoy the occasional dram, here are a few ways you can get involved with the celebrations on World Whisky Day with Eden Mill.

We are hosting an interactive tutored tasting of our limited edition 2 Year Old Oak Aged Spirit collection. Two of our Distillers in Guardbridge will stream this session live on Eden Mill’s Facebook page at 5.30pm 20th May.

Share this unique tasting with your whisky loving friends.  Don’t miss out on the experience just because you can’t physically be there. This virtual alternative will let you be part of our whisky tasting experience while watching and listening to our Distillers’ presentation from the comfort of your own home.

Experience one of Eden Mill’s guided Scottish lowland whisky distillery tours. Learn some of the secrets of how we craft our whisky blends. If you’re not local to the area, it’s a tour worth travelling for. You’ll start your whisky tour with a welcome drink and be introduced to the history of Eden Mill. This is followed by a viewing of the stills, production areas and cask warehouse. You’ll finish with a tutored tasting session of one of our three new make spirits. We’ll will also gift you an Eden Mill Glencairn whisky glass to take home.

Sláinte!

The Eden Mill Team

May 17th 2017

Gin Is The New Chocolate

Winston Churchill once famously claimed that gin has saved more men’s lives and minds than all the doctors in Europe. Jo Brand, rather less famously stated that anything is good if it’s made of chocolate. Gin Is The New Chocolate – It was only a matter of time before someone put the two together.

Gin and chocolate tastings are popping up in every drink-loving city in the country, swiftly catching up with more commonplace wine and food pairings and even tipping whisky and cheese nights into the yesteryear. It’s a marriage not many people saw coming but when you think about it, chocolate and gin play very well together. Gin is known for displaying an almost infinite number of botanical additions and with the help of garnishes there’s no limit to what can be expressed. Chocolate as a food base can be rich or subtle, creamy or spicy, and is only as good as the favours imparted within. Who hasn’t jazzed up their evening hot chocolate with a helping of cinnamon or the lightest touch of chilli? And who hasn’t had a gin cocktail sweetened with gomme syrup (hello Tom Collins) or a gin Bloody Mary with a great dollop of Tabasco? If you haven’t, I suggest you go out immediately and get to it.

Gin & Chocolate | Eden Mill St Andrews

My gin & chocolate reflections

On the Gin Is The New Chocolate theme, in terms of Eden Mill, I’ve done some intensive research of my own. Our Hop Gin has a dry, floral character and the slight bitterness of the hops blends beautifully with the creaminess of a milk chocolate. Throw some honeycomb in the mix and you get a delicious reaction of alchemy; the honeycomb reverts to an almost raw state and the tacky mouth-feel creates a sumptuous texture.

The gentle rose and hibiscus flavours in our renowned Love Gin are suited to something delicate like white chocolate. The true beauty of white chocolate, and gin, lies in the botanics that can be added and a firm favourite of mine is a touch of jasmine. Picture a Scottish garden in summer and you’ll start to get an idea of this heavenly chocolate combination.

Whisky lovers have always been enticed by our Oak Gin as its maturation with bourbon staves makes it scream of caramel, toffee and honey notes. The slight sweetness of these flavours softens the juniper edge; an easy chocolate pairing would include caramel but to really get the taste buds tingling, add a sprinkling of sea salt.

Our London Dry Style Gin, the Original, has the added bonus of the sharp, citric burst of sea buckthorn. While it is the tartest of our expressions it is ironically best suited to a bitter dark chocolate as the astringent flavours are offset by the dark cocoa.

While gin and chocolate tastings are here to stay there will always be new pairings on the horizon. Perhaps we’ll be seeing gin and fried chicken by the end of the year? Maybe someone will crack open a gin and match it with foie gras.

For now though, I’ll enjoy my boozy chocolates.

Lara Williams

1st May 2017

Springfest 2017

Springfest 2017 at Tempest Brewing Co.  

Springfest 2017

It’s April in Edinburgh and spring has officially sprung. There are daffodils along the canal, lambs on the Pentlands, blue skies above the castle and Springfest is coming to Tempest Brewing.

Tempest brew and bottle their stellar range of beers in the picturesque region of The Scottish Borders. Since their move in 2015 they’ve hosted one of the Borders’ best-attended events: last year’s Oktoberfest saw bands and vendors the likes of The Medicine Hat, The Violet Kind, The Grind Newcastle and The Big Blu. This year they’ve decided to celebrate all things spring and we at Eden Mill were quick to throw our hat into the ring.

The collaboration of Gin and Food at Springfest 2017

The Eden Mill distillery absolutely knows how to make great gin; but for Springfest what we really wanted to explore was the art of collaboration. We’ve teamed up with three other companies to bring Springfest the best boozy cakes, coffee and ice cream known to man. I’ve had the terrible job of trying the experiments.

I love to bake but even my best almost-risen souffle can’t compete with the creations coming out of Tasty Buns Bakery on Bread Street. Owner and baker, Louise, started making her self-classified “boozy bakes” for fun and quickly realised she had a booming business on her hands, opening her doors last year.

Tasty buns cakes with Eden Mill Gin

Peanut butter and Oak Gin

Some of her more unusual pairings have included bourbon and bacon millionaire shortbread and goat’s milk and vanilla bean caramels. She’s made some delicious peanut butter and Eden Mill Oak Gin cookies in the past, but for Springfest she’s keeping her cards close to her chest. However, the words Golf Gin are on everyone’s lips.

Gin and the Coffee culture…

In 2012 Dave Law and Tom Hyde opened Brew Lab, a one-of-a-kind coffee house in Edinburgh’s city centre, based on the third wave of coffee culture coming out of London, New York and Portland. Their research into coffee has led to some state-of-the-art caffeine treats and their presence at Springfest is a no-brainer. I met with Dave, armed with a bottle of Eden Mill Oak Gin, and we had a chat about the presence of booze in our beverages.

After years of making Espresso Martinis in bars, I matched Brew Lab’s fantastic Cold Brew with our Oak Gin and a splash of sweet, nutty liqueur. Something similar will be pleasing coffee and gin lovers alike at Springfest!

Brew Lab Coffee with Eden Mill | Gin distillery St Andrews

Love Gin Sorbet

On a blazing spring day I drove deep into The Borders to visit Lucy at Over Langshaw Farm and Ice Creamery. I asked how she got started with ice cream and over mugs of coffee she told me that her dairy was producing so much milk, she started wondering if there wasn’t something else she could do with it. One industrial ice cream machine later she was making the delights anyone who’s been to her police-box-stall on the Grassmarket has come to know and love.

She’s even supplying to some of Edinburgh’s best restaurants; you’ll find her smoked jalapeno or pea and mint ice cream on the menu at threebirds in Bruntsfield, and Bodega on Elm Row have served her pink peppercorn and heather honey ice cream after a healthy dose of tacos.

For Springfest 2017, we discussed the possibility of an Eden Mill Love Gin Sorbet. Lucy promised she would do some thorough taste tests.

Ice cream with Eden Mill Gin | Gin distillery St Andrews

Springfest – Where and When

Springfest 2017 will be on the 29th of April at the Tempest Brewing Company in Tweedbank. For more information and tickets go to: http://www.tempestbrewco.com/spring-fest

Lara S. Williams

10th April 2017

 

 

Women in Whisky

With the 8th of March signifying International Women’s Day, I was expecting to attend a few female-heavy events throughout the month. I watched as women were celebrated in their fields of literature, art, music, cuisine, business and fashion but my favourite, unsurprisingly, was whisky.

The Pot Still and its association with Women in Whisky

The Glasgow-based and all round brilliant pub, The Pot Still, ran its third annual Women in Whisky Lunch at the beautiful Grand Central Hotel on March 11th.

Its organiser, Geraldine Murphy, knows a thing or two about whisky. She serves over 700 of them in The Pot Still, a location that has quickly become known as THE whisky destination in Glasgow.

Geraldine Murphy - The Pot Still

Geraldine also runs the UK’s first female-only whisky tasting in The Pot Still called The Whisky Girls; an event that’s given many women the chance to experience whisky in a way not previously available to them.

It may be true that whisky was once firmly rooted in the world of men but women have been digging up the roots for some time. Geraldine herself has spoken of the confidence she’s gained working in such a demanding industry and it’s one that she is helping define for future female whisky lovers.

Whisky for Women in Chichester

At the lunch I spoke with Rosemary Moon, the enthusiastic founder of Whisky for Women in Chichester. She focuses on running tastings for the older generation of whisky women and when I asked her how this age-group feel about trying unfamiliar styles, her answer delighted me:

My Whisky Women are really keen to try new expressions and completely understand the idea of seasonal whiskies to serve with seasonal foods. Their palettes have definitely developed over the two years of the club and they are now enjoying more complex whiskies. Only a few are keen on peated expressions but all will try them. Strong peat or smoke and acetone notes on the nose are real turn-offs. Marrying food and whisky is a perfect way of introducing new whisky styles.

The evolution of whisky as a preferred drink for women

I also spoke to Trine Berg, long-time employee of Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh. As well as being an honest-to-god whisky fanatic, she’s well versed in the habits of female whisky drinkers. I was curious about the changing attitudes of female tourists in the whisky-heavy location of the Royal Mile and Trine had a fantastic response:

In my experience, women seem to have adopted a keener interest in what whisky actually is, where it comes from, the history of it etc. Of course, you still have the wives coming in with their husbands shaking their heads, saying “I can’t stand the stuff”, “it’s my husband that likes it” and so on, but these are becoming fewer, and I find that very encouraging. It’s also interesting to see how it seems to be mainly men asking for a ‘woman’s whisky’ when they want something smooth to drink nowadays, whilst women have moved on to using more specific tasting notes.

There is still a way to go until women hold as many prestigious positions as men in the whisky industry but at The Pot Still’s lunch, surrounded by so many inspiring women, I’d never felt so happy to call the whisky world my home.

Lara Williams 29.03.17

A day making malt whisky at the Eden Mill distillery

Between The Snow And A Warm Place

It’s not a common occurrence for me; a sun-loving Australian being outdoors on a freezing Scottish morning. But today is different because I’m making malt whisky!

There is something wildly exciting about the sharp sting of snow on my face while the backs of my legs are pressed up against a piping hot underback with its swirling, molasses-like wash turning circles within.

I’m at the Eden Mill Distillery in St Andrews, Scotland; watching the day outside get whiter while we start making whisky with a chocolate wash. I’ve just climbed down a narrow ladder having helped Marc (one of our distillers) to empty seemingly endless 25 kilo bags of malted barley into the top of a mashing tun. It’s not back breaking work but it’s also not easy; balancing myself on the platform while the bag does its best to flop out of my frozen hands and spill through the grate under my feet.

Breaking up the mash

Marc is leaning into the tun with what looks like the paddle from a canoe. As he breaks up the clotting mash I listen to him explain that because of this step, we can rip every possible bit of sugar out of the wash.

From the tun, the wash travels into the kettle via my own personal fireside, the underback. This little contraption stops a vacuum forming in the bottom of the tun; providing a fantastic opportunity to taste this infant-level whisky. We are at the very early stages of crafting a new future malt whisky.

My Own Weetabix Soup Taste

Marc tops up my coffee with an inky black dram. It tastes like the richest possible Weetabix soup.

In the early days of distilling, workers would top this concoction up with a healthy slug of whatever whisky lay close to hand. Trust me – if I weren’t driving I’d be hard pressed not to do the same.

I’ve been on lots of different distillery tours; polished for tourists and rough and ready industrial types but this is the first time I’ve watched this process so closely or intently.

It’s hard to imagine that the viscous near-sticky liquid I see running through the pipes will at some point become clear as spring water and loaded at 63.5% ABV.

Sparging

This stretch of my imagination is not helped when Marc informs me that the final stage for the mash is to undergo the sparge; a word I at first refuse to believe is real.

Sparging releases fresh water over the remaining mash in three progressively hotter bursts. What’s left behind contains less sugar than a Brita-filtered glass of water.

My final glance of Marc is of his legs from the waist down as he crawls into the bottom of the tun and starts bailing out moist armfuls of spent mash.

I beg him to let me help. Sadly, my part in the day is done. I’ve proudly earned my wash rights and it only cost me a couple of frost bitten fingers.

—Lara Williams, 02 March 2017

You can see a lot of this activity during the distillery whisky tours.  Our visitors are delighted with the experience and tours can be booked via the website.

Valentine’s Day – The Birth of Love Gin

Valentine’s Day: a time to show your loved one how much they truly mean to you. A day filled with love and appreciation; flowers and chocolates; affection and embrace. However, here at Eden Mill, it is a time of reflection. For us, Valentine’s Day is the celebration that Love Gin was inspired by.

It began life as a seasonal gin for Valentine’s Day in 2015. We had no idea the phenomenon we had on our hands. Because of its unusual combination of botanicals, its pale pink colour and unique bottle, we were unsure of how our creation would be perceived. Luckily, the incredibly unique flavours of our Love Gin stood their own ground and the popularity of this product with our customers was one we could have never have predicted.

Pink Love Gin

Love Gin has sweet and floral aromas as well as an indicting pale pink colour. All this come from the wide variety of botanical’s we use. In addition to the base gin ingredients, Love Gin incorporates eight exotic botanicals including red rose petals, marshmallow root, goji berries and whole hibiscus flowers. The romantically themed ingredients were at the core of our design to achieve a Gin that epitomised this sentimental occasion.

Two years on we are still continuously overwhelmed at how popular Love Gin has become whether on Valentine’s Day or not. It has outsold our other Gins three to one cementing its position in our core offering.

A Global Following

Love Gin has gained a global following from its humble origins in St. Andrews. We were amazed when it was graciously accepted by Glasgow and Edinburgh’s bartending scene. It has broken into the London Cocktail Scene, appeared in bottle shops across the USA and even has its own mural in Soho, Hong Kong.

So as you can see, for us Valentine’s Day is a celebration of Love in more ways than one. Join us and raise a glass to this spectacular Gin as we continue to share our passion.

Telling the Eden Mill story

Telling the Eden Mill story to thousands of visitors throughout the year, the Eden Mill tour guides’ days are powered by interactions with people. On any day, we can welcome visitors from as far afield as Japan, Australia, Canada, USA, or Motherwell. All want to learn more about our gin, whisky and beer and to soak in the passion that goes into crafting them.

The Eden Mill story… A day in the life

Each day begins with a quick walk around the brewery and distillery. Mainly to find out what the distillers and brewers have planned that day; but also to remind them to start our “tidy hours” for the many guests that will soon be coming through. We also try and do this immediately before each tour, because in a moment the brewery floor can become crowded with casks ready for filling. When the brewers and distillers are absorbed in their work, it can be easy to lose track of time. We don’t want visitors to be wandering through and seeing an area that’s not tidy. We’re pretty sure that if it weren’t for their coffees going cold, they would never leave the brew-floor or still room!

Once we’re up to speed on the goings-on and the gossip in the brewery and distillery, we begin setting up the shop and tasting area for the day’s visitors. This can involve everything from cleaning glasses and cutting up garnishes, ushering out any stragglers from the day before who perhaps imbibed a little too much and have spent the night sleeping it off in our tasting room (only kidding…). Next, we take a look at that day’s tour schedules to action any special requirements for the tours and give us time to prepare (both mentally and physically) for any hen-parties and stag-dos that may be coming our way later in the day. Telling the Eden Mill story is part of our culture and we love it.

Such a variety of visitors

Sometimes within a single day, sometimes even on a single tour, groups can be made up of a wide variety of folk. Individuals with specific interests in either gin, beer or whisky. Couples looking for a delightfully different way to spend an hour or two whilst on holiday. Large groups of students from nearby Universities looking for more in-depth information about the chemical processes involved in making the alcoholic beverages that are so close to their hearts. Our aim is to structure each tour so as to give everyone a great experience, whether they are looking for a good pint, a refreshing gin, a lovingly crafted dram, a wholehearted laugh, or some informative bits of trivia.

Always happy to help…

Guests often comment on the strong community spirit that flows through the brewery. None of our departments are guilty of “keeping themselves to themselves”. It’s a regular occurrence to find one of the brewers behind the bar in the tasting area, offering out samples of a new creation or a ‘work in progress’ to anyone that happens to be in the vicinity (be it staff, customers or customers’ dogs). This community spirit is also noticeable on a walk around the brewery. No-one is too busy to answer any questions, from the simple “How’s your day going?” to the more pressing “Is that dog drunk?”.

At the end of the day we will consider ourselves successful based on the responses we received from our visitors throughout the day. The smiles, the laughs, the marriage proposals…

Some of these things happened. Some I (slightly) exaggerated. The best way to find out which is to visit. We can’t wait to welcome you but if you can’t come to a tour, at least you can still buy your gin and beer online.

John Bruin
Retail Assistant (Tour Guide)
St Andrews

A Day Crafting at Eden Mill

Distilling & Crafting

Today we distilled 500 Litres of Original Gin and brewed 1600 litres of Shipwreck IPA. One by one we bottled 400 bottles of our new Golf Gin and 550 bottles of Seggie Chilli Ginger Porter beer. We applied 600 labels… mostly to the gin bottles, (sometimes to each other), and stacked numerous tons of them to pallets bound for the United States. We repaired a handful of whisky casks and then proceeded to play a giant game of Tetris to get them fitting nicely in the cold store.

We accidently soaked ourselves; twice with water and once in beer. We took thousands of precise measurements and temperature readings, and then took a bit of a punt as to how much fresh red pepper would give chilli gin a warming red hue.

We tasted a lot

We tasted the trickling gin running from the condenser; we tasted sweet malty wort from the brew; the hop infusion for a new batch of hop gin; the difference between juniper berries before and after distillation; the progress of each beer in the fermentation tanks; we tasted a year old experiment of Belgian style sour beer in old bourbon casks; and we also tasted a selection of the Head Distillers collection of weird and wonderful teas.

We listened and admired

We listened out for the hisses and creaks of the steam pipes and the reversing warning of the tireless fork lift. We also listened to ACDC, Nina Simone and Muse. We created a Blue Peter-esque system to measure the water in a giant black storage tank using PVC piping, two bottles, fishing line, a fishing rod, and 20 minutes of heated debate, small scale mock up and belly aching laughter.

We admired our resident Oystercatcher as he chirped greetings to the multinational tour groups from atop his slate perch on the old Mill warehouse. We had an impromptu round of Firkin curling and discussed why it deserved to become an Olympic sport. We washed everything down, locked the doors and went home. And tomorrow? Tomorrow we do it all again.

This is what crafting is like at Eden Mill…

We are brewers and distillers of craft beer, gin and whisky.

The word “craft” is becoming an ever more popular buzzword in today’s marketing jargon. It is a word that can be all too easy to dismiss or glaze over. It has no legal definition in our industry. But we are craft. We are craft distillers and brewers because we are experts in our field. We are craft because we are hands on with our products from conception to consumption. We are craft because one minute we are sommeliers tasting everything in our midst, and the next we are mad scientists creating timesaving crazy contraptions. We are craft because sometimes it’s about exact measurements and sometimes it’s about intuition and a good feeling.

Our products are craft because we do not cut corners when it comes to flavour. They are craft because they are made with care, passion and laughter. We are craft because we love what we do… and think you will too, why not come and visit?

Jasper Daly
Brewer/Distiller
Eden Mill St Andrews

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Office: Main St, Guardbridge, St Andrews, KY16 0US Vat Reg: GB133158337

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