"At Orkney Gin Company, we make our spirit the traditional way. We’re a small scale family business,
and we’re proud of our Orcadian roots."
Gary Watt - Owner/Director and Head Distiller
Our spirits are produced on the Isle of Burray, Orkney– the ‘Broch Isle’ of Scapa Flow.
At Orkney Gin Company we are passionate about our local history and folklore. We think it's important to remind people of archaic words once used on the Orkney Islands, traditions still enjoyed today and love repeating tales once told through many generations through our Selkie Folk inspired bottles. Many of the all-natural ingredients in our spirits have been hand-picked and enjoyed for hundreds of years by many families here on our islands.
HAND-MADE WITH LOVE
Our method of making our gins; Johnsmas, Mikkelmas and Rhubarb Old Tom takes us back hundreds of years to the bathtub method. These three gins are distilled seven times to ensure they are of a fantastic quality, then we add botanicals in stages over varied time periods to our ultra-small batches. This technique can take up to a month for each small batch from start to end, and when we made Sloe & Crow, it took almost five months! This process works really well with ingredients including rose petals and mint, as many of them do not respond well to heat. They enjoy steeping cold and the alcohol absorbs the beautiful fresh flavours creating flavours unlike most other gins.
Our Aatta Gin and unique Orkney Akvavit (Scotland's first ever Aquavit) are made slightly different. Similar to our other gins, botanicals are steeped in the spirit (this time for a shorter period), then they are distilled one more time in our purpose built 250 litre intelligent still, creating an incredible eight times distilled silky-smooth spirit. We use only whole botanicals in these spirits, including whole oranges and Madigascan vanilla. The botanicals chosen behave slightly differently to those in our other gins, with many ingredients including rose hips opened up to embrace the temperature changes and give many depths of flavour.
BOTTLED BY HAND
The next stages are the same for all our spirits. Our specially designed bottles are cleaned by hand by the window overlooking Scapa Flow, then bottled using our new four bottle filling machine. We work with bottles in two's (because we would love to be an octopus but we sadly aren't), filling two and moving two towards the corking area. Another member of our family will hand-cork the bottles, then it is dried and each label is placed on carefully by hand. Each bottle is then shrink wrapped and placed into one of our cases ready for orders.
INSPIRED BY OUR ISLANDS
Orkney's rich culture of traditions formed the inspiration behind each distinct taste. Our spirits are made using traditional techniques, we don't believe in rushing to get to the end product, and we like to keep our company as a small family business, nothing corporate, all hand-made with love and only the best ingredients. We use as many hand picked (foraged) and home grown Orcadian botanicals as we can find around us including; heather flower, crow berries, rhubarb, rose petals and rose hips. These were used by our ancestors in the past for cooking and drinks making. We love to look at old cookery books from local areas for new ingredients and combinations, and we are always looking for more fresh ingredients around us while we walk around Orkney.
Our labels and bottles were inspired by the beautiful stoneware and glassware we are sometimes lucky enough to find washed up on Orkney's beaches. They remind us of simple times, where small genuine family run businesses like our own were everywhere. We love how looking at something special can make you feel like you've been transported to a different time. Almost all of our design work - including the website and bottles themselves have been completed in house by our family. We find doing it this way ensures the look of our products perfectly marry the flavour and what we are all about. The exception in our design work would be Hackney and Co's gorgeous drawings. She lives just down the road from us, a family friend and illustrator, who drew the beautiful botanicals you see surrounding the bottles online, and she also enjoyed trying out seascapes, painting the back of our Orkney Akvavit bottle.
Our logo depicts a Selkie-Woman. Stories of the elusive selkie-folk - seals which are able to cast their skin and assume human form - highlight how mysterious and alluring these shape shifting creatures may have been. The tales of their interactions with humans have been passed down through generations of Orcadians and on to our bottles today.