A Recipe for Gin

Gorse Coastal Gin, Lundin Distilling.

Published: 14th December 2019

In ‘A Recipe for Gin’, we meet the people responsible for creating Scottish Gin recipes, providing a fascinating insight into the gin making process and the inspiration and challenges of bringing an idea for a gin to life.

Established in 2016 and based in Fife, the Lundin Distillery produces a variety of Scottish spirits including Gorse Coastal Gin and Ripple Scottish Berry Gin. We caught up with Iain Brown, founder and distiller, to learn more about the recipe for his signature Gorse Coastal Gin.

What inspired you to create this gin?

The inspiration behind Gorse gin is simple – to capture the amazing smell of gorse blossom in a gin. The Fife coast, along with other regions of Scotland, is covered in it so it seemed like a no-brainer! The aroma of gorse is so unique (personally, I think it has a coconut, orange fragrance) but having spoken to so many people about it in the last couple of years, everyone seems to have a slightly different take on it, which transfers into the many different impressions people have of our gin. Ultimately, I just wanted something that totally worked in G&T and a Negroni – I reckon it nails both!

What are some of the key botanicals in your gin? 

Gorse Gin is an intentionally classic London Dry gin. We use a traditional juniper, coriander and angelica base. After this, we wanted to add three further aspects – citrus, floral and spice – to give a balanced gin, which still delivers plenty of complexity.  In all, we use 22 botanicals, but we lead with orange (bitter and sweet), move into a honeyed floral section using chamomile, elderflower and gorse, before finishing with some warming cinnamon, caraway and black pepper. 

What’s the distillation process? 

As a classic gin, we use a classic method to make the gin. All of our botanicals go into the kettle to steep before we start the distillation. After distillation, the distillate sits in the tank for a week before we dilute to bottling strength, leaving it to sit for another week then bottle to allow the flavours to integrate fully. 

We make very conservative cuts during our distillation process, which helps us ensure we capture the very best part of the distillation for each batch. Although there are ways to stretch out the distillation process, so we could get more gin per distillation run, it’s just not the way we work. Instead, because of the way we craft our gin, we end up with a very smooth gin that captures more fuller flavours from our botanicals and our process lets the flavours shine.

From start to finish how much time has gone into the creation of your gin recipe? 

Gorse Gin was our first gin and the process of creating it started long before we began to distil in our distillery itself. Beginning with botanical infusions (bathtub style) we created a library of flavours to work from. These can get you close but nothing replicates the process of distillation itself and we probably ran more than 100 single botanical and combined distillations to get close to our perfect recipe. Even then, as we began to scale-up our recipe, we continued to tweak the recipe over the first 6 or 7 batches to achieve the final gin we have today.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when creating your gin? 

One of the biggest challenges came from the gorse itself. Gorse is great but it contains both sweet and bitter components. The distillation process is efficient at stripping flavour so we had to be very careful with the amount of gorse used in order to get the benefit of the honey and caramel flavours but avoid some of the harsher elements. As with many things, we found less is definitely more! 

Can you describe the flavour profile? 

Because of the number of botanicals in our gin, the overall flavour profile is really hard to describe succinctly (not my forte!!). Generally, I’d describe Gorse as a citrus-forward gin. I’m a visual person, so to me there’s a real warm yellow, bright sunshine aspect to the gin. Some of the earthy, honeyed flavours have been described as being like the smell of sand dunes on the coast after a warm summer’s day, flowers and fauna blooming in the sunshine. I absolutely get where this vision comes from with our gin.

You can learn more about Lundin Distilling here.

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