Established in 2017 by husband and wife Neil and Katie Sime, Blackford Craft Distillery is a family run, micro distillery based out of a 19th century steading in Blackford, near Rothienorman. Nestled amongst the rolling hills of rural Aberdeenshire, the distillery produces premium, handcrafted, small batch spirits, which are inspired by the local landscape and Aberdeenshire’s prehistoric past and links to The Picts. Blackford Craft Distillery’s logo was designed based on a local Pictish carved standing stone.
As craft distillers, the family is involved in every aspect of the distillation process from selecting ingredients to hand labelling and waxing every bottle. Each bottle has a vintage, a batch number, is uniquely numbered and signed, so no two bottles will ever be the same.
Crooked Mary Scottish Berries Gin was inspired by the infamous smuggling ship the Crooked Mary. The ship made land a number of times around the Aberdeenshire coast including one smuggling run in December 1798, which ultimately inspired the gin. The story goes that on this particular trip, the Crooked Mary made land and unloaded its cargo of gin for collection by the Kennedy Brothers. Both ship and brothers were confronted by the crown exciseman. A scuffle ensued that resulted in the death of one of the brothers. The ship and its crew however managed to escape into the night, never to be seen again. Crooked Mary Scottish Berries Gin features a range of botanicals including Scottish red berries, pink peppercorns, oats, juniper and a number of other traditional gin botanicals. The result is a refreshing gin with layers of fruit balanced with spice and creamy, rich mouthfeel.
Key Botanical(s): Scottish Red Berries, Pink Peppercorns, Oats
Gin Style: London Dry
Strength: 43% vol
Goes great with: Summer berries, Mediterranean tonic and ice.
Vesperis Gin is the signature gin from the Blackford Craft Distillery. This gin uses a variety of organic botanicals including locally sourced heather honey and apples to create a sweetness and subtle spice along with a lasting woody, pine flavour.
Key Botanical(s): Heather Honey, Heather Blossom, Coriander Seed
Gin Style: London Dry
Strength: 40% vol
Goes great with: Pomegranate seeds, tonic and ice.
Once part of the Blackford Estate, with links to Fyvie Castle, Maryfield of Blackford is a 6-acre property consisting of woodland, fields, the former farm house and steadings. With the aim of rescuing the steading, which has been neglected since Maryfield was separated from the farm land in 1989, Blackford Craft Distillery have partially refurbished the steading into a Still Room and plan to renovate the remainder into a fully licensed distillery comprising Production Room, Excise Warehouse, Office and Tasting Room. The Distillery currently produces its own range of gin and vodka as well as some contract gins for third parties. In 2018 the team launched Aberdeenshire’s first Cidery with plans to grow heritage apple trees on site.
Booking: Not open to the public