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Created to reflect the boldness of Orkney’s Norse ancestors, the clarity of the seas and the purity of the air. A local legend states that the botanical Angelica was brought to the island by one of the many ships and groups of Vikings who visited the island. Angelica is now one of the defining ingredients, complementing a distinctive blend of local botanicals, including ramanas rose, burnet rose and borage. Uniquely, they’ve also used traditional Orkney bere barley in the signature gin recipe. The custom glassware, revealed in December 2021, retains the signature Orcadian wave design but has been integrated into the cut of the glass, creating a beautiful sculpted texture. “Vegvisir”, the mythical Norse compass, also remains; stamped into the bottle and etched atop the closure.
Founded in 2016, Orkney Distilling was established by Stephen and Aly Kemp, a husband and wife team based in Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney. Stephen and Aly had the idea of creating a spirit that connected the name and heritage of Kirkwall and Orkney with a product that could be seen all around the world and featured local Orcadian botanicals. They set to work researching the different botanicals and worked closely with with the University of the Highland and Islands’ Agronomy Institute to perfect their signature recipe, which came to market in August 2016.
London Dry Gin
London Dry Gin is both a flavour profile and a production method. London Dry Gins tend to follow the traditional, classic flavour of piney juniper, citrus and spice. Alongside juniper, botanicals in London Dry Gin often include orris root, angelica root, cassia bark, citrus peel and coriander, among the core botanicals. The result is a dry gin that features piney juniper along with bursts of citrus and warming spice and earthy, dry notes from use of botanicals such as cassia bark and coriander. Nothing synthetic can be added like flavourings or colours and nothing can be added post distillation apart from water and a tiny amount of sugar meaning all flavours come from distillation.
After years of planning and construction, Stephen and Aly Kemp, the couple behind Orkney Distilling, saw their dream become a reality in July 2018, when they opened their impressive Orkney Distillery and Visitor Centre on Kirkwall’s iconic harbour front, where their range of Kirkjuvagr gins are made. As well as housing a bar, cafe, shop, tasting room and tour, the distillery includes a production area with two traditional alembic copper pot stills and room for bottling and storage.