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The Elder tree is one of the most sacred things that grow on the British Isles, steeped in mystery and folklore and worshipped by our ancestors since we first arrived on these shores. Jasmine is renowned in Eastern history thanks to its unmatchable fragrance; its beguiling scent is synonymous with desire. To match these noblest of plants, the Old Curiosity team distilled them over their crisp dry base, carefully balancing the delicate aromas and flavours to create a sensual and intriguing drink.
Husband and wife Hamish and Liberty Martin purchased a derelict plot of land in the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinburgh in 2011. Over several years the couple transformed the unloved space into a garden which is home to over 600 herbs, a shop, a cafe and an educational space. Hamish, a former wine merchant with a diploma in Herbology, and Liberty, a former Resource Manager, teamed up with staff member Steve Ross, an experienced mixologist to create a diverse range of gins that used some of the botanicals from their Secret Herb Garden.
Flavoured Gins vary in flavour and colour. Often the gin will be infused with a flavour post-distillation through maceration or even the addition and blending of individual distillates or essences. Sometimes the gin will be created in one distillation. These styles of gin often have a key flavour which tends to lead the flavour profile, such as fresh berry fruit, citrus or any number of possible key botanicals and flavours. Although this gin style should still include juniper, it is often not the leading botanical.
The distilling, bottling and labelling all take place on-site at the distillery which is located in the rolling green landscape of the Lothianburn on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Many of the botanicals that are used in the gins produced at the The Old Curiosity Distillery are grown on-site at the secret herb garden. Flowers are hand-picked and dried by a team of dedicated gardeners led by Scottish herbologist Hamish Martin. The distillery itself can be found in a repurposed outbuilding that houses not only the custom-built copper pot still but also the vast array of dried flowers, botanicals and more. With over a thousand juniper bushes, the distillery hopes to one day be entirely reliant on the gardens for all its botanicals.