On 1st April Glendalough, Ireland’s first craft distillery, released its much anticipated Spring expression of their truly innovative seasonal gins.
Four times a year Glendalough Distillery produces a seasonal gin using a blend of foraged botanicals growing wild locally and a base of six classic gin botanicals. The picturesque Glendalough countryside and the Wicklow Mountains provide the Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn botanicals. The aim is to recapture Ireland’s lost heritage of great spirit production and create a new, exciting and contemporary brand built around these values.
Geraldine Kavanagh, a local forager and wild food enthusiast guides the Glendalough distiller through the wild Wicklow country side, spending up to a week collecting the available botanicals. These foraged botanicals are then gathered and distilled with six basic ingredients of gin — juniper, coriander, angelica root, orange peel, bitter almond and orris root. Spring 2016 will feature foraged botanicals including: Gorse Flower, Sweet Woodruff Wood, Sorrel, Beech Leaves, Watermint, Blackberry Leaves, Dandelion Flower, Cleavers Sweet, Cicely Blackcurrant Leaves, Birch Sap, and Scots Pine.
The small batches (3000 bottles maximum) of this award-winning seasonal gin are distilled in a Holstein copper still and then left to settle for two weeks until blended with Wicklow mountain water. Bottled and label by hand, this is a truly organic product of Ireland and despite a familiar taste profile to the gin, each season has its own unique flavor profile.
Marketing manager Gary McLoughlin comments: “We pick and distil the next day, this is artisan, small batches, everything is natural and it’s all a bit different. I don’t think anyone else is doing seasonal gins. In some cases, producers aim to have the same, but our focus on seasonality turns that on its head. It’s quite unique to be able to say our product will change every few months.”.
The Glendalough Distillery was set up by five friends from Wicklow and Dublin with a deep passion for reviving the heritage of craft distilling in Ireland. In the 18th & 19th centuries there were over 200 licensed distilleries in Ireland, along with countless unlicensed ones producing diverse styles of poitín, whiskey, gin and even absinthe which, until recently, dropped to a small handful. Glendalough Distillery is now part of a revival, the ethos being to make innovative spirits while staying true to the tradition and heritage of their ancestors. Initially starting with the first ever spirit, poitín, that have since then have moved to whiskey and the release of seasonal, wild botanical gins. When the owners of Glendalough Distillery expanded from their award-winning whiskey and poitin into gin, they wanted to pay homage to the virtues of Wicklow and its abundant, fresh flora.