The Botanist Gin is more than just a spirit. It’s story of place; a rare expression of the heart and soul of Islay. The team at Progressive Hebridean Distillers, who make The Botanist, are obsessed with local, seasonal flavours and terroir. In the world of fine wine, terroir is a concept that reflects the interaction of soil, sub-soil, exposure, orientation, climate, and micro-climate on the growth of the vine and harvest of the grape. At the Bruichladdich Distillery, they believe terroir is vital: it imparts a subtle nuance and variety that has a subsequent effect on any food or drink. The more complex the flavours inherent in that food or drink, the more profound the overall effect.
In creating The Botanist, the team explored the flavours of their own backyard, the verdant island of Islay. And it’s a sense of adventure they’d like you to explore, too. The Botanist even has its own full-time professional forager, James Donaldson, who sustainably hand-picks 22 local Island botanicals, harvest by harvest, year by year. These are used alongside nine berries, barks and peels in the distillation of the Islay Dry gin.
Through their involvement in the foraging movement, the team have been lucky to work with some of the most exciting foragers, chefs and bartenders from all over the world. And to celebrate these inspiring individuals, The Botanist is releasing a mini film series, Wild – A State of Mind.
Each five-minute film focuses on a different person and location, following the stories of Nick Weston, director of Hunter Gather Cook; Philip Stark, professor and director of the Berkeley Open Source Food project; Roushanna Gray from South Africa, founder of Veld and Sea; Nick Lui, executive chef and partner at DaiLo and Little DaiLo in Toronto; and Vijay Mudaliar, founder of NATIVE, a foraged mixology bar in Singapore. These people have found a way to live that reconnects them to nature and to a traditional knowledge that is at risk of being lost in today’s digital era. What links them is a profound desire to share this knowledge with others like, well, you.
Nick Weston of Hunter Gather Cook – a foraging and cookery school that specialises in game butchery, wild cocktails and outdoor cookery, exclusively over live fire – has been working with The Botanist to deliver wild experiences. “Foraging is more than just harvesting,” explains Weston, “it is set in a sense of time and place. Mother nature is not something that can be rushed and to be able to capture that moment and serve it is a privilege indeed.” Cheers to that.
The films will be released weekly from August 2019. View them at thebotanist.com or search #BeTheBotanist on social media.