Spirit of the granite city

Aberdeen bar to release first gin

Three men with a self-proclaimed passion for spirits are set to release a gin which was first developed and distilled in an Aberdeen city centre bar.

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Monkey Bar Aberdeen MD Ben Iravani gets to work, distilling with the rotary evaporator

Scheduled for launch in late November, Porter’s Gin is the brainchild of Ben Iravani, managing director of Monkey Bars Aberdeen, bartender Alex Lawrence and entrepreneur Josh Rennie.
Using cold-distillation equipment sourced by Professor Andrew Porter of Aberdeen University, Iravani, Lawrence and Rennie developed the liquid for Porter’s Gin in Monkey Bars Aberdeen venue Orchid.
Now, through a collaboration with Warrington-based G&J Distillers, Porter’s Gin is fast-approaching its commercial release.
Speaking to SLTN, Iravani said that teaming up with G&J “seemed like a good fit” for Porter’s Gin.
“We approached some Scottish distillers but everyone was quite busy doing their own thing,” said Iravani.
“We made a trip around some big distillers down south and ended up going to [G&J Distillers] and the response we got from them was really enthusiastic.”
Since joining forces with G&J, Iravani and his colleagues have spent the last year working with the Warrington distiller “to get it right”.
In Aberdeen, that has meant using a rotary evaporator – the cold-distillation equipment sourced by Professor Porter – which allows Iravani and his team to experiment with a range of botanicals that may not be available to gin makers using more traditional methods.

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The recently-refurbished Orchid will host a launch night for the new gin next month.

“The evaporator is used to distil at lower temperatures,” he explained.
“It allows you to take different botanicals that might get damaged by the heat in a traditional pot still.”
Utilising a process called vacuum distillation – a technique used in laboratories to lower the boiling point of a liquid by lowering pressure – gin makers working with a rotary evaporator are able to protect some botanicals from the heat damage they would sustain in a traditional still.
“If you want to capture fresh flavour, that’s what the evaporator is for,” said Iravani.
The result of numerous small scale experiments is a spirit which is said to have a taste profile offering “refreshing aromatic and citrus notes”.
From there, the next step is production, which Iravani said will see part of the liquid made in Aberdeen and part of it in Warrington.
“We then fuse those two products together, bottle it in Paisley and then we’ll sell it from Orchid and online,” he said.
Once the first batch of Porter’s Gin lands in Aberdeen, Iravani said the distilling operation will be moving off site from Orchid, but the cocktail bar will still have a role to play in the gin’s future.
“We’ll be having a launch night in Orchid,” he added. “We definitely want to get the locals on side so we’ll be launching in Aberdeen.
“We’ll be selling [Porter’s Gin] in Orchid and [sister venue] Ninety-Nine Bar and Kitchen as the house gin.”