Educational spirit on Skye

Portree distillery launches gin school for visitors

Brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson, who founded the distillery in 2016, take the class

AN island distillery is giving gin enthusiasts the opportunity to learn the art of craft distillation first-hand at its newly-launched gin school.

The new facility at Isle of Skye Distillers in Portree on Skye, which produces Misty Isle Gin and Tommy’s Gin, is kitted out with six mini stills and can accommodate groups of up to 12 for the three-hour class, which is led by brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson, who founded the distillery in early 2016.

Following an introduction to the distillery and production process, including the use of locally-foraged juniper berries in Misty Isle Gin, gin school students then assemble and run their still, working with Thomas and Alistair to create a bespoke gin recipe, bottle their gin and print a customised label. The class is priced at £85 per still (each still can be operated by up to two people) and includes a 50cl bottle of personalised gin per person.

Alistair Wilson, managing director at Isle of Skye Distillers, said the gin school is “the first experience of its kind on the island”.

Provenance is everything to us – from the water we use to the locally-foraged juniper berries.

“We’re delighted to launch the Isle of Skye Distillers’ Gin School, which marks the beginning of an exciting new visitor experience for gin enthusiasts here on Skye,” he said.

“Provenance is everything to us; it’s at the heart of everything we do. From the water we use in distilling to our locally-foraged juniper berries, we’re proud to craft, bottle and label our Misty Isle Gin right here in Portree.

“There really is a gin for everyone, and while our tried and tested recipe is a firm favourite, we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to our gin school to help them develop their own gin bottlings to enjoy at home.”

Founded by brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson in early 2016, Isle of Skye Distillers launched the first batch of Misty Isle Gin in February 2017. The 41.5% ABV spirit is made using spring water from the Storr Lochs, three miles from the distillery, 11 botanicals and a “secret ingredient” found on Skye.

Tommy’s Gin, launched in October 2017, was created in memory of the Wilsons’ late father, Tommy, who was a soldier. It is said to be the only known Scottish gin to feature poppy seeds as a botanical; donations are made to local military charities for every bottle of Tommy’s Gin sold.