Carlo Valente, director of Boë Gin parent firm VC2 Brands, talks to SLTN
Q: Describe your workplace.
A: Our distillery in Throsk, Stirlingshire, is cold in the summer and freezing in the winter and is a converted munitions factory.
Q: How long have you worked on the brand and how did you start?
A: The development of the brand began in 2006, we were quite clear on what we wanted our gin to be and commissioned Deanston Distillery to make our gin for us.
Q: Why did you feel there was a gap in the market for your brand?
A: At that time there were very few gins on the market compared to today’s numbers, almost all of the gins were owned by large companies and we felt a small-batch, boutique gin of the highest class would offer something different; our gin was cut at 47% ABV while other mainstream gins were 37.5% ABV. We now have our own still and produce all of our gins at our distillery in Throsk. Our new gins are very distinctive in the way they look and the flavour profiles they have; we have continued with the mantra to deliver quality gins with a difference.
Q: What is a typical working day like?
There isn’t one. I continue to communicate with all levels of the industry from the barman to the bar manager and from the wholesale reps to the buyers. This helps me keep in touch with the market at all quarters and monitor any changes in trends. Every day I search for something new that could be a flavour profile or a botanical that could bring a new flavour to gin.
Q: Please provide tasting notes for your brand.
A: Boë Scottish Gin is at the heart of all our gins and liqueurs. On the nose, its ripe citrus fruits transport you away to orange groves in the sun. Juniper berries and their flavoursome oils are at the heart of the gin, finely balanced against the subtle presence of the herbs and spices with the fragrance and unmistakable fresh zing of citrus.
Q: What would say sets your brand apart from others?
A: We genuinely try our best to produce original gins that look great and taste amazing.
Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your range?
A: Our gins and liqueurs are amongst the most popular in the country.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your products?
A: I like all of our gins with a light tonic and a suitable garnish. Our Boë Violet Gin is great with rose lemonade.
Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: Creating Boë Violet Gin. At the time the concept was so different; the colour and the flavour profile were quite unique and then to see the impact it has had on the drinks industry has been astonishing.
Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: Publicans have my admiration, they work long hours in an ever-challenging industry and I can’t thank them enough. Brands are grown through the on-trade and it is they who help us suppliers develop and grow our brands.
Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: When I can I play golf, although I’m not sure I would call it relaxing.
Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?
A: The Proclaimers. I would invite Charlie and Craig back to Auchtermuchty where they grew up and I was born. I would drink Boë Passion Gin and Boë Violet Gin because like the twins they are the same; very different and definitely quality.