Meet the Maker: Gordon Quinn, Managing Partner, Badachro Distillery

Q: Where do you work?

A: A small, artisan distillery in the wild north west Highlands. Our area is very rural, stunningly beautiful and renowned for the clarity and purity of the air, land and water. It’s a very quiet, unpolluted and natural environment with a truly dramatic mountain landscape.

Q: How long have you worked there?

A: My wife Vanessa and I started the Badachro Distillery in late 2016 as we wanted to make a drink representative of Badachro. Vanessa had previously trained as a horticulturist and suggested that the array of stunning, fragrant local plants could be used to produce a spirit or liqueur which really was of Badachro. And so we foraged a wide range of appropriate botanicals and made individual distillations to experiment with. In one recipe test, we added juniper and the idea of a gin was born. We shortlisted five gin test batches and shared them in our local pub to glean some ‘consumer insight’ and as much as they were loved, we got little consensus as to which version was preferred… so went with Vanessa’s favourite and Badachro Gin was defined!

Q: Describe the production process.

A: We hand-pick the bulk of our botanicals from around Badachro and along our coastline and dry most of them for use throughout the year. We then steep and distill our two core recipes (Badachro Gin and Gairloch Coastal Gin) in our copper still in our small distillery and blend a couple of distillations (tweaked as required) together to ensure continuity of flavour over the growing season. We then leave the gin to sit for a period of time, which we find benefits the spirit in terms of complexity and smoothness.

Q: What’s a typical working day like?

A: There’s no such thing really. I usually start by cooking breakfast for our bed & breakfast guests, after which I could be distilling or experimenting with test recipes or out picking botanicals with Vanessa and the dogs. There’s usually some admin required and almost always some kind of sales-related work – be that briefing an ad, calling UK or German distributors or trade customers, attending an event or market. In afternoons over the summer, I run tours four times a week and then there are the local deliveries, as well as packing cases for courier collection. I’m generally pretty busy!

Q: Please provide brief tasting notes for your products.

A: Badachro Gin starts with a bold and beautifully balanced blend of juniper and wild myrtle, which is quickly followed by a sweetness from cubeb and liquorice, while a slight zing on the tongue from some spice ends with subtle notes of citrus and lavender. It’s extremely smooth and complex, with real length.

Q: What would you say sets your products apart?

A: The bold juniper and myrtle flavour combined with its extreme smoothness and our truly artisan, small scale production with dedication to provenance.

Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your products?

A: It’s a very pure, clean spirit with a deliciously unique and intense flavour.

Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?

A: Recipe development and running our tours.

Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your products?

A: In a large glass with ice, a double measure, a good slice of lime and a tonic that’s not too sweet or strong flavoured – for example, Fever-Tree Light.

Q: What’s your career highlight so far?

A: Exporting to Germany for the first time and then drinking our gin in Vanessa’s favourite Munich bar.

Q: How do you relax outside of work?

A: Getting out on the water sailing and taking our RIB (rigid inflatable boat) to a local, deserted beach for a BBQ with good friends or just walking the dogs – the black labs, Ellis and Timo – on one of our stunning local beaches.

Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?

A: Probably Billy Connolly in the Badachro Inn and we’d work our way along the top shelf (although I think he’s now teetotal)!