Scott Ferguson, Head Distiller, Eden Mill
Q: Where do you work?
A: My normal place of work is at Eden Mill distillery in Guardbridge near St Andrews but I’m temporarily working out of Glasgow whilst our exciting new distillery is under construction. Looking forward to returning home in 2023!
Q: Which products do you produce?
A: Eden Mill gin range.
Q: How long have you worked for the company?
A: Ten years next month! I started as a brewing assistant and then led the development of Eden Mill whisky and gin production from 2014.
Q: Describe the production process
A: We charge our botanicals both directly into the still and in addition have a botanical basket for softer botanicals to be located above the still which allows the diverse range of botanicals to deliver optimal flavour to our gins. In addition, we cask mature some of our super-premium limited edition gins to extract additional flavour.
Q: What’s a typical working day like?
A: This will change as we move to our new distillery next year, however previously timings would be dependent on shift pattern (Eden Mill typically operates two shifts per day). A distillation will take between five and seven hours. The first task is to get the stills charged with both liquid and botanicals and then bring up to temperature. This typically takes 45 minutes. Thereafter there is then ongoing monitoring of quality of spirit whilst preparing other batches of distillate to be ready for bottling. Apart from distilling, a typical day will also contain many other tasks ranging from production planning, including raw materials/botanical sourcing, to product development and record keeping for HMRC. We try to ensure we source the best possible botanicals for our gins as locally as possible. This means keeping up strong relationships with suppliers is important; for example we use ‘Mara Seaweed’ from the East Neuk and Honeyberries from Cupar in our Ramsay Gin.
Q: Please provide tasting notes
A: Our gin range covers citrus, spicy, sweet, floral, and fruity styles.
Q: What would you say sets your product apart from others?
A: 1 – A production process which protects the quality and flavour delivery of both soft and hard botanicals.
2 – Locally-sourced botanicals where possible.
3 – Exceptional quality cask matured seasonal offerings.
Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?
A: Eden Mill offers much more than just a great classic gin it also offers a broad range of products to meet a variety of drinking occasions and preferences. Our gin range covers citrus, spicy, sweet, floral, and fruity styles, with some which can be enjoyed neat over ice and others which work with a range of mixers and in cocktails.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: The interaction with the liquids. The development of new and exciting products. Bringing all the flavours together to create drinks which people can really enjoy and appreciate.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your product?
A: I have lots of preferred ways of enjoying Eden Mill gins, however my favourites would be Eden Mill Original as a classic G&T serve or Golf Gin in a Negroni.
Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: Undoubtedly our Original Gin winning the Scottish Gin Award. To be recognised in blind tasting by a panel of 30 industry experts as the number one gin in Scotland out of 129 gins tasted was an incredible accolade – even more so given the credibility and integrity of this competition. Similarly, the Gold award for our Red Wine Cask Matured Gin was very satisfying given the unique crafted nature of this expression.
Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: There are two spirit makers who are totally focused on creating exceptional liquids of ultimate quality: John Glaser of Compass Box and Dhavall Gandhi of The Lakes Distillery. Both have brought genuinely different methods and techniques to how they develop their products.
Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: Not so easy with a two month old baby! Reading, walking and board games (where our new arrival doesn’t eat the pieces!).
Q: If you could invite anyone for a drink who would you ask, where would you go and what would you drink?
A: The author Iain Banks who was a prolific Scottish author who loved a dram and loved Fife. I am sure he would take a great interest and provide some inspiration for what we are trying to achieve at our new distillery. We would enjoy a nice peated dram in one of Scotland’s great whisky bars.