Set at the foot of the Ben Rinnes mountain, Glenrinnes Distillery is a new family-owned and run business producing super-premium white spirits from the finest Speyside spring water and 100% organic ingredients.
Meet Eight Lands: named after the eight different counties that are visible from the top of Ben Rinnes on a clear day.
- Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin: a juniper-forward London Dry-style gin which is complemented by locally foraged botanicals.
- Eight Lands Organic Speyside Vodka: a smooth and characterful vodka created using an unusual two-stage fermentation process.
Developed by the father and stepson team of Alasdair Locke and Alex Christou, the purpose-built 5,400 sq/ft distillery has been borne out of a passion for the land, for nature and for family legacy. The process was started three years ago, with botanical surveys and spring flow rates as part of a feasibility study that helped the family better understand what they might be able to achieve and where on the family estate a distillery would be best sited. Alex is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, relishing bringing something new to the very land that he grew up on. The stunning building has a much more modern feel than many of the area’s distilleries, but the pursuit of quality is directly inspired by Speyside’s rich whisky heritage.
From the operating procedures that underpin the way things are done at Glenrinnes Distillery, to the bespoke nature of the distillery equipment, everything has been thought through to ensure that Eight Lands gin and vodka are delicious, sustainable and organic. And with no plans to make whisky, Alex and his team can focus on what they are passionate about: making beautiful quality white spirits, whilst paying respect to their whisky producing neighbours.
Alex commented: “I genuinely believe that we have created something special with our organic vodka and gin, and I’m really proud of the team at the distillery for the hard work and passion that they have put into this. We have ambitious plans to build the Eight Lands brand globally in the months ahead and I know that my family and our production team are incredibly excited about sharing our spirits with both the UK and other markets.”
Eight Lands spirits are made using the finest organic ingredients, including some botanicals that grow naturally on the estate. Both spirits are created using the fresh Speyside spring water that flows past the distillery, from the lower slopes of the Ben Rinnes mountain itself.
The bespoke distillery equipment – including the 1,000 litre pot still “Rebecca” (named after Alex’s wife) and the two ten-plate rectifying columns – has been built by local specialists to provide great flexibility, allowing the production team opportunity for future experimentation with other expressions and techniques.
The team is made up of Operations Manager, Meeghan Murdoch, and Distiller, Katrina Stewart. Meeghan joined the business at the beginning of 2018 and brings more than 25 years of international drinks industry experience with her on both the production and sales side, including brewing, wine making and distilling. Her commitment and passion for organic products made her a perfect fit for the new distillery. By contrast, this is Katrina’s first full-time distillery role since completing an MSc in Brewing and Distilling from Heriott Watt University. However, her background as a chemical engineer has imbued her with a deep understanding of the precision processes and health and safety principles that are central to Glenrinnes Distillery.
The estate’s farming activities have been wholly organic since 2001, driven by Alex’s mother Kathy and a simple belief that less chemicals in the food chain is better. This ethos stands behind the decision to create Eight Lands spirits from 100% organic ingredients and their accreditation ensures that there are high levels of traceability from grain to glass. In essence, this means that Eight Lands spirits are produced with ingredients that are of the highest quality, grown without pesticides, and sustainably sourced.
From the botanicals that are used to create Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin, including estate foraged cowberries and sorrel, to the purity of the spring water that is brought to life through Eight Lands Organic Speyside Vodka – every taste offers spirit lovers the chance to enjoy the nature and balance found in and around this extraordinary part of Scotland, rich in distilling heritage.
Glenrinnes Distillery is open for tours and tastings with the distillery team. The two core products: Eight Lands Organic Speyside Gin (RRP £39.00) and Eight Lands Organic Speyside Vodka (RRP £37.00) are available directly from the Distillery and online at www.eight-lands.com
Both products will be available from www.masterofmalt.com from late June, as well various retailers, bars and restaurants.