Darnley’s Launches a Smoky Gin

Darnley’s Gin launches ‘Smoke and Zest’, the second in their limited edition Cottage Series range, each telling a different story of the botanicals found around their Fife distillery and beyond. Locally grown barley and the quest to create a ‘smoky gin’ is the inspiration behind this innovative recipe which is made in the London Dry style.

In making Smoke and Zest, Darnley’s Gin Distiller Scott Gowans experimented with various methods and collaborated with both his family and the Kingsbarns Distillery team to bring this flavour profile to life. The new Darnley’s recipe celebrates the Fife grown barley that has been selected for sister brand Kingsbarns Single Malt Whisky which is distilled in the same location, at East Newhall Farm, outside the village of Kingsbarns.

Scott enlisted the help of his family who own a commercial smoker, to steep and slowly smoke the malted barley over pine wood chips. The introduction of Lapsang Souchong tea, also traditionally smoked over pine wood, brings an exotic second smoky botanical into the recipe with cool menthol notes. Rowanberry and coriander from the distillery grounds and orange peel from Turkey lend the gin its sweet and zesty flavour.

Scott Gowans commented, “Creating a smoky gin has been an exciting development project and for this second Cottage Series release, I was again inspired by botanicals found around the distillery. Orange peel and Rowanberry were the starting point for Smoke & Zest, the latter is also known as Mountain Ash so it inspired me to explore matching the zesty citrus with smoke notes.

Taking cues from Lapsang Souchong tea production, I experimented by smoking Fife grown barley over pine wood chips. Barley fields surround the distillery and my colleagues prize this local produce to make Kingsbarns Single Malt whisky.

The finished gin is unusual but very approachable and still has juniper at its heart. It’s an amazing marriage of orange and zest flavours up front, with a malty character and a smoke intensity that grows over time.” Initially developed on a mini still in the Darnley’s Gin Cottage, the recipe was scaled up for full distillation using a combination of traditional distillation and vapour infusion. The signature botanicals, smoked barley and Lapsang Souchong tea, are measured into a muslin bag and placed in the vapour basket above the pot still holding the neutral grain spirit and the other five botanicals: juniper, angelica, coriander, rowanberry and orange peel. The vapour infusion allows the delicate smoky flavours to be embedded in the spirit.

Darnley’s family owner, William Wemyss commented, “Scott’s botanical research into rowanberry was serendipitous as creating a smoky gin has been on our wish list for quite some time. Using a smoked version of the key ingredient in creating our single malt whisky as a signature botanical in our Cottage Series release ‘Smoke and Zest’, brings those two worlds together in the most unique way”. Just 2,400 bottles of Darnley’s Gin ‘Smoke and Zest’ have been produced in a 50cl bottle at 42.5%abv. Smoke and Zest is available at Darnley’s Gin Distillery and on line shop with an SRP of £29.95.




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