Twin River

The Steading,

Lochton of Leys, Banchory

Who are they: Last year the team behind The Deeside Brewery decided to open the first distillery in Royal Deeside in almost 200 years. The owners invested over £200k in the distillery to be able to produce its range of “craft” spirits. They also have big plans for a new premises in 2018, with the figure of £1.4m to be invested into building a new brewery, distillery and visitor centre with taproom in the heart of Banchory.

Interesting fact: This year the distillery released 101 bottles of a new gin called Uncut. Most gins come in at around 40 to 45 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume). This guy comes in at 77 per cent ABV making it the strongest gin in the world beating Strane London Dry Gin, produced by a small Swedish distillery which came in at 76 per cent ABV. Yes, this is strong and in the wrong hands could be abused, but its creators wanted to bring something to the market that showcases their distilling skills by pushing the boundaries and creating something so strong yet still smooth and drinkable. They suggest having Uncut sipped it over ice with a twist of lemon.

The location: It is a stunning part of the world and they have made use of the the fact they are located right next to the River Dee, which has the highest source point of any UK major river, rising 4,000 feet above sea level in the Cairngorm Mountains. Twin River also created all their neutral spirit for their gin at the distillery, something a lot of Scottish gins can’t say.

The product: A lot of the new distilleries opening are big projects by people that have been involved in the whisky industry for a long time, so they will be producing whisky and their products in a more traditional way. While there is nothing wrong with that at all (if it’s not broke, don't fix it) do not expect traditional from The Twin River Distillery. They are one of the new wave of experimental "craft" whisky distilleries which you will see popping up all over Scotland.

My favourites: As well as the hearty Uncut gin they also produce three other styles from the distillery,

Rhubarb Old Tom gin, using rhubarb as a hero botanical to create a sweeter style based on the Old Tom recipe, the River Dee gin which was created for the River Dee Trust, with proceeds of the gin being donated to the trust to help restore the River Dee (Twin River was named after the Dee), and finally Naked gin which is packed with citrus notes and is perfect in a gin and tonic with a wedge of grapefruit. Oh, and the beer is amazing as well.

Geek alert: They are using their extensive brewing knowledge here to help develop their distilling techniques and are using chocolate malt for fermentation and maturing in small 55-litre virgin charred American oak casks, which will help to accelerate the ageing process. They hope to have their whisky ready after just three years in cask.

Why visit: I've not been lucky enough to get myself to the distillery but have plans to head up soon because everything I am hearing about what they are doing there sounds great. From the products I have tasted, it won't be long until they make their mark in the spirits world. I am pretty sure they are not open to the public but often do open days. If you are nice and have a genuine interest in the beer and spirits I'm sure they will happily have you along.

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