Callander Distillery

The Barn,

Upper Drumbane, Callander

History - As the name suggests this distillery is located in Callander, the gateway to famous Loch Lomond and the historic Trossachs, Scotland's oldest National Park. Back in 2015 Dale and Vicky McQueen founded their Distillery in a old barn in July 2015. With no background in distilling or the drinks industry they saw an opportunity for a local gin with some unique flavours. They quickly immersed themselves in the world of gin when creating their McQueen brand and partnered up with the world renowned Heriot Watt Universities Distilling faculty to create over 100 samples before deciding on their chosen flavours. In mid 2016 they released 4 gins to the market after more 3000 tasters helped them decided on the final 4. Since then they have grown from strength to strength adding to their portfolio and winning several prestigious awards along the way.

The Gin – The first 4 gins were not what most people were expecting but definitely caught the imagination, with McQueen Chocolate Mint Gin, Sweet Citrus Gin, McQueen Mocha Gin and McQueen Smokey Chilli Gin. The constantly refine their recipes and are always looking at new botanical combinations for new products. In addition to these gins they have also a Spiced Chocolate Orange and a Super Premium Dry version which is my favourite of the portfolio with Macedonian Juniper, Grapefruit, Lime, Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime in its botanical recipe list. If you are a fan of a zesty G&T then this is the gin for you which you can pick up for around £33.

Why Visit? – This is a truly stunning part of Scotland and nowhere as difficult to get to as some of the other distillery’s. This distillery is not a big one backed by a big spirits company but that for me is part of its charm. The team here are always happy to show you around the distillery and get a real insight into the hard work and passion they have put in to creating the brand. Tours run every weekday at 2.30pm and include gin tastings and are priced at £15 per person.

Geek Alert - I feel the fact they have no formal training or background in distilling has helped helped them rip up the rule book when it comes to the botanicals and ingredients  they have used to create their gins. Take their Smokey Chilli gin which combines chipotle chilli, smoked chilli and regular chilli, you may think this is going to blow your head off but they actually add a subtle warmth to the gin, which work wonderfully in a Red Snapper (basically a Bloody Mary with gin instead of vodka?.

Interesting Fact – This year McQueen Gin’s had a huge win for the company with their Sweet Citrus gin and Super Premium Dry gin being taken on by Sainburys in their Scottish stores. This is credit to their hard work which has also seen their gins win a number of awards, including a double gold at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition for their flagship Super Premium Dry gin.

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