Edinburgh Castle launches first gin in its 900-year history

One of Scotland’s most iconic landmarks, Edinburgh Castle, has launched its first-ever gin in collaboration with the award-winning Edinburgh Gin distillery.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:47 pm

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The small-batch gin was created by the caretakers of the 900-year-old castle, Historic Environment Scotland, and inspired by Edinburgh’s rich history of gin and its gorse-clad spring landscape.

In the 1700s, Edinburgh-born doctor, George Cleghorn, discovered quinine could be used to prevent malaria. A key component in tonic water, the quinine had a bitter taste, but the addition of water, lime, sugar and – crucially – gin made it far more palatable, leading to the birth of the G&T.

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In the 1700s, Edinburgh-born doctor, George Cleghorn, discovered quinine could be used to prevent malaria. A key component in tonic water, the quinine had a bitter taste, but the addition of water, lime, sugar and – crucially – gin made it far more palatable, leading to the birth of the G&T.

By 1777, the first ‘gin craze’ had begun and the Scottish Capital was right at the heart of it , with eight licensed distilleries and almost 400 unlicensed stills throughout the city.

Gorse is one of the most eye-catching botanicals found across Edinburgh’s hills and green spaces in spring and Edinburgh Castle Gin is distilled with this vibrant yellow flowering plant at its core, adding a fresh, coconut aroma.

Pink grapefruit and yuzu bring sweet, tart notes to the London Dry, while bee pollen accentuates the floral flavours of the gorse. On the finish, pink pepper delivers a long-lasting kick of heat.

Natasha Troitino, head of retail and product Licensing at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We worked with the award-winning experts on our doorstep, Edinburgh Gin, to create this fresh and fragrant distillation.

“The medieval poetry, Y Gododdin, talks of warriors drinking mead on Castle Rock before riding into battle. Barrels of ale were even used to helps Scots reclaim the castle during a surprise attack in 1341. But, in Edinburgh Castle’s long, illustrious history, this is its first-ever gin!”

Dave Wilkinson, head distiller at Edinburgh Gin, said: “The Castle is central to Edinburgh’s landscape, and we wanted to create a gin that captured its beauty. Yellow gorse brightens up the city in spring, so it seemed like the perfect botanical to distil for this project.

“On the palate, you can expect fresh coconut with sharp citrus and a flash of pepper. Best enjoyed on the ‘rocks’ with a dash of tonic.”

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