Water of Life – Borders Distillery
The Borders Distillery is based in Hawick, which used to be the home of Scotland’s renowned plant hunter William Kerr, to which Borders Distillery’s gin is an homage. Honouring local produce such as barley and their own water for the base spirit, the creation of the spirit is barley-to-bottle par excellence. Given William Kerr’s profession and legacy, it should not come as a surprise that the gin is a complex melange of botanicals, which are then steamed to extract the delicate aromas that are dominated by strong juniper and floral notes and a refreshingly citrussy orange tanginess that is accentuated by peppery spice.
On the palate, the herbal flavours are unveiled, infused by a honeyed sweetness that also incorporates a liquorish note with coriander coming through.
A high-quality flavourfully distinctive barley-based gin with an extraordinarily smooth consistency that helps hold the flavours of the botanicals incredibly well and the fact that the bottle along with the label design is an eye-pleaser does not hurt either.
On the Scotch end of the spectrum, The Borders Distillery has the Lower East Side blend under its umbrella. Clocking in at 40% ABV, what tickles the nostrils should please anyone who like to use the adjective “smooth” when it comes to whiskies as there are wafts of honeyed vanilla that is grounded by an earthy and toasty nuttiness.
On the top of the mouth, sweet marzipan flavours come through, bordering on the citrussy, tangy spectrum, which are counterpointed by minty, herbal and dark berry notes. The flavour nuances seamlessly transition into a medium-length floral yet earthy finish with banana notes that has more depth than other blends in a comparable price bracket.
The Borders Distillery’s Puffing Billy Vodka completes the triumvirate of spirits and with a focus on taste, stands out in the sea of vodka that seem to have flavour neutrality at their core.
The unique production process of using unfiltered malted barley vodka before steaming it through char coal, adds an idiosyncratic creamy texture to the mouthfeel that harbours herbal and citrussy notes as well as fruity berry nuances, counterpointed by a nice maltiness.
If you are in the market for a flavourful vodka, you would not want to go past Puffing Billy.
image from company website