The Botanist gin is introducing two cask-matured expressions, representing the brand’s first innovations since its initial launch in 2010. Available globally starting today, these new aged gins are inspired by tequila’s aged classifications, a first for the spirit category.
Created in Islay by the whisky experts at Bruichladdich Distillery, head distiller Adam Hannett’s mission was to look beyond the boundaries and expectations of gin to create a complex yet balanced dry spirit that represents the Scottish island where the spirit is crafted.
The Cask Matured Gin Series furthers the distillery’s quest for innovation and experimentation, taking the signature gin flavored with 22 wild, hand-foraged Islay botanicals a step further. With access to over 300 cask types across the distillery’s Hebridean warehouses, Hannett was able to experiment with wood that has previously held everything from red wine and sherry to American whisky.
“The Botanist is made at Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, where we have a long history of innovation, experimentation and a progressive attitude,” says Hannett. “We like to ask ourselves ‘what if?’… We have centuries of experience in aging spirits, so naturally our attention turned to The Botanist quickly.”
“We’ve been laying The Botanist into cask since our first distillation in 2010, but we noticed that there is no real classification – the gin could have been in cask for a day or a year or anything in between, which can be confusing for consumers. We wanted to set up some definitions that would help them have the confidence to explore and enjoy the category.”
Seeking to add definition to an emerging category, The Botanist has chosen to refer to the two new gins as Rested and Aged – taking inspiration from the reposado and añejo tequila classifications. “We believe that both aged and rested will appeal to fans of aged spirits so the tequila-inspired classification should be a helpful guide,” says Hannett.
“Rested is inspired by Reposado tequila and is matured for a minimum of six months. In the world of whisky, six months is an incredibly short amount of time – anything under three years barely registers! But with gin, we’ve found that at around six months of maturation, the spirit takes on a beautiful color and cask influence whilst retaining its botanical essence and vibrancy. Our Aged Gin is inspired by Añejo tequila and is aged for a minimum of three years. At this stage, the cask is more evident than at six months, with the color and flavor being more influenced by the oak – it’s distinctive and closely related to darker spirits, but again, it still has that gin freshness at its heart.”
The Botanist Islay Cask Rested Gin is a cuvée of around 16 different cask types including red wine, bourbon and sherry from a variety of regions, aged in Bruichladdich’s warehouse for a minimum of six months. The cask influence brings extra viscosity to the palate while the botanicals combine with the spices of the wood to create a deep mouthfeel. The unique result appeals to the palate that appreciates the layered complexity of gin as well as the warmth of an aged spirit.
The Botanist Islay Cask Aged Gin is also a cuvée of around six different cask types including rum and sauterne from a variety of regions, aged for a minimum of three years. It boasts a creamy and viscous mouthfeel, opening with sweet, fresh fruit flavors blended with vanilla ice cream and toasted oak. The depth of the casks and the gentle, earthy spices warm the palate while allowing the floral and herbal notes to remain at the heart of the profile.
“Both Rested and Aged are cuvées, which means that the liquid from several different casks has been combined to create the style that we’re looking for,” says Hannett. “We have over 300 different cask types in our warehouses at the distillery on Islay, so we’re spoiled for choice! We’ve been experimenting with aging The Botanist liquid for over ten years, so it’s about establishing the style of spirit we want to create, and then choosing from a selection of casks to achieve this.”
Bruichladdich Distillery’s innovating spirit reaches beyond the bottle, supporting and enriching the Islay community. It became the first B Corp certified Scotch whisky and gin distillery in Europe in 2020, meeting the highest standards of social and environmental performance through a commitment to sustainability. Since then, they have implemented new tangible solutions and efforts that aided in increasing its B Corp impact score, which led to the renewal of the certification last fall.
“Cask matured gins aren’t new,” says Hannett. “But with the selection of casks we have from which to draw upon, our traditional yet progressive approach at Bruichladdich and the simplicity of the classifications we’ve developed, the Islay Cask Matured Gin range couldn’t have been made anywhere else. There’s nothing like this in the market so give it a try, experiment, and most of all, enjoy!”