Island Hopping with Scottish Gin - North Uist
After leaving Colonsay we've travelled north west to the Outer Hebrides and find ourself in North Uist, home of North Uist Distillery Co. - the creators of Downpour Gin.
Spanning and area of 117 square miles, North Uist is the tenth largest Scottish Island and is connected by causeways to Benbecula, Berneray and Baleshare. The landscape is generally very flat with the exception of the south east and is covered by peat bogs, cultivated crofts, sandy beaches and fresh and salt water lochans.
The island is a haven for nature lovers with the mix of fresh and salt water lochs giving rise to some complex and unusual habitats. Fishing and bird watching are extremely popular past times in North Uist.
Lochmaddy is the largest settlement on the island with a population of around 300 people and is the where the ferries connecting North Uist with Uig on the Isle of Skye set sail from.
Distilling on North Uist
Currently the only operating distillery on North Uist is the North Uist Distillery Co. - creators of Downpour Gin - which is located in the north west of the island.
In the summer of 2020, it was announced by the founders of North Uist Distillery Co. had acquired a new site on the Isle of Benbecula. This would allow the company to broaden their range by adding whisky to their offering.
When the new distillery is opened it could become Scotland's most westerly whisky distillery and also the first legal whisky distillery on the island!
Uist folk are no strangers to a single malt with stories and songs passed through the generations telling of illicit stills supplying whisky for crofters, fishermen and other island friends to enjoy a dram or two a after a hard days work.
The new site is the historic Nunton Steadings, a U-shaped building dating back to the early 1700s and where Bonnie Prince Charlie is reported to have taken shelter while on the run in the aftermath of Culloden.
North Uist Distillery Co.
The beautiful island surroundings inspire everything that the team behind North Uist Distillery Co. do. The company was founded by couple Kate MacDonald and Jonny Ingledew who both grew up on the island before relocating to the mainland to follow their careers.
The love of island life and with both of their families being an integral part of the island community, the draw of going home to North Uist and creating a new chapter in the stories of their families was too strong to resist.
Jonny has a background in distilling and brewing the time was right for him to go it alone as a master distiller, creating history on his island home in the process. Many generations of Kate's family have been crofters on North Uist and she is proud that the new distillery gives crofters a reason to grow the island's trademark organic bere barley.
Downpour Gin is the flagship product and was the first to be released in April 2019.
Downpour Scottish Dry Gin is distilled using a blend of citrus fruits including lemon, orange and grapefruit peel as well as locally foraged wild Hebridean heather which delivers slightly sweet notes.
The gin gin bursts into life with a splash of tonic, releasing essential oils from specially selected botanicals, drenching you in island flavour. This results in a slightly cloudy G&T.
We highly recommend enjoying as a classic G&T over ice with a premium tonic and a wedge of your favourite citrus fruit.
For something really special, add a sprig of rosemary or some heather.
Find out more about Downpour Gin and the range from North Uist Distillery Co.