They say there’s no better ingredient than love, and when it comes to a gin made in the ancient and little known Scottish village of Badachro, it might just be the most valuable one of all.
Perfectly camouflaged by a windswept beach, lush Highland land, ambling pastures of crops and, of course, the stunning, vast, emptiness of the Atlantic Ocean, Badachro is a place that not many people know of in Scotland let alone anywhere else. It’s as remote as remote wee Scottish villages come. Yet it finds itself as the perfect backdrop for a gin foundry built on a whirlwind romance, two kindred spirits and their very own happily ever after.
Loving couple and Badachro Gin founders Gordon and Vanessa are hoping to put this hidden gem on Scotland’s NorthEast coast on the map. Not least by utilising the wealth of unbelievable ingredients on their doorstep, but also because it’s now the place they call home, and a huge part of the reason they first fell in love. Gordon, previously a high-end marketing and advertising specialist, and Vanessa, a Munich born food and drinks worker who moved to Scotland to study, first met, almost poetically, in the bar in Badachro while they were both on holiday. They were married within 12 weeks and travelled and worked around the world together, before packing it all in to live in a caravan back where it all began in Badachro, while they built their family home.
Now, with two kids, they’ve set out to gin happily ever after in Scotland’s Highlands, and want nothing more than to share it with us. Badachro Gin is a pretty special addition to the ginplosion in the Scottish market.
Alongside the TLC that’s handcrafted into it, the recipe uses ingredients which have been foraged in the surrounding areas, meaning that the gin is a fair reflection of the pure water, clean air and fresh land that defines the region. This makes it a uniquely Scottish Highland gin, with more than a touch of wilderness sutured throughout it. For Gordon and Vanessa, this is exactly what they wanted. “We thought maybe we could create something out of that which really would be a true, real memory of Badachro,” explains Gordon.
“It was going to be super-small scale, for our B’n’B guests and maybe the local pub [Badachro Inn]. I did a full-on training course in distilling with the world-renowned Institute of Brewing & Distilling and then went to work in a distillery for a while. After that, I knew I wanted to be a distiller, so Vanessa and I went for it.”
Gordon distils the gin on their much-loved copper pot still ‘Delilah’. Local water and air are combined with local botanicals to produce a gin which the couple hope stands out as vividly to drinkers as the surrounding heathers around Badachro first did to them. It’s local Scottish distilling at its best, and local Scottish gin at its most flavoursome.
“We handpick local wild myrtle, elderflower, gorse blossom and lavender and distil these along with several traditional botanicals,” said Gordon.
“There are 14 botanicals in our currently popular Badachro Gin. The gin is quite aromatic, leading with juniper and myrtle with quite a robust body and slight citrus end.
“It’s quite punchy in terms of flavour compared to a traditional ‘flat profile’ gin. It is exceedingly smooth and is, unintentionally, developing a reputation as a fine sipping gin.”
The gin is best taken this way, as a sipping gin, or in a traditional G&T, garnished with a slice of lime and a cardamom pod – the dryness from which beautifully balances the aromatic, full-bodied aspect of the gin. It’s fresh, fragrant and wonderfully Scottish.
Whilst the primary focus for Gordon and Vanessa remains on their flagship Badachro Gin, they’re currently ageing rum in oak barrels and have two other products in the pipeline. One will be a complete variation on the gin they currently produce, and the other will be an as yet unrevealed spirit.
The premise here is clear – keep things fresh, keep things local, and keep it creative. More than all of that – keep the joy of what they’re doing inside the bottle, and that starts by anchoring things in Badachro.
“We want to keep Badachro Distillery as a family business, based here in Badachro, and grow to a sustainable size over the next five years,” says Gordon.
“We’d also like to balance UK sales with exports into key European and some Far East markets and do our bit to further enhance Scotland’s enviable reputation as a premium spirits producer.”
Badachro are focusing on growing their distribution across Scotland and the rest of the UK and want their drinkers to act as ambassadors throughout the country, telling pubs and local stockists their story. Right now, you have the chance to try this unique, local gin and make your own mind up. It’s humble, honest and just like the love and care the people behind it have for each other and for the gin, inspired by the magic and mystery of Badachro.