Scotland is home to many renowned distilleries, known the world over for excellence in quality. Indeed, here in Perth we're always eagerly anticipating Provender Brown's 'Wee G&T' festival where we get the opportunity to sample spirits from our local distilleries - from the earthy, balmy tones of Persie's Herby and Aromatic gin, to classics like Strathearn's versatile classic gin.
Well, now there's a new addition to Perthshire's distillery scene, with the launch of 'Highland Boundary', created by biologist couple Marian and Simon. And taking a look at their spirits, we're really excited, and a little bit intrigued!
Aiming to capture the unique and different flavours of Scotland, their range of drinks combine grain spirit from the South, with handpicked botanicals from the Highlands to create spirits which evoke the natural beauty of Perthshire's landscapes.
"It's not gin!", Marian laughs on the phone to me. "That's one thing people tend to get confused about. It's simply a new kind of Scottish spirit. It really has more in common with whisky than with gin, in that we would encourage people to drink it straight at room temperature, or over ice from the freezer."
"Of course, it is a very mixable spirit too - if you prefer your drinks mixed, we think it goes perfectly with sparkling water and a slice of apple to emphasize the unique flavour."
She continues, “We wanted to create a spirit that was of the place….that was distinctly Scottish, while introducing people to flavours they may not have yet experienced.” Indeed, their first flavour - birch and elderflower - is an exciting one, with both the birch buds and elderflowers hand-picked from spring woodlands near their on-farm distillery.
So - how did Marian and Simon go from biology to spirit making?! They were first introduced to spirits infused with local flora through their Scandinavian friends. “We wondered why nobody in Scotland is doing something similar when we have such an abundance of flora – so we took it into our own hands!”
Being invested in biodiversity and conservation throughout their careers as biologists, Marian and Simon work in harmony with nature while sourcing their ingredients.
Being invested in biodiversity and conservation throughout their careers as biologists, Marian and Simon work in harmony with nature while sourcing their ingredients"We hand-pick all of our botanicals from Scottish woodlands, either on our own farm or nearby", owner Marian tells us. “We are careful to only harvest a small amount of the foliage, flowers or berries from any single plant, taking in one season only what would be browsed naturally.”
“This means plants stay healthy and we leave plenty for the wild animals, birds and insects that also rely on Mother Nature.”
Indeed, this commitment to working in harmony with the natural world is at the very heart of everything that Highland Boundary do. They use solar panels in their workspace to generate energy, and are committed to sustainability. “There’s no point in unsustainability”, Marian tells me. “We’ve always been committed to green practices: it’s who we are.”
“It feels like we’ve always been this way, and the world is catching up to us!”
Living and working in Alyth themselves, their distillery overlooks the stunning Strathmore Valley. The name, ‘Highland Boundary’ itself is a reference to the nature they inhabit:
“We’re named after the Highland Boundary Fault on which our farm - Kirklandbank Farm – lies. With one foot in the Highlands, and one in the Lowlands of Scotland, to the North of them lie the Angus glens and the mountains of the Cairngorms.”
There is a real sense of passion, devotion, and a touch of magic present as Marian and Simon discuss their craft. “We combine the Scottish botanicals with grain spirit and mineral-rich spring water from Alyth Hill, which has been naturally filtered through the 450 million-year-old Devonian sandstone bedrock of Strathmore.”
It’s a subtle alchemy, a delicate art that draws upon the traditions of distilling in Scotland, while creating the next generation of Scottish spirits. The taste of the Scottish wilderness at the very tip of your tongue. Indeed, in their own words, “It’s unlikely you will have tasted anything like this before”.
If you want to experience the unique taste of Highland Boundary for yourself, you can pop into Provender Brown or The Scottish Deli from within Perthshire to pick up a bottle - or have a wee taste from the bar at Tapa Vi! If you're further afield, the full list of Scottish stockists is available on Highland Boundary's website.
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