The Edinburgh Gin Company has left its distillery behind and moved to The Boards in the Edinburgh Playhouse to tell a brief history of the city’s alcohol and gin heritage along with the development of its own unique brand. The Edinburgh Gin (EG) art-deco inspired bottle fits perfectly into the the design of this Grade I Listed Building which opened in 1929. The bottle cleverly conjures up images of a fashionable era of gin drinking: its contents reflect the very latest ideas in the creation of a blend for our own gin-enthused times.
For those with or without a knowledge of gin and its history this event is a fascinating foray into the mysteries of mother’s ruin.
Edinburgh Gin appeared on the market in 2010 and fits neatly into the new wave of producers and tipplers enjoying the drink’s revival. While Scotland is best known for its whisky, gin has a history going back over two centuries. By 1777 eight licenses had been granted for distilleries in Edinburgh. Additionally, in the area as far as Leith there were an estimated four hundred more illegal stills. These are just a few examples of what you will learn from Ewan. He admits from the outset that he is neither an actor nor a performer and is more at home giving guided tours of the distillery than being in the more formal situation of giving this presentation. Nevertheless, with initial nerves set aside, he still manages to tell a good story with a traditional lilt and an endearing manner. With the aid of his map of the city in the nineteenth century he ably illustrates the extent of the distilleries from their earliest times and tells numerous stories of fires, explosions and riots over the years.
Interesting as this might be, the main attraction is probably the gin itself. There’s more to the juice of the juniper than many might imagine. Juniper is gin’s only essential ingredient, but most also contain coriander, citrus peel, angelica and orris root. Thereafter a gin is given its unique and distinctive flavour by adding other botanicals. In the case of EG, the finest Scottish grain spirit is distilled in the traditional way then in order to create a gin that clearly reflects its Scottish roots notes soft from soft plants and herbs such as heather and milk thistle are added. As always with such blends the proportions and full range of these remain a secret. Three tastings are included in the programme and we were given an encore of a fourth, many saying that the best had been left till last.
This event is only available on the remaining three Thursdays of the Festival Fringe but another event, Edinburgh Gin’s Night of Literature and Liquor, is on for four Mondays at the distillery, which is open to visitors every day.
For those with or without a knowledge of gin and its history this event is a fascinating foray into the mysteries of mother’s ruin. Should you sip it at The Playhouse it might even help you see the ghost of Albert, who allegedly haunts the sixth floor.