Whisky Release Update!

Single Cask Whisky

The Moorland Distiller and Fraoch Mòinteach Single Malt Whiskies

Before we moved to Islay to work at Caol Ila, Lagavulin and Kilchoman distilleries we owned a wine and whisky retail business where we grew a strong reputation for bottling single cask single malt whiskies under the Queen of the Moorlands Rare Cask label.

Now that we are bottling whiskies once more we’ve launched our new label, The Moorland Distiller ‘Fraoch Mòinteach’ meaning moorland heather in Gaelic.

Our Latest Fraoch Mòinteach Releases

Fraoch Mòinteach Edition IX Highland Single Cask Single Malt Whisky

We are very fond of our latest single cask release from the Highlands of Scotland. This incredibly citrusy single cask single malt whisky was distilled at Teaninich Distillery in 2009. Teaninich whisky is quite hard to find but it is always great.

The spirit was matured for 11 years in American oak and bottled at a cask strength of 57.8% with no chill filtration or colouring.

The flavour profile of this stunning single malt whisky is very much of citrus fruits but one of the most enjoyable aspects is that of the texture and mouthfeel that it provides.

We have just 5 of bottles of this rare single cask whisky remaining priced at £85 each. If you would like to order a bottle, please complete the form at the bottom of this page or call or text David on 07875 405 980.

Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VIII Orkney Single Cask Single Malt Whisky

One of our latest offerings is this fantastic, delicious, fruity, spicy big hitting Orkney single cask single malt whisky. There is simply loads going on in this un chill filtered dram. There is no artificial colouring here but there is plenty of vanilla, the faintest waft of heather smoke and lashings and lashings of old English spangles.

It has been bottled at a natural cask strength of 63.1%abv and was distilled at one of only two malt whisky distilleries on Orkney Mainland.

Bottles are priced at £85 each. If you would like to purchase a bottle please complete the contact form at the bottom of this page or call or text David on 07875 405 980

A FEW OF BOTTLES STILL AVAILABLE AT PRESENT

Fraoch Mòinteach Edition X Single Malt Whisky

We are working hard to arrange the next exciting release in our Fraoch Mointeach range of single cask single malt whiskies. We are confident that we will have more information very soon so please watch this space if you are interested in securing a bottle or two!

Contact Us!

If you would like more information about our whiskies, please complete the contact form below and we will be back to you as soon as possible!

And now, all the way from Orkney……

Single Cask Whisky

Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VIII Single Cask Single Malt Whisky

It is here at last! Our latest Fraoch Mòinteach Single Cask Single Malt Whisky Release! Our fantastic Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VIII was distilled at one of only two malt whisky distilleries on Mainland Orkney. It was matured for 12 years in American oak before being bottled the natural cask strength of a whopping 63.1%abv without any unnecessary artificial colouring or chill filtration.

As always the label artwork has been skilfully created by Dr Curly of Dr Curlys Toothbrush Illustraions. Curly uses just a toothbrush to paint these wonderful pictures.

Tasting Notes

Our latest offering is this fantastic, delicious, fruity, spicy big hitting Orkney single cask single malt whisky. There is simply loads going on in this magnificent dram. There is plenty of ripe citrus fruit, vanilla, the faintest waft of heather smoke and lashings and lashings of old English spangles. 

As usual we’ve contacted everyone on our customer list to take pre-orders and the remaining few bottles are now on general sale. There were 152 bottles in total, each bottle is individually numbered and signed.

Bottles are priced at £85 each. If you would like to purchase a bottle please complete the contact form at the bottom of this page or call or text David on 07875 405 980

Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VI

Queen of the Moorlands Whisky

At last! The long awaited 6th Edition of our The Moorland Distiller Fraoch Mòinteach range of rare whiskies is nearly here!

Our Latest Single Cask Whisky

For those whisky lovers with a sweet tooth this is very much the dram for you. Our latest single cask single malt whisky hails from a remote area of Speyside, a stones throw from Cromdale and not too far from Grantown on Spey.

This very special whisky has been drawn straight from a single sherry cask where it has matured for the entire 14 years of its life during which time the spirit has taken on a wealth of rich and sweet flavours. This has resulted in a very easy drinking dram indeed even though it has been bottled at the natural cask strength of 57.3% which is just over 100 proof!

The spirit was distilled in 2005 and it was bottled in June 2019 without any colouring or chill filtration. The whisky is drawn directly from the cask, is completely natural, has all its natural oils and bottled without the addition of water.

Whisky label art
Our character is a cooper on the Edition VI label. Here he is depicted driving the hoops on a large whisky cask

Unique Whisky Labels

Our Fraoch Mòinteach labels are skillfully designed by Dr Curly from Dr Curly’s Toothbrush illustrations. He uses nothing but a toothbrush to create his incredible illustrations. Each of our Fraoch Mòinteach Editions depict our character performing different tasks often seen in a whisky distillery.

Each of the labels are individually numbered and signed.

On the Fraoch Mòinteach Edition VI label, our character is using a hammer and a coopers driver to drive the hoops on a large whisky cask. In preparation for a cask being filled with spirit, coopers drive the hoops to make sure that the staves are as tight as possible so as to avoid any leaks of the precious whisky and to limit the loss to the angels, AKA the Angels Share.

Order a Bottle

We have taken pre-orders for many of the Edition VI bottles available but there are still a few left. The price is £85 per bottle and we can arrange shipping to UK addresses and sometimes overseas too.

If you are interested in enquiring about purchasing a bottle, please complete the form below and we will be in touch as soon as possible!

Previous Fraoch Mòinteach Releases

Is It Ginuine? – The Rapid Growth of Fake Gin

Gin Tasting

The growth of the gin category continues at an incredible rate. It isn’t too long ago that bottles gathered dust on shop shelves, the product not enjoying the popularity that it does today. It is a fantastic time for gin drinkers and enthusiasts as many more exciting, delicious gins are now available to buy. However it is this incredibly fast growth that threatens to damage the category which risks losing it’s identify and confusing consumers.

In a bid to secure market share, new “distillers” are continuously searching for new unique selling points at the cost of quality and stretching the legal definitions of gin to the limit and beyond. Furthermore there are many new inexperienced distillers who are manufacturing products that they believe to be gin but which often fall short of what the legal definitions prescribe to be gin, particularly that which states that the predominant flavour (of gin) must be juniper.

Look & Feel of Gin

Certainly at craft level, how a gin looks and is presented seems to have become almost more important than how it tastes. The fact that it is presented in an expensive elaborate ceramic bottle often results in sales even if the consumer has no idea of what the product tastes like or even if the spirit within is what it claims to be on the bottle.

At a local level, in order to cash in as much as possible on the current gin boom, inexperienced distillers using automated stainless steel stills to produce 1000s of litres of contract spirit which can be described as being flavoured vodka at best, are selling this on to individuals who are labelling it up as gin and selling it in small batches. Meet the imaginatively named “(Insert town name) gin”.

A very highly regarded manufacturer in Stoke on Trent announced this recently that it was about to launch gin packaged in a decorative ceramic bottles shaped as bottle kilns. When I enquired as to what type of still was used to produce the gin they apologetically stated that they were unsure. When they announced the new product on social media the post achieved nearly 12000 shares in a little under 17 hours. I’m sure they’ll sell a lot of bottles of their product about which they know very little.

There are products being launched on an almost weekly basis that are so cosmetically manufactured that they look like at best fizzy soft drinks and at worst nail varnish. By law, gin must taste of juniper. If a product is being marketed as Parmo Violet gin, as Strawberry Candy Floss gin or as Sherbert Lemon gin, it is highly unlikely that the prominent flavours being displayed are that of juniper.

The way that our gins are sometimes served in bars has an impact too. All too often a gin will be served in huge goldfish bowl glasses with masses of ice, multiple garnishes and mixed with incredibly flavoursome tonics, more a gin cocktail than a gin and tonic, but once all of those flavours are built on top of the gin, the consumer is in any case unlikely to be able to detect whether the overpowered gin tastes of juniper or not and so the manufacturer gets away with producing a product more akin to vodka than gin.

What Is Gin?

In 2008 legislation was passed that stated that all gins must be:

  1. Made with suitable ethyl alcohol with JUNIPER* berries and other flavourings. (see note below)
  2. The ethyl alcohol must be distilled to the minimum standards stated in the Spirit Drink Regulations.
  3. The predominant flavour must be JUNIPER.
  4. Water may be added to reduce the strength of the gin but it must have a minimum retail strength of 37.5%abv.
  5. Further ethyl alcohol can be added after any distillation.

* There are very few rules defining gin but at the very least a gin must taste of and have the aroma of juniper. If a gin does not taste of juniper it is not gin, and the word ‘gin’ should not appear on the label. If your strawberry candy floss gin tastes of strawberry candy floss and not juniper then it is a strawberry candy floss spirit drink and not gin. The product manufacturer knows by wrongly adding the word gin then popularity, sales and profitability are likely to be maximised. I recently challenged a local company distilling gin having tasted one of their products and discovered that it did not taste of juniper. To my surprise their attitude was that because they were not told exactly what the proportion of juniper berries in relation to the rest of the botanicals used in the production of their gin, then they were not at fault and that it not tasting of juniper was a matter of opinion.

Gin Tasting

Gin Tasting

Defining Gin

The rules also legislate on three distinct definitions of gin:

GIN

  1. The ethyl alcohol does not have to be redistilled.
  2. Flavours can be either approved artificial or natural and these can be simply compounded (mixed with the alcohol).
  3. No restriction on the addition of other flavourings such as sweeteners or colouring.

DISTILLED GIN

  1. Must be made in a TRADITIONAL** still by redistilling neutral alcohol in the presence of natural flavourings but there is no minimum strength of the resulting distillate.
  2. Other flavourings, sweeteners and approved additives can be added after distillation whether natural or artificial.
  3. Distilled Gin may have approved colourings added.

** The legal definitions for both Distilled Gin and London Dry Gin state that traditional stills must be used for the production of the gin. To me, traditional stills mean copper pot stills. Many of the very recent small scale distillers are not using traditional stills, moreover most are using stainless steel automated stills. Stills made of copper make a clean and smooth spirit. The copper removes volatile sulphuric compounds which if remained in the distillate could result in unwanted flavours and aromas in the final product. Indeed the manufacturers of some of these new automated stainless steel stills know this, and so include small pieces of copper in chambers in the necks of their stills. The new automated stainless steel stills barely have room for enough botanicals to be used within the distillation process, and particularly do not allow enough space for the amount of juniper berries needed to ensure that the resulting finished product tastes and smells of juniper. I know of at least three brands of ‘gin’ being manufactured by new distillers with these automated stainless steel stills within a 30 mile range of my home in Staffordshire, their brands being very well known locally. The only part of the process that can claim to be handcrafted in the manufacture of gins in many of the new automated stainless steel stills is when the operator depresses the green ‘on’ switch on the front of the machine. The skill and knowledge required to accurately make the spirit cut is redundant as the machine takes over that responsibility from the operator.

LONDON GIN

  1. Must be distilled in traditional** stills by redistilling ethyl alcohol in the presence of natural flavourings (botanicals).
  2. The methanol level in the ethyl alcohol must not be greater than 5 grams per hectolitre of 100%abv alcohol.
  3. Flavourings used must be approved natural flavourings (botanicals) and they must impart their flavour DURING THE DISTILLATION PROCESS***.
  4. No artificial flavourings are permitted in the production of London Gin.
  5. The resulting distillate must have a minimum strength of 70%abv.
  6. NO FLAVOURINGS CAN BE ADDED AFTER DISTILLATION***.
  7. Other than a small amount of sweetener and water, nothing else may be added.
  8. No colouring can be added to London Gin.

*** A local ‘craft’ distiller near to where I live produces a gin presented in a decorative ceramic bottle and labelled as ‘London Dry Gin’. The back label states that flavours are infused after distillation, this precludes the product from being called London Dry Gin.

How To Buy Gin

Due to the change in the law regarding the minimum size of a still used to produce gin, many new small scale distilleries have recently opened throughout the UK, many of them making fantastic products of quality and integrity. For me, when a craft gin from a small local distillery is good, as well as tasting of juniper, the distiller paints a picture of the local environment through the use of local botanicals that grow near to the spirit’s place of birth. This idea of placeness is very important to me as a consumer and appeals to those who are interested in a product’s provenance and journey from field to table.

Placeness portrayed by a distillers use of local botanicals shows that they have invested time in creating and developing their brand. Their product name may also tie in to placeness and provenance but some lack that time invested as apparent all too often at the moment when a gin is simply named “(insert name of town) Gin”.

Some gin brands have been around for many years, some for decades, some for hundreds of years and have survived through challenging times when gin sometimes wasn’t as popular as it is today. These brands have survived because of the skill and tradition that exists within their businesses which enables them to consistently make quality gins.

  • Before you buy a bottle gin make sure you taste it neat. If it tastes of juniper (piney / citrusy) its good, and legal! If it doesn’t taste of juniper it isn’t gin.
  • Check out the distiller’s website and look for a description of the production process. Distillers using traditional copper pot sills will be eager for you to see their wonderful stills and there will be photos all over their website. If there is no photo of a still it is highly likely that it is either a) being produced in an automated stainless still or b) being made elsewhere on a site making contract gin in an automated stainless steel still.
  • Go to gin shows and taste gin (neat)! A great way to find out about gin products is to attend shows and tastings and speak to the distillers directly to find out about their production processes.
  • Buy your gin from your local independent who should be able to offer advice.

If gin is to survive and to keep hold of the it’s identity, I believe it is important to support those distillers, whether big or small, who have invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in proper gin distilleries with copper pot stills. A 500ltr traditional copper pot still will cost the craft distiller in excess of £100,000 to buy and install. Unfortunately, especially in the area where I live, more than half of the spirit that is being produced has been distilled using automated stainless steel stills that any of us could buy for a little more than a couple of thousand pounds off the internet. More than that, I think it is important to support those distillers who are set on exacting standards, who are driven by a desire to create a fantastic quality product, who have passion, skill and knowledge and who are in it for the long term and not just jumping on the bandwagon to make a quick buck.

Non Alcoholic Gin

By definition there is no such thing as non alcoholic gin. By law gin has to be a minimum of 37.5% alcohol by volume.

Gin Tastings

Call Time On Fake Gin

In September 2018 producers of the finest of gins Haymans launched their campaign “Call Time on Fake Gin” highlighting the rise in producers marketing gins that have only trace notes of juniper  or juniper character overshadowed by other dominant flavourings. Have a look at the website for more information.

It truly is an amazing time for the category and for all of us who love gin. There is so much choice of fantastic product for us to buy and enjoy, lets not let fake gins ruin the fun for us. By demanding that our gin tastes of juniper we can help to call time on fake gin.

Slainte

David

Whisky Tastings

Would you like a whisky tasting at your office or a whisky tasting at home? We host private whisky tastings for corporate events and for private parties anywhere in the UK.

Private Whisky Tastings

Our whisky tastings are different to those hosted by our competitors. Our whisky tastings are authentic. We’ve lived and worked at the coal face of spirit distilling. We’ve managed iconic malt whisky distilleries in Scotland, so when we talk to you about whisky, it is with passion and experience. We are not trying to sell you anything other than Scotland and its gift to the world, Scotch whisky.

We don’t work for any big brands, we are not sales representatives and we are not brand ambassadors but what we are is passionate about good single malt whisky. When we host your whisky tasting we’ll present to you whiskies that we love.

What to Expect From Our Private Whisky Tastings

  • Hosted by either David Wood former Caol Ila Distillery Manager and whisky bottler
  • A tasting of at least six single malt whiskies from around Scotland
  • You’ll hear about the history of the Scotch whisky industry
  • A look into whisky production
  • How to taste whisky and choosing glassware
  • A fun and factual event exploring Scotch whiskies whilst avoiding the usual anecdotes

Enquire About A Whisky Tasting

If you would like more information about our private whisky tastings, or if you would like a quote or to book us for your private whisky event, please don’t hesitate to call David on 07875 405 980 or complete the contact form below and we will get back to you very quickly.