Crumble is not afraid to be seen, even if she does turn her head when the camera is on. The faithful labrador of Torrisdale Castle is never far from Niall’s side. Exclamations of ‘Crumble!’ delivered in varying pitches and intonations interrupt the quietude in this remote corner of Scotland. Kintyre feels like an island, the isthmus the only flaw in the plan. It is quirky, rugged, wild and mild, with giant flora and palm trees flourishing due to the warmth of the Gulf Stream. Fauna is also plentiful, hardy hedgehogs cross the road with little to fear as there are more cows than cars.
I fell in love with Kintyre while developing the recipe for Kintyre Gin. A return visit allowed me to check on progress and catch up with the wonderful people of Beinn An Tuirc (‘Hill of the Wild Boar’ in Gaelic) Distillery. Niall and Emma, the Torrisdale tag team driving the project forward, were in good spirits. Early gin sales have exceeded expectations, so much so that Niall has purchased a ‘Boar Bus’ to keep up with gin deliveries. The former piggery buildings have been given a new lease of life producing the new spirit of the wild boar.
This sustainable distillery has impressive green credentials, with ‘Big Don’ (the gin still) powered by the torrent of water rushing down the burn from the hills above the estate. Since its inception, the hydro scheme has generated enough electricity to power 7.5 million kettles! Beinn An Tuirc is flying the flag for sustainable craft distilling in Scotland.
My good friend and Head Distiller Su Black (Heriot-Watt University alumnus) has been putting big Don through his paces, distilling and filling the attractive bottles with flavoursome spirit. The clink of empty bottles at the end of the visit attested to the gin’s high drinkability. Crumble nodded her approval as she sat in her armchair. Kintyre Gin is produced by a passionate, innovative and endearing team and deserves your attention whenever mulling Kintyre.