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Wednesday
Oct192016

Introducing Eden Mill Distillery

For those of us who spent the early years of the Scotch whisky boom thumbing through the Malt Whisky Yearbook, memorizing the many names of the distilleries, and doing our best to understand who made what, keeping pace with Scotland's newest producers has never been more difficult! It seems like every time I investigate the announcement of a new distillery, I discover a new one by mere proximity. It's like an astronomer who thinks he's discovered a new planet realizing he's actually discovered two or three. After the arrival of young Wolfburn this past year I thought I was completely up to speed, but it turns out there's another fledgling malt producer on Scotland's eastern coast that I'd somehow missed entirely. Eden Mill is located in the town of St. Andrews, on the edge of the peninsula that juts out just north of Edinburgh. While the town was once known as the home of Haig, today it's much more renowned as a golfing mecca. It's actually referred to as "the home of golf," as it's believed golf was played on the nearby links as early as the 15th century. On the ashes of the old Haig distillery (originally founded in 1810) is a newly-resurrected phoenix of whisky tradition in St. Andrews: a more modern take on what it means to produce alcohol in the 21st century.

Eden Mill isn't just St. Andrews's first distillery since Haig, it's also Scotland's first single-site distillery and brewery. When they're not distilling whisky, they're whipping up a batch of IPA, red ale, or a chili and ginger porter to whet your whistle. When they're not brewing beer, they're distilling gin—many, many different gins. I was lucky enough to meet with the guys from Eden Mill during their recent foray and introduction to the California market. We tasted some serious single malt whisky; a two year old single cask aged in sherry that pretty much blew my mind. While the whisky isn't quite ready for retail, the gin most certainly is and we've got four of them to tell you about today. All four just hit the warehouse today and they should be on the shelf before the morning ends. Along the banks of the River Eden, Eden Mill is using its traditional single malt pot stills to create a series of unique gins using locally-grown fruits and botanicals from the Eden Estuary, along with other sourced ingredients. Taking a custom grain base distilled at nearby Cameronbridge distillery, the gins are run through the Forcyths copper with various recipes for a rounder, and mellower mouthfeel than your standard London Dry. They also come in gigantic ceramic bottles!

Eden Mill Original Gin $39.99 - The original gin flavor was inspired by the distillery's nearby (and world famous) St. Andrews golf course, thereby creating a mellow and easy-drinking profile that's perfect for a summer afternoon on the links. Juniper, angelica, heather flower, blueberries, and red clover are just a few of the botanicals use to create this mellow and deliciously supple gin.

Eden Mill Oak Gin $39.99 - The Oak gin is briefly aged in former Heaven Hill Bourbon casks to impart just a touch of oak spice into the gin, functioning in this case as more of an extra botanical rather than to impart the richness of barrel maturation. The result is a delicate and incredibly subtle gin with delicacy and just the right amount of spice.

Eden Mill Love Gin $39.99 - The Love gin uses goji berries and elderberries in addition to juniper and rose petals to create a softer, more fruit-forward expression that mixes beautifully into a number of tall drinks. Try it with ginger beer or tonic for a simple spritz!

Eden Mill Hop Gin $39.99 - The hop gin uses a heavy dose of (you guessed it) hops to create an expressive, but utterly balanced spirit that never goes too far in the skunky IPA direction. The flavors mingle brilliantly with the juniper and their impact is direct, but never overpowering. Use this in a Negroni for a fun variation on the classic cocktail.

Like I mentioned above, the sample whisky I tasted from Eden Mill was all I needed to know these guys have their act together. I think the four gins above also set a precedent. These are not your standard London dry specimen. They are grainier, fuller, and unique on the palate, standing out from the pack in a major way. I'm eager to try their beers as well to see if everything happening at Eden Mill is equally outstanding. 

I looks like I'll be adding St. Andrews to next year's itinerary! I wanna check this place out!

-David Driscoll