Created by a recent graduate
The Scottish distillery, Dunnet Bay Distillers, has launched a new gin expression: Rock Rose Gin Smoked Orange. This is a gin with a difference, not just because of the flavour profile, but because of its creator – a graduate trainee, Craig Chambers (23).
Initially, the Smoked Orange Gin will be available in only a limited quantity with just 600 bottles being initially released to the public on 5th July. In November, a significantly greater number of bottles will be available for sale directly from the Distillery as this gin becomes part of the core range.
The gins are made in the UK’s most northly mainland distillery by a family-owned company that has environmental sustainability at the heart of its business.
Craig Chambers, a recent Brewing & Distilling graduate, has worked with Dunnet Bay Distillers on and off since he was a teenager. A local resident, from Thurso, he had worked part-time in various aspects of the business, from bottling to tour guides to sales. As part of a full-time graduate placement scheme, Craig Chambers returned to the company where he was invited by co-founder Martin Murray, the
Master Distiller, to come up with an entirely new gin expression. The company is thrilled with the resulting new gin expression.
Craig Chambers, who gained his degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University, said: “I have a passion for smoky, peaty whiskies and so it was a natural development to consider a smoky gin. I opted for Lapsang Souchong tea, making a distillate to introduce the smoky notes, and then experimented with various citrus ingredients. Lime and grapefruit were too tart. Sweet orange peel was just right, and I then enhanced the sweet citrus notes of the dried orange with tangerine sage, adding up to 150gms of this herb, as well as pineapple sage and lemon verbena. These botanicals are grown by Hanna in the Distillery’s own garden. The gin also contains cassia, liquorice, water-mint, and bilberries.”
In the final trials, Craig discovered that adding cold brew tea to the liquid provided the perfect finishing touch.
The gin is bottled in the signature Rock Rose Gin ceramic bottles. The creator’s recommended serve is simple: “I like to drink this gin on the rocks. Our recommended serve is as a G&T garnished with orange peel and sage,” Craig Chambers advises.
Craig’s career was set to take a different turn. He applied for law degree courses to 4 universities and then on a whim selected his chosen brewing and distilling course as his fifth choice. He was drawn to the industry and is now looking further afield. In the Autumn, as this gin launches officially, he will travel to Patagonia to expand his experience by working for a whisky distillery.
“I’ve got Martin and Claire to thank for building my understanding of how the business runs and then and my university tutors to thank for inspiring me to pursue this as a career. Martin and Claire are an inspiration,” said Craig Chambers.
Martin Murray, co-director and co-founder of Dunnet Bay Distillers, said: “Craig has done a great job since he came in as a distiller and this gin is a cracker. It’s a flavour profile that he identified as being missing from our range and he’s delivered a gin perfectly in balance.
“We’re proud as a business of the opportunities we’ve given people and there will be more to come with our future whisky distillery.”
This new expression brings the number of gins in the core range to nine.
Tasting notes for Rock Rose Gin Smoked Orange.
Nose – Subtle hints of smoke lie underneath zingy citrus notes
Palate – the clean pine smoke from Lapsang Souchong tea encapsulates the mouth and as it settles a candied sweet orange rises through.
Finish – the finish is long, and the deep rich smoke lingers on the palate. The fresh citrus notes of lemon verbena and tangerine sage resolve into a sweetness on the back of the tongue.