The quaint Scottish island of Bute is the inspiration behind the Isle of Bute Gin Company’s small-batch gins, crafted with care using a traditional copper still. The botanicals used are sourced from across the island and nearby areas, and are reflected in the variety of flavours found in their range of small-batch gins, beginning with their flagship Oyster Gin crafted by Head Distiller, Simon Tardivel.
The waters of the west coast of Scotland are famous for their oyster beds. The still is charged with oyster shells from Loch Fyne oysters to add a delicate maritime essence to this gin. I always follow the same 3-step routine when trying a new (to me) variety of gin. Firstly, I will try it neat at room temperature, followed by neat over ice, and thirdly mixed with either tonic to make a G&T or vermouth to make a martini. My first impression of Oyster Gin was that it had a hint of sea spray on the nose and in the mouth. The gin is a complex blend of flavours starting sweet like liquorice fading to a bitterness of gentian root followed by a warm finish. I should say that this is only my guess some of the botanicals used. Over ice, the flavour changes to bring out a more citrus and perhaps maritime expression, more of which later. This is a gin that has a lot going on in both nose and palate. I tried a classic G&T including a slice of lemon and it was a very acceptable and refreshing drink. The tasting notes provided by the company for the Oyster gin give instructions for a Perfect Serve of G&T and Simon’s recommendation for a classic dry martini. My thoughts were that the gin would make an excellent espresso martini too. Imagine how salt goes with caramel, by using a slightly sweet coffee liqueur, you would achieve the same enhancement of flavours by using Oyster gin in that cocktail. The Isle of Bute Gin company also make a range of other gins including Heather, Gorse, and Oaked. All of these are uniquely different from each other and all worth exploring, and a tasting set of miniatures is available. Thanks to the Isle of Bute Gin Company and Hype for arranging this experience.