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Two-botanical Scottish gin launches in UK

Crossbill, a Scottish gin made with just two botanicals, has launched in the UK in a bid to conserve Scotland’s diminishing juniper population.

Crossbill Gin uses just Scottish juniper and wild rosehip as its botanicals

The small-batch gin features just Scottish juniper and wild rosehip as its botanicals, making it the first 100% Scottish gin.

Producer Jonathan Engels, the man behind Pincer Botanical Vodka, has been working with the UK’s Forestry Commission and Plantlife to re-establish a plentiful juniper supply.

Working with the two associations, Engels has established his own juniper patch using strict farming methods to control the spread of a disease that’s been threatening the UK’s juniper population.

Crossbill, named after the native Scottish bird, is distilled in Argyle using wild rosehip grown near Engel’s juniper farm.

“I looked into the history of gin as a British product and discovered the Dutch used to import British juniper to make genever,” Engels told The Spirits Business. “Now all the English and Scottish companies tend to use imported Hungarian or Italian juniper, so we thought it would be nice to regain what has now disappeared.

“The Forestry Commission is keen on supporting it. The land owners have no reason not to change or develop juniper’s natural habitat and it’s a positive conservation story. Preserving Scottish juniper is potentially commercially valuable.”

The Scottish provenance aside, Crossbill’s other USP is it’s inclusion of just two botanicals in a 60:40 ratio in favour of juniper.

“I find having one or a maximum of two ingredients works best,” Engels added. “Pincer only has milk thistle and elderflower and one balances the other. Crossbill has a very piny taste with the soft fruit flavour of the rosehip balancing it out.”

Engels, who first launched Crossbill as a small-batch exclusive available through Pincer Vodka’s website, now plans to roll out a second batch to select specialist retailers and on-trade accounts in the UK.

Just 200 bottles will be available at an RRP of £38.

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