New gin features 200yo Scottish juniper specimenBy Amy Hopkins
Scotland’s Crossbill Gin has launched a special edition bottling using a local specimen of juniper that dates back more than 200 years.
When Crossbill launched in February 2014, it was touted at the first 100% Scottish gin on the market due to its use of only two botanicals – locally sourced juniper and wild rosehip.
Created by Jonathan Engels, the man behind Pincer Botanical Vodka, Crossbill has also been working with the UK’s Forestry Commission and Plantlife to re-establish a plentiful juniper supply in Scotland.
Crossbill now has access to a local patch of juniper bushes near to its distillery in Cairngorms National Park, where a 200-year-old specimen has been discovered. This plant produces the only juniper used to create Crossbill 200 Special Edition Gin.
“We get to know our juniper bushes well as we are out in the frosty autumn picking sessions,” said Engles. “So on discovering that one of our specimens is over 200-years-old, we decided to do something very special to honour this rare individual.
“As a tribute to this magnificent specimen we have used her berries to produce Crossbill 200 Special Edition. Produced using fruit only from this ancient juniper bush and the wild rosehip that grows around her.”
The new edition is presented in an individually labelled Glencairn glass bottle that features a map detailing the exact location of the single juniper bush from which the gin is made, along with its OS co-ordinates.
Crossbill 200 Special Edition Gin is bottled at “still strength” of 59.8% to “enable maximum flavour penetration”.
Due to the very limited supply of the single origin juniper berries, only 200 bottles of the special edition gin will be available at an RRP of £85. An additional 20 bottles marked ‘Founders’ Reserve’ are available to reserve now.
In October this year, amateur conservationist group Plantlife claimed that populations of Scottish juniper are in a “critical state” due to the emergence of new fungal disease, called phytophthora austrocedrae.
Plantlife said it is “deeply concerned” by the rapid decline of the plant, a quarter of which has been lost from areas where it was previously found.