Scottish gin Darnley’s has introduced Smoke and Zest, the second expression in its limited edition Cottage Series, a range that celebrates local botanicals found around the Fife distillery.
In his quest to create a smoky London Dry-style gin, Darnley’s distiller Scott Gowans experimented with various methods and collaborated with both his family and the Kingsbarns Distillery team to bring the flavour profile to life.
Smoke and Zest’s two signature botanicals, Fife-grown barley and Lapsang Souchong tea, are balanced with juniper, angelica, rowanberry, coriander and orange peel.
Scott used a commercial smoker to steep and slowly smoke the malted barley over pine wood chips. The introduction of Lapsang Souchong tea, also traditionally smoked over pine wood, brings an “exotic” second smoky botanical into the recipe with “cool menthol notes”, while coriander, rowanberry and orange peel lend the gin its sweet and zesty flavour.
Initially developed on a mini still in the Darnley’s Gin Cottage, the recipe was scaled up for full distillation using a combination of traditional distillation and vapour infusion, which “allows the delicate smoky flavours to be embedded in the spirit”.
Scott said: “Creating a smoky gin has been an exciting development project, and for this second Cottage Series release, I was again inspired by botanicals found around the distillery.
“Orange peel and Rowanberry were the starting point for Smoke & Zest, the latter is also known as Mountain Ash so it inspired me to explore matching the zesty citrus with smoke notes.
“Taking cues from Lapsang Souchong tea production, I experimented by smoking Fife grown barley over pine wood chips. Barley fields surround the distillery and my colleagues prize this local produce to make Kingsbarns Single Malt whisky.
“The finished gin is unusual but very approachable and still has juniper at its heart. It’s an amazing marriage of orange and zest flavours up front, with a malty character and a smoke intensity that grows over time.”
Just 2,400 bottles of Darnley’s Gin Smoke and Zest have been produced.