A superior gin begins with Juniper.
In fact, if you don't have juniper...well, you have vodka!. In order for a gin to qualify as such, it
must have juniper and it must be at least 37% abv. A craft gin is normally a minimum of 40%.
We often refer to Juniper as a berry but, in fact, juniper 'berries' are very small cones,
each one retaining rich essential oils, which we carefully extract during the
distillation process to create our gin.
In choosing our main botanicals, we thought long and hard how we might capture the transformation people describe when making their short ferry journey from Largs to Cumbrae; an instant lifting of stress, to a feeling of calm serenity. Our first thought was Lavender.
Stress and anxiety are eased significantly by the properties of lavender. We love the calming floral fragrance of fresh lavender, which is held in its beautiful blue-violet flowers. The initial taste of lavender is attention-grabbing, the exact opposite of the calming, relaxing sensation that the scent of the flower enhances. At first bite, lavender tastes exactly like it smells: a little bit like evergreen, a little bit like mint, and a little bit like flowers -- spicy flowers. Our intention in using lavender as one of our key botanicals is to awaken your senses with something fresh and light, to make you take notice of the ocean and the mountains surrounding you, take deep breaths of fresh, crisp, Scottish sea air.
We’ve paired the distinctive taste of lavender with our other main botanical, ripe, fresh bramble (also known as blackberry), a berry that dominates our island coast in September and is an abundant local resource for our gin. Rich in antioxidants, brambles have a deeper taste, sweet and succulent, with earthy undertones. We felt its complex flavours mirrored the transformation, taking you from an awakening of the senses to a feeling of utter peace and calm. According to English folklore, passing under a bramble branch could heal any sort of ailment and we think that a trip to Millport (and a sip of our gin), is a great way to heal the soul!
Finally, we chose a hint of sweet orange to complement the lavender and blackberry, to add a juicy, rich and flavourful blend to the main botanicals. We topped our recipe off with a bit of Scottish island magic; a dash of noble Scottish thistle for health and improved energy and a smidgen of heather, considered to bring good luck and protection.
Cacao! Yes indeed, the main ingredient in dark chocolate…and one of the feature botanicals
in Croc Rock gin, vapour extracted through the distillation process to capture
the highly fragrant oils and aromas. In this case, we are happy to report that none of the calories get transferred, and neither does any of the colour; our gin remains translucent.
Chocolate gets a lot of bad press but cacao’s antioxidant potential has a range of health benefits including reducing stress levels. A weekend in Millport and a bottle of our gin;
it’s exactly what the doctor ordered!
When the smooth silky taste of chocolate meets the bright zesty notes of orange
in a bottle of gin, no two flavours hit it off better, the bittersweet astringency of the cacao complementing the sweet robust orange in a perfect balance. The flavour of orange energizes the gin, giving it a vibrancy, the chocolate notes like the warmth of the summer sun uniting with a fresh island breeze. The magic of the chocolate and orange combination is in its rich rounded profile; the chocolate is luxurious and intense, and it is balanced by the more robust fresh and fruity tones of the orange, creating an overall experience that is equal parts nostalgic and invigorating, a feeling we know visitors who return to Millport each and every year feel the moment they set foot on our fair wee isle.
Stem Ginger. Our final feature botanical, cooked slowly in syrup to give a warm richness,
fresh citrusy aromas and a slight kick of heat, creating something exotic, sweet and peppery
with warmth to the finish.
When we set out to design our label, we knew we wanted something that would scream 'Scotland' - what better way than with a tartan! The Nostalgin tartan, which has been officially registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans (probably the only gin in the world with its own tartan), represents each of the colours of our botanicals” the bright pinky-purple of the Scottish thistle, the lilac hues of Scottish heather, the calming blue-violet of summer lavender and the rich plum of late summer brambles. We add in a line of orange and tie it together with green to represent the meadows and fields where these amazing plants grow.