Medal Haul for Speyside Distiller
7 August 2020 • Sarah Medcraf
International Wine & Spirits Competition; Medal Haul for Speyside’s Avva Scottish Gin
IWSC is a world renowned and respected in the world of wine and spirits. Local Speyside Gin distiller Jill Brown was delighted to learn earlier this week that not one, not two but THREE medals would be heading north.
Jill Brown, owner said: “The results came out the same day as the SQA Exam results however we are press-embargoed until Friday 7th August. I don’t tend to enter these events as I never really have the time to complete the entry forms but this year I decided to enter just 3 spirits. In 2019 we took a Gold Medal for our Navy Strength Gin. I have a lot of respect for the judges who participate in IWSC. The spirits are blind-tasted and the entire process strictly follows rigorous protocol to ensure entries are kept anonymous. The samples were sent off in early February but with everything that has happened I hadn’t really given it much more thought. So it really was a fantastic surprise to open up the email and discover that all three gins had taken awards.”
“The spirits are all very different and unique. The latest variation to have launched was our Blink Gin which changes colour from Blue to Pink, it is quirky however it retains a classic juniper forward profile. Picking up a silver medal with 92 points was our Pink Gin which is an old-tom style gin being slightly sweeter with an infusion of strawberries and raspberries. Just missing out on gold with 94 points our Avva Scottish Gin received a silver medal.”
The distillery which distils small batch gin on the UK’s first Scottish made Gin still, Jessie-Jean is located in Elgin and had been working on renovating the site in order to open for Distillery Tours when lockdown stopped all works. Not to sit idle, distiller & owner Jill Brown quickly joined many other Scottish Distillers in producing Hand Sanitiser to ensure the local community were able to have access to vital supplies. Jill commented ‘the first 3 weeks of lockdown were 7-days a week production to keep up with demand. I had fantastic support from other local businesses, Moray Chamber of Commerce, Scotland Food & Drink, who all worked quickly to assist with ingredients, bottles, labels etc. The local authority were really good in ensuring all the test results were done for the product and label which allowed us to get hand sanitiser out to vital community groups who through no fault of their own had been unable to secure supplies. The support from those businesses also allow the product to be given out to free for those in the most vulnerable sectors.’
The demand for online sales then saw new Gin & Tonic sets for doorstep delivery be developed. The work more recently had been back on the focus of finishing the refurbishment works to allow gin tastings to take place onsite.
‘We are preparing to open for tasting-tours on the 14th of August. Our plan is to open Thursday to Sunday for small groups up to 8 people. We had initially written off any hope of getting tasting-tours done in 2020 however we were also receiving a lot of calls asking if we were opened. Right at the point of lockdown was when I was due to go to the central belt to get the seating and tables. We had part-finished electrical and joinery work to complete which are mostly finished. And seating arrived yesterday. Over July we ran pop-up shops outside the Distillery which were well supported but customers would like to see our still, we are one of the smallest distilleries on Speyside and have previously taken in visitors only during the Whisky Festival. We have amended our tour in both content and layout to work with the current Covid19 guidance. Tasting-Tour tickets can be booked via our website and additional our award winning gin can be ordered online’