OCTOBER 28, 2015, will always be a special date in the history of Stirling Gin!
For not only was it the day on which the first ever batch of our premium dry gin was distilled, it also marked our co-owners June and Cameron McCann’s 26th wedding anniversary!
Residents of the picturesque Stirlingshire Victorian Spa Town of Bridge of Allan, the McCann’s had launched the first ever Stirling Gin Festival in 2014 to critical acclaim.
Yet despite the success of that maiden foray into the ‘botanical world’ it was clear that one thing had been missing from the festival….a gin from Stirling!
Subsequently During long walks with their Springer Spaniel Kinchie the McCann’s spent hours discussing the possibilities of developing a distinctive gin that was indelibly linked to their historic home city.
It was on one such ramble that June and Cameron realised the vital ingredient needed to create a unique gin that had as its key ingredient an indigenous Stirlingshire herb, was staring them, quite literally, in the face.
Growing wild and vital, the Stirlingshire nettle lined the paths of many of the McCann’s strolls through the same historic parkland that had once been hunted by Scotland’s medieval rulers, the Stewarts, from their base at the brooding Stirling Castle high above.
The Nettle or correctly speaking ‘Urtica dioica’ has long been revered and cherished as a life-sustaining herb throughout history.
The ancient Egyptians using nettle infusion for relief of arthritis and lumbago, the Romans utilising the herb to help stimulate circulation while the nettle also played a key part in the medical culture of many Native American tribes.
Excited by the prospect of using an essential wild Stirlingshire herb to provide the key ingredient for what would become the first ever Stirling produced gin, June and Cameron soon set to work.
Painstaking hours of researching and experimenting mounted up as they sought to produce their Holy Grail, a perfect botanical blend which incorporated the Stirlingshire nettle and at the same time provided a scintillating gin that was…well…a wee bit different!
Then in the Spring of 2015, after six torturous months of refining, tasting, distilling and with a little help from a cute copper pot still called Jinty and the tasting buds of a group of loyal and endlessly thirsty friends, the Eureka moment finally arrived and the first definitive bottle of Stirling Gin was produced!
Boasting a richly intoxicating blend of juniper, basil, angelica, orange, lemon and of course its key ingredient the wild Stirlingshire nettle, Stirling Gin provides a sensory experience that is like no other on the burgeoning gin scene!
Before long, as demand out stripped supply, Jinty was sadly replaced by a 450-litre copper still called Annie and the production process refined to provide perfection in a gin glass!
Stirling Gin is cut to 43% ABV, there is no maceration period as Annie is started up straight away, with nettle and basil placed in the gin basket at the top of the still, while the juniper, angelica, orange and lemon are placed directly in the pot with each botanical blending process producing a 370 bottle run.
Now just over two years since that Eureka moment Stirling Gin have gathered a string of top accolades and were finalists in three categories of this year’s inaugural Scottish Gin Society awards including the blue-ribbon premium dry gin category.
Looking forward to 2018, Stirling Gin will move home into our very own customised ‘Old Smiddy’ distillery which is situated under the same towering walls of Stirling Castle once trod by the Kings and Queens of Scotland.
You never know maybe one day soon we might even be inviting you in to join us #GraspTheNettle!