Our History

The Botanist is Distilled at Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay, Inner Hebrides, off the coast of Scotland

Our approach to spirits distillation, and the Bruichladdich story, begins in 1881 when brothers William, John and Robert Harvey constructed an avant-garde whisky distillery on Islay, a remote Scottish island.

The whisky industry has always suffered from cyclical periods of boom and bust, leading to multiple ownership changes and closures for Bruichladdich over the past century. However, in 1994 it closed for what could easily have been the last time. But the distillery was acquired by wine merchants Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier, who brought it back from the brink of closure with their vision and energy.

They believed in the concept of terroir, for spirits as for wine.

They believed in the concept of terroir, for spirits as for wine. They respected the traditional equipment and methods, the heavy reliance on skilled manpower. They were prepared to contradict the establishment, test new ideas, judge things by their flavour, elevate the ingredients. And together with Head Distiller Jim McEwan and Distillery Manager Duncan McGillivray, a gin that would be a rare expression of the heart and soul of our remote Scottish Island.

Living on the island’s south side were two botanical experts, Dr Richard Gulliver and Mavis Gulliver. They identified 33 herbs, leaves, and edible flowers that could be sustainably foraged on the island for their flavour and scent. From there, Jim selected 22, proposing a balanced recipe evocative of Islay.

That was 2010, and the recipe has remained unchanged ever since. These wild ingredients are collected by Professional Forager James Donaldson and distilled by Adam Hannett, Head Distiller.

Meet our Professional Forager, James Donaldson

Features – History

Discover more on the history of The Botanist gin

Duncan MacGillivray above the distillery on Islay

How The Botanist Came to Be - Part 1

The Botanist was born of a mixture of strong personalities,…
3 minute read
Inside the stillhouse

How the Botanist Came to Be - Part 2

Continuing the story of the creation of The Botanist Gin on…
5 minute read
Bottling The Botanist in Islay

How The Botanist Came to Be - Part 3

After we distil The Botanist, it’s time to house it in the…
< 1 minute read
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