Distilled in the remote island of Islay, The Botanist ensures a healthy relationship with the environment that gives its plant-derived spirits life.
As most spirit enthusiasts know, gin pairs best with earthy, herbal and floral ingredients. The Botanist not only incorporates these elements into its spirits, but also embodies the “wild state of mind” that comes with a better understanding and appreciation for the environment.
The Botanist’s individuality begins with its origins. Hailing from the Hebridean isle of Islay (pronounced Eye-la), a remote island that lies off the west coast of Scotland, The Botanist is the first and only Islay Dry Gin. The Botanist distillers pay homage to their ancestors, who survived the island’s often cold, cloudy and windy climate by foraging the land. The island itself clings to the edge of the ocean in the teeth of the Atlantic weather systems.
Each time The Botanist foragers gather sprigs of sage or a bushel of berries, their efforts harken back to a time when people were much more in touch with the nature that surrounded them.
“Brand foragers adopt ethical practices within their own facility by hand-picking their botanicals, which without the use of machinery ensures that the greenery can continue to naturally flourish.”
Along with The Botanist’s gratitude for the isle of Islay, the brand believes that its social, economic, and environmental impact on its home island must be a positive one, which is why it is committed to continuing its research into sustainable agriculture and exploring the models necessary to make them viable.
In May 2020, the Bruichladdich Distillery, maker of The Botanist spirits, was announced as the first and only whisky and gin distilling company in Europe to become a B Corporation, recognized for its efforts and impact on social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. The Botanists’ leaders even support plant biodiversity on Islay and beyond, partnering with organizations to spread the use of sustainable practices to outside businesses.
“Donaldson focuses on ensuring that the foraging is done so in a way that ensures the foliage can continue to flourish on the island.”
In its immediate environment, The Botanist Islay Dry Gin is working to reduce the impact of its operations and become more environmental in its actions, all with a heightened sensitivity to growing within its island home. Brand foragers adopt ethical practices within their own facility by hand-picking their botanicals, which without the use of machinery ensures that the greenery can continue to naturally flourish.
The Botanist’s full-time forager, James Donaldson, is responsible for sustainably sourcing the craft spirit’s 22 wild botanicals which are all native to Islay. Given the small-batch gin is comprised of local botanicals, Donaldson focuses on ensuring that the foraging is done so in a way that ensures the foliage can continue to flourish on the island. During the foraging season, March to October, Donaldson spends all day covering the Islay via electric vehicle and carefully selecting the botanicals, which he then must dry and prepare for the distillation process.
The result of all the foragers’ and distillers’ hard work is a gin that is as smooth as it is complex that exhibits a unique blend of spirit and botanicals. Flavors like wood sage, spearmint, juniper and more enhance the versatile spirit into an experience that connects gin-enthusiasts to the beverage’s roots—physically, ethically, and spiritually.