Distillery has essence of the Highlands bottled and wrapped for the festive season
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The village of Badachro in Wester Ross was once famous for the cod that were landed and processed there, and it is still noted for the wonderful shellfish caught in the clean, clear sea lochs nearby.
Now this unspoilt corner of Scotland just south of Gairloch, is winning a deservedly growing reputation for something totally different and much more fragrant, a unique collection of gins, vodka and whisky all lovingly handcrafted at small Badachro Distillery, born only six years ago.
Gordon and Vanessa Quinn, the couple behind this exciting venture, will tell you proudly: "Badachro Distillery may be small, but it is perfectly formed – as are our Scottish gins, which are personally handcrafted, with handwritten labels including our distiller’s seal of approval and his initials on your bottle."
As the festive season fast approaches, thoughts turn to Christmas gifts, parties and cosy nights at home...and what better accompaniment is there to all three than an interesting gin, a warming dram of whisky or maybe a quirky "voddie" or two.
A bottle of Badachro's product will certainly make a rare and interesting gift, and be one with a back story befitting the romantic West Coast.
The couple were running a B&B there and Vanessa, having retrained as a horticulturist, suggested making something from the local plants. At first the couple began experimenting with various ideas including perfumes and even a room aroma diffuser, then perhaps due to their love of gin came the light bulb moment.
Gordon said: "Our ideas kind of morphed into making gin, and even then it was a gradual process making small amounts for the local pub, hotels and B&Bs to sell in minatures.
"Then the North Coast 500 started up and our distilling journey seemed to develop along with this wonderful driving route that has done so much to put the north of Scotland on the map."
Now Badachro Distillery with nine year-round jobs, is also playing its part in boosting the Highlands.
Badachro Gin has been described by afficianados as "a delicate gin, with an initial wave of myrtle, rosehip and elderflower that ebbs gently into hints of liquorice combined with coriander, eventually resting on a refreshingly sweet lavender and citrus finish."
Then along came Badachro Gin 57° Storm Strength, a full-flavoured, high-strength version of the well-known Badachro Gin and also a product of the same copper still, Delilah.
The "navy strength" Storm 57° was originally created for use in cocktails, but this powerful craft gin has become a popular spirit in standard G&Ts as well as working well in a negroni or gin martini.
Gordon said: "There was a growing demand for fruit flavoured gins and while most are made using fruit syrup, our orange and raspberry gins are made by soaking the fruit in Badachro Gin.
"This gives a 100 per cent authentic flavour. The raspberry is lovely in a glass of Prosecco and our orange gin is delicious in hot apple juice perhaps with a stick of cinnamon."
Two years ago came the new kid from the Badachro stable, the award winning Dancing Puffin Vodka described as Wild Yet Smooth with its own online cartoon video - yes, you guessed it, featuring a dancing puffin.
Also produced at Badachro, the Dancing Puffin Vodka is filtered five times and gains a unique flavour by having a bag of local botanicals soaked in it.
The Bad na h-Achlaise whisky collection is the result of having vatted two very carefully selected casks from a Highland distillery, to produce this lightly peated dram which has been finished in Tuscan red wine casks prior to bottling.
This Scotch has been well received globally from Thailand to Canada, said Gordon.
He summed up the aim of Badachro Distillery: "We want to build a business that is very 'Highland' and produces secure jobs.
"And especially at this time of year our product will make fantastic gifts, both to give or receive."
He also revealed that Badachro Distillery will be offering fascinating Distillery Experiences (tours & tastings) in 2024, which will be bookable on-line from the end of November ’23.