Mull steading starts new life as award-winning distillery

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A silver-medal gin-maker from Mull is getting ready to open the island’s first new distillery in more than 220 years.

This week saw Whitetail Distillery install a copper still in an old steading, just outside the the coffee shop at Tiroran near the family business’s country house hotel. The still has travelled all the way from Portugal where it was hand-made.

The business is also working on more exciting new products to be revealed this summer including flavoured liquors and seasonal small batch gins  but it was the family’s Whitetail Gin that won a recent worldwide award as part of a prestigious International Spirit Challenge 2019.

To get the silver accolade, it had to pass a scrupulous blind tasting by a world renowned expert panel of specialist judges, beating strong competition  in the hotly contested  London Gin Super Premium category.

Whitetail Spirits is now in its second year of trading using seasonal botanicals, including kelp from the sea loch, forest pine and bright pink heather from the family’s estate. Only nine months after the family sold its first bottle of Whitetail, it started winning world repute.

The gin, taking its name from  a pair of whitetailed eagles, Fingal and Iona, who live in the forest at Tiroran, is crafted by eighth-generation master distiller Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers in London and distilled using water freshly sourced from the Munros’ private spring which is said to have mythical healing powers.

The family hopes to ultimately bring home all of the Whitetail Gin production.

Whitetail co-founder Jamie Munro said: ‘Winning a silver medal in such a commanding and high-level category such as the Super Premium London provides my family and I with immense pride and satisfaction. Utilising and tapping into the knowledge of industry-great Charles Maxwell for the development of Whitetail Gin has been paramount to our quality of spirit.

‘This is already an exciting year for us as we open our micro-distillery here at our family home on the island which will be only the second, and the first new distillery site on Mull in over 220 years.’

Now in its 24th year, the International Spirit Challenge is the premier event in promoting quality spirits from across the globe, attracting more than 1,700 entries from nearly 70 countries worldwide.